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Audi throws RS6 Avant hand grenade

Cargo rocketship: The Audi RS6, pitched as a load-lugging supercar, can dash from zero to 100km/h half a second faster than BMW’s mighty M5 sedan.

Blistering 3.9 second 0-100km/h sprint time for Audi RS6 Avant due here late 2013

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Audi logo5 Dec 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO

AUDI has unleashed a lighter and faster new-generation RS6 Avant, capable of a blistering zero to 100km/h dash of 3.9 seconds, ahead of its Australian launch in late 2013.

Pitched as an everyday supercar, the third-generation RS6 combines wagon practicality – 1680 litres of storage with the back seats folded – with eye-watering acceleration and an autobahn-conquering 305km/h top speed (provided the 250km/h electronic limiter is switched off).

The Ingolstadt marque’s latest uber-wagon packs a more potent version of Audi’s familiar 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine with 412kW of power between 5700 and 6700rpm and 700Nm of torque between 1750 and 5500rpm.

This is 14kW less but 50Nm more than the mighty 5.0-litre V10 used in the previous model sold in Australia between October 2008 and 2010 from $260,114 plus on-roads, but a weight loss in the order of 100kg has trimmed the standing sprint time by seven-tenths, down from 4.6s.

Australian pricing and specifications for the new RS6 will have to wait until closer to launch late next year, but its addition will give Audi’s local arm a two-pronged RS wagon attack, with the smaller RS4 Avant set for launch in early 2013.

That 3.9 second sprint time means the RS6 is not only eight-tenths faster than the RS4, but 0.5 seconds quicker than BMW’s similarly sized and equally powerful M5 sedan.

The lighter kerb weight comes thanks to greater use of weight-saving materials like aluminium (20 per cent in total), and also brings claimed benefits to handling and fuel consumption. The new model uses a claimed 9.8 litres per 100km – down from 14L/100km on its thirsty predecessor.

As with other applications of the TFSI engine in less-powerful models like the S6 and S7, fuel-conserving features including idle-stop and cylinder de-activation are fitted as standard. The latter shuts down the inlets and exhaust valves, starving four of the engine’s eight cylinders.

Power is sent to all four wheels via Audi’s rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with ‘Sport’ and ‘Manual’ modes and wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The RS6 is the first Audi performance model with standard adaptive air suspension, that can lower the body height by up to 20mm, though Audi will offer to replace this with tauter steel-spring sports suspension for extra cost.

The electromechanical power steering system fitted to the RS6 has been re-tuned specifically for the hottest member of the A6 family, and can be optioned with steplessly variable steering boost and ratios.

Behind the standard 20-inch forged seven-spoke front wheels sit 390mm ventilated discs with six-piston black or red callipers. Enormous 420mm ceramic units will be offered as an extra-cost option.

For rev-heads and hoons everywhere, the ESC stability control can be de-activated.

RS-specific design details matte aluminium body details, high-gloss black honeycomb grille and inlets, black rear diffuser with large-diameter twin pipes, flared arches, roof spoiler and special badges.

Inside the cabin are Alcantara and leather sports seats with ‘diamond’ centre quilting, aluminium-look and carbon inlays, racing-style flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and black instruments with white dials and red needles. Adding to the race-feel is a shift-light for the transmission.

Standard in the rear is a two-seat arrangement – making the RS6 a four-seater. However, a three-person bench is available as an option.

Standard features include xenon-plus headlights, LED rear lights, a tyre-pressure control system, illuminated entry sills. Park assist, cruise control, three-zone automatic air conditioning, MMI touchscreen navigation and a 10-speaker sound system.

The current A6 Avant line-up in Australia is limited to the front-drive four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI, plus the 3.0 TDI A6 Allroad crossover SUV.

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All future models

A6 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.