A Week With: 2022 Audi RS6 Avant

The Audi RS6 is more than a good-looking car; it’s eminently practical as well.

In a world besotted by crossovers and SUVs the Audi RS6 Avant is an anomaly ­— a high-performance station wagon.

In the Audi A6 line-up, it’s the one you’ll rarely see. In a world where cul-de-sac dwellers drive overweight SUVs outfitted for a drive up the slopes of Kilimanjaro, its appeal will be enigmatic.

For SUVs and crossovers are all about delusion. Their owners will never use the capability they are buying, whether off-road or in its cargo capacity. Most will never venture off-road aside from parking on a gravel parking lot, and few will ever need the traction it provides either. In a world where remote working has become the norm, getting to work during a snowstorm seems so 20th century. They would have far more fun in an Audi RS6 Avant.

Overview

No crossover has the sleekness of Audi’s performance wagon.

The Avant is a sleek, two-box rendition of the Audi A6 sedan, but taken to its extreme both in terms of cargo capacity ­— 30 cubic feet with the rear seats in use versus 13.7 cubic feet in the sedan — and performance, with 0-60 mph taking 3.6 seconds, rather than the 6.1 seconds required by the more sedate Avant.

Exterior

Walk around the Audi RS6 Avant and you’ll see a vehicle that’s far better looking than their crossovers. Now it’s not that their crossovers are ugly; far from it. But most have the appearance of a vehicle left out in a sandstorm for too long; all the corners have been rounded off. The RS6 Avant suffers from none of that.

The RS6 lacks the overly-long cargo area of wagons of old. This one looks like a sporting hatchback.

Its long, tapered roof plays, large wheels perfectly placed belt line lends the RS6 Avant an athletic stance. And designers have managed to avoid the problem posed by most wagons by not making the cargo area too long. The result is a wagon that looks more like a sporty five-door hatchback and less like a descendant of a Colony Park. While the sloping roof does rob the cabin of some space, it’s worth it for the look it provides. If you need hauling space, buy a cargo van.

Interior

Climb inside, and you’ll find the same modern spare aesthetics that are common across Audi’s line-up. Sleek and black, it lends a stark, modernist ambience to the interior that’s ingratiating. The seats are really firm, as you’d expect, so don’t expect the long-distance comfort that you’d expect in less sporting vehicles. But the RS6 Avant‘s performance image demands it cater to its buyer’s illusions as well. At the track, you’d want seats like this. Given this car will rarely if ever go on a track means a little more give would be worth it.

The modernist interior dispenses with many buttons. Whether this is good or not is a difference of opinion.

Powertrain

There’s one powertrain, and its epic: a twin-turbocharged double-overhead-cam 4.0-liter V-8 mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Power is rated at 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

Safety and Technology

When it comes to driver-assistance systems, most of them are optional as part of a $2,250 Driver Assistance package that adds active lane assist with emergency assist, side assist, rear cross traffic assist, adaptive cruise assist, turn assist, Predictive Efficiency assist, intersection assist and traffic sign recognition. 

Yup. There’s a lot of cargo space, 30 cubic feet in fact. And that’s with the rear seats in use.

It’s not surprising that these features cost extra. No doubt most RS6 drivers would prefer the lack of electronic driving nannies.

When it comes to tech, large screens do the work that was once the province of a plethora of buttons. Being a performance vehicle, buttons can be a boon; they tend to be easier to acculturate than screen buttons. Yet the graphics match the interior ambience, with a sophisticated, minimalist feel that proves fairly easy to use interface. The upper 10.1-inch touchscreen provides the infotainment, while the lower 8.6-inch screen handles other functions, including climate control.

The RS6 Avant‘s reconfigurable instrument cluster is particularly appreciated, as it allows drivers to place the navigation map as the primary graphic. This is handy when finding your way is of utmost concern. Bravo.

Driving Impressions

Handsome, practical and athletic, the Audi RS6 is looking better than ever.

Crossovers and SUVs are never as fun to drive as a car for the very reason that people prefer them; they’re tall. A lower center of gravity enhances a vehicle’s ability to go fast and adds to its agility.

This is why race cars don’t look like Amazon Prime vans. It’s also what makes the Audi RS6 Avant such a hoot. Fast? Of course. Acceleration is fierce; its engine note filled with menace and intent. Razor sharp handling? You bet. But what separates the RS6 Avant from its fatherland competitors is its overall demeanor.

There’s a degree of harshness present in Mercedes-AMG and BMW M vehicles that make them less pleasant to drive on a daily basis that’s noticeably absent on the Audi RS6. It makes it far easier to live with on a daily basis. It’s enhanced by the insulation from unwanted noise, lending it an aura worthy of its very hefty price tag.

2022 Audi RS6 Avant specifications:

Dimension L: 196.7 inches/W: 74.3 inches/H: 56.9 inches/Wheelbase: 115.3 inches
Weight 4,960 pounds
Powertrain Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter 8-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission
and all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway/17 mpg combined
Performance Specs 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque
Price Base price: $116,500, plus $1,045 destination charge
On-Sale Date Available now

Wrap Up

This vehicle is so unusual, its very existence makes it hard to resist. It’s uniqueness and its abilities surpass that of many overfed, overstuffed crossovers that don’t begin to deliver the thrills you’ll feel in the first few miles behind the wheel of the 2022 Audi RS6 Avant. Yes, you’ll pay dearly for the privilege, but some things in life are worth the money.

2022 Audi RS6 Avant ­– Frequently Asked Questions

How much is an Audi RS6 Avant?

Prices start at $116,500.

Will there be a 2022 Audi RS6 Avant?

Yes, in limited supply.

What is Avant in Audi?

Avant is Audi’s marketing name for a station wagon — at least in RS6 trim. The other A6-based station wagon is called the A6 Allroad.

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