2020 Audi RS6 Avant revealed: price, specs and release date

Everything you need to know about the new high performance Audi RS6 Avant estate, which offers space and speed in equal measure...

Audi RS6 Avant front static

Priced from £85,000 (est) | On sale Early 2020

Think estate car, and you probably picture a sedately driven diesel filled with dogs, kids, or flatpack furniture. What you don’t typically conjure up is something that’s capable of outpacing almost every other vehicle on the road. But then the Audi RS6 Avant has never been your typical estate.

Under the bulging bonnet of this new one is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 which produces 592bhp. That’s 212bhp more than you get in a Porsche 911 Carrera, and enough to shift the RS6 from 0-62mph in just 3.6sec.

Audi RS6 Avant rear static

True, it still isn’t quite as powerful or fast as our favourite £80k-plus performance car, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Estate, which posts figures of 604bhp and 3.5sec. However, you’re unlikely to notice such small differences on a track, let alone public roads. And while fuel economy and emissions are still to be confirmed, the RS6 looks like it has the potential to be more efficient than its rival.

A mild hybrid system recoups some of the energy that would normally be lost when slowing down and allows the car to coast for up to 40sec with the engine off. Plus, that engine can save more fuel by shutting down half of its eight cylinders when they’re not needed.

As in the regular A6 Avant on which the RS6 is based, you get a sizeable 565-litre boot. But there’s no mistaking the two models, because the RS is 80mm wider and has an almost completely bespoke body; only the front doors, tailgate and roof are carried over. Notable highlights include a front end that’s inspired by the R8 supercar, and pumped up wheel arches reminiscent of those on the original Quattro coupé from the 1980s.

Audi RS6 Avant dashboard

Sitting within those arches are massive 21in alloy wheels, with 22s an option. What’s more, RS6 buyers can choose from air and steel suspension (the former is slightly more comfort focused) and add rear-wheel steering, where the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts to improve cornering agility and reduce the turning circle.

As in all fast Audis, quattro four-wheel drive is standard. Plus, there are customisable RS1 and RS2 driving modes, which are activated via a button on the steering wheel. As well as adjusting the engine and handling responses, these change what information is displayed on the fully digital instruments.

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Best and worst performance cars

Like the idea of the new RS6 Avant, but don't want to wait until next year? Then read on as we count down the top 10 performance cars currently on sale – and reveal the model that's best avoided.

10. Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

If you're after effortless performance, an estate-style body and the ultimate badge appeal, then look no further than Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo. Just don't expect it to shift a wardrobe, because its boot has a 425-litre capacity, compared with the RS6's 565 litres.

Read our full Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo review or let us help you buy a Panamera Sport Turismo

9. Mercedes-AMG C43

Mercedes-AMG C43

This is a softer, less focused (and cheaper) alternative to the riotous C63 models, but it's still far from a slouch, thanks to a 385bhp turbocharged V6. It sounds fantastic when you rev is hard, too, but is unsurprisingly pretty thirsty.

8. Porsche Panamera

New Porsche Panamera vs Tesla Model S

We actually prefer the regular Panamera to the Sport Turismo, because it costs less, is slightly better to drive and it's very nearly as practical. Both cars ride surprisingly well by performance car standards.

Read our full Porsche Panamera review or let us help you buy a Panamera