2021 Audi RS6 Avant review: Swiss Army Wagon

This is a football game machine.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Having a friend who owns a station wagon is like having a friend who is vegan or who owns a rescue dog – you’ll never feel the end of it. The era of crossovers has given these long canopies a new lease of life among a small but vocal subset of automotive fans who want you to wake up and understand that not everyone needs a sun-spotting SUV. The 2021 Audi RS6 Avant is treated like a demigod in this circle, and for good reason: it combines ample storage space and enough torque to influence plate tectonics in one package that makes it one of the most compelling daily drivers on sale. today.

Like it

  • Killer looks
  • Ball performance
  • Plenty of storage space

I do not like

  • Big wheels = rigid driving
  • Requires money to purchase

You can’t confuse the RS6 Avant with anything else. The body is low and long, really pounding home that battleship metaphor thanks to the free Nardo Gray paint color and $ 6,350 (!) Carbon Optic package that replaces all hints of exterior chrome trim with carbon fiber. This package also adds 22-inch alloy wheels that fill the wheel arches widely. Combine that with some incredibly fat rear fenders and you’ve got a wagon that surprises even its closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S. I’m not a fan of the bulging rear diffuser, but that gripe extends beyond the wagon to its little sister too, the RS7.

Where there is bark, there is … more bark. Sliding into the standard sports seats of the RS6 Avant, I hit the start button on the center console and half the neighborhood is hit in the face with a heavy roar of a cold start, thanks in part to my tester’s $ 1,000 sports exhaust upgrade . Even though the body feels glued to the mainland, there’s enough ground clearance here to escape a scratch from my steep driveway as the exhaust announces my departure with enthusiasm, despite the fact that the twin-turbo V8 never turns above 2,500 rpm. Whether the tubes remain in their standard mode or are opened a bit in more aggressive profiles, there is never a shortage of noise coming from under the load compartment. It’s great.

The RS6 Avant’s standard multimode air suspension is impressive in its ability to change the car’s character. In its utmost compliance, the RS6 should keep the whole family comfortable, and I bet the stock 21-inch wheels do an even better job here: the 22 and their 285/30 profile Pirelli P-Zero summer tires represent a ride that is on the stiff side, albeit not in a punitive way. Throw the car into Dynamic mode, though, and solidity increases, eliminating body roll altogether and giving the RS6 a surprising amount of agility for a car of this size.

Turbocharged V6s might attract a lot of attention nowadays, but the V8 isn’t finished yet. With 591 horsepower and 590 pound-foot torque in the RS6 Avant, this eight pot produces forward motion like an EDM gig in the forest that delivers good vibes. Let the eight-speed automatic shift its way quickly to the appropriate gear (best to do it yourself, although shift paddles are standard) and the car will whiz toward the horizon, bouncing its exhaust note perpetually thunderous on every flat surface at a glance. There isn’t much in the way of overrun between rounds or during deceleration, but that’s okay, you can’t win them all.

It’s clear that the RS6 Avant would have been best used on a German autobahn, pushing the speedometer needle into the region of dumb numbers while returning a sufficiently smooth ride. On narrow, winding forest roads, this wagon looks almost like mashed potato a lot of car. It is almost as wide as a single lane. He wants to accelerate until the gas runs out. It’s this kind of hard-to-fight attitude that gives this vehicle with the RS badge some of the character that seems to be missing in the automaker’s other high-performance models, which feel so thoroughly sanitized that you wonder if those cars weren’t. built by robots, because robots.

Don’t be surprised when I say the RS6 Avant is a thirsty wagon, with the EPA only estimating 15 miles per city gallon and 22 mpg on the highway – the same as the less roomy RS7. While the V8 can deactivate half of its cylinders under light loads, which can push instant mileage up to the 30mpg mark, I find my highway economy only slightly higher than what the feds can reap, with my city economy picking up. approaches about 12 mpg.

Audi’s interiors are quite corporate, so if you’re familiar with one of the newer ones, chances are you have a good ground layout for the entire lineup. My tester sports $ 500 carbon fiber inlays with a matte finish and royal texture, which is a nice departure from the ultra glossy SEMA crap. A $ 2,500 executive package puts soft Nappa leather almost everywhere, from the top of the dashboard to the center console trim. The whole thing blends in nicely, feeling quite expensive while still maintaining a lively look. There’s ample side support in the front and rear seats, and the red deflected stitching adds extra character.

Put that matte carbon fiber on everything, Audi, and never look back. Glossy finishes are … not exactly in vogue.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Both rows offer tons of space and visibility, and 30 cubic feet of load compartment stowage space surpasses the RS7’s 24.6 cubes while almost getting close to the two-row Q8 SUV. See? You can have your own cake is eat it while carrying several other cakes with free space at the same time.

Audi loves some screens itself, and thankfully, those screens are easy to love. The company’s MMI infotainment system resides within the 10.1-inch touchscreen on the dashboard, and while it can take some time to get used to the effort required to click each tile, the technology is responsive and pleasing to the eye. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is included, as are Apple CarPlay is Android Auto. Two USB-C ports hang under the center console armrest, plus a wireless device charger that uses the wagon’s antenna to boost the phone’s signal. Just below the main screen is an 8.6-inch display that covers climate control and seat settings – once again, finger presses take some weight, but tactile feedback is pleasant to every push.

The instrument cluster is also a screen. The Audi Virtual Cockpit puts almost all usable information in front of my face, and I can change parts of the screen to view even more, whether it’s a Google Earth-style map or the current power and torque output from the engine, with some specific RS models for the tachometer. The Executive package also includes a head-up display, just in case I want to keep my eyes from moving an extra two inches to see what gear I’m in. The Virtual Cockpit is adjusted via the switches on the steering wheel, so distraction is minimized.

Once you get used to Audi’s interface, it’s easy enough to switch things up with minimal distraction.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Some high-performance cars don’t even offer safety systems, but the RS6 Avant is full of them. Standard save-your-butt technology includes automatic emergency braking and smooth cruise control, but the $ 2,250 driver assistance package reinforces things with adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, l lane maintenance assistance and rear cross traffic warnings. Driver assists are incredibly smooth, but it’s hard to voluntarily give up control of such a fun car, even in the tedium of a daily highway commute.

Unsurprisingly, the 2021 Audi RS6 Avant is an expensive proposition, starting at $ 110,045 including destination, with my tester’s numerous options pushing the sticker north to around $ 123,000. The only real drawback with its configurability is the inability to pair the smaller 21-inch wheels with any of the black exterior trim packs, which would remove some of the inherent stiffness of the ride while maintaining its more aggressive look. I’d probably specify an RS6 Avant exactly as it is here, though.

The RS6 Avant has only one competitor in the United States: the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon, which costs a bit more and produces a bit more power by returning faster acceleration figures (3.0 seconds to 60 mph versus the Audi’s 3.5) and offering a few extra cubes of cargo capacity. That said, the Merc’s aesthetic is much more subdued inside and out, so it’s primarily a way of personal taste, especially at this price level. If you really don’t like wagons for some reason, there’s always RS7 as well.

Fast wagons are few and far between and the RS6 Avant is usually relegated to the forbidden fruit status in the United States, so consider this a special treat. With performance chops to spare and a suitably luxurious interior that can hold more than you’d expect, there’s a good reason people flatter the RS6. If you’re not quite ready to embrace the crossover life, this middleman presents a difficult opportunity to let it slip by.

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