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2009 Audi RS6 Avant: Europe Gets a Treat

Too Bad Americans Shun Wagons: 580HP Avant Won’t Be Part of U.S. Lineup
Audi introduced the RS6 Avant at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, along with an ultra-efficient A4 concept and a 1.4L four-cylinder TFSI engine for the European A3. The 580HP RS6 Avant, as fuel-efficient as a twin-turbocharged 5.2L V10 engine can be thanks to the direct-injection system, is about as opposite of socially conscious motoring as you get from Audi’s range. The RS6 Avant goes on sale in Europe in April 2008, but in the States not at all.


As a fan of Audi S and RS cars and of Audi Avants, the 580HP RS6 Avant sounds sublime. But the combination of cost and the wagon shape would make finding homes for a 580HP RS6 Avant difficult for U.S. dealers and it is no real surprise Audi of America is not going to try. European pricing for the latest version hasn’t been announced, but a U.S. version would likely have played in the low-$90,000 range. Consider that a 2008 S6 starts at about $75,000 and that the 2008MY base price difference between the S4 sedan and RS4 sedan is a staggering $18,000. An RS6 Avant price tag in the low-$90,000 range puts it too near the $96,000 Audi S8 and close to the base price of a 500HP Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The European release says the RS6 is available as Avant “to start with” and offers hope for a sedan. Though a sedan would have the same price-point difficulty, it would be more likely to attract enough buyers to justify importing this particular rocket.

Even more interesting, the RS6 may provide a hint at the potential for a V10-motivated R8 mid-engine sports car. A V10 is expected for the sports car, and simply giving it the S6 and S8’s 450HP 5.2L V10 is not enough of a jump from the 420HP V8 it launched with. Audi didn’t suggest the 580HP unit will wind its way into the R8, but we think it is only a matter of time before some manner of V10 arrives for R8 drivers.

Audi’s European Business/Sports Car
How about this for a crossover: part stuff hauler, part sports car? While most Americans see wagons as only acceptable for families, Europeans are more accepting and appreciative of vehicles with real cargo space. The A6 is an executive car, and the RS6 Avant provides the enthusiastic businessman with the need for family or leisure-time cargo-hauling space an answer. The RS6 Avant is presented in Europe as a sporty business car, something that can answer a buyer’s need for intensely sporty driving as well as the need for carrying stuff.


The RS6 took the 5.2L V10 FSI of the S6 and S8, massaged it and added twin-turbos to get 580HP. Audi says the RS6 is “the most potent Audi of all time,” excepting racing cars like the racing R10. Audi’s six-speed Tiptronic transmission deals with the V10’s massive torque, and quattro (with a rear-biased 40:60 split) is standard. The 0-to-100km/h (0-to-62mph) time is cited as a mere 4.6 seconds. Suspension has been retuned, along with the servotronic speed-dependent power steering, for maximum performance without losing “traveling comfort.” Dynamic Ride Control is developed from the system on the RS4 to reduce pitching and rolling for a more stable ride, but does so with fluid dynamics instead of electronic aids. (Three-stage adjustable damping, comfort, sport, and dynamic, is optional.) Ten-spoke nineteen-inch wheels are standard, twenty-inch wheels optional; ceramic brakes are also on the options list.

The RS6 Avant gets a new front bumper with larger intakes to get enough air for breathing and for cooling that the massive V10 needs. The single-frame grille carries a matt aluminum look and a highly polished black guard. Headlights, like the latest A4 and the S6, incorporates ten lower LEDs for daytime running lights. Adaptive headlights are among the items on the options list. In the rear are a new apron surrounding oval exhaust pipes, LED taillights, and a roof spoiler.

The RS6 Avant sports carbon fibre inlays edged in aluminum and piano black trim. Buyers choose between the three-spoke steering wheel or a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel that gets shift paddles; both include multifunction controls. This sporty edition adds displays for boost pressure, oil temperature, and a lap timer is added to the driver information system. Standard leather and alcantara seats sport an RS6 emblem, though uplevel leather is available.

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