Right, I want numbers
Impatient? Well we are too, having snapped the RS6 Avant testing at the Nurburgring earlier this year, and knowing how good the RS4 is. So, without further ado… The headline figure is 571bhp. Yes, 571 horses, so if you thought the German horsepower race was slowing down you were very much mistaken, as today Mercedes has also unleashed its C63 AMG estate, detuned to 451bhp. The rest of the numbers are 479lb ft, €101,750 (£68,656) on the Continent, 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, a limited top speed of 155mph and a kerbweight of 2025kg. Oh, and 1660 litres of boot space with the rear seats down.
But it looks understated?
At first glance, yes, but when you clock it in your rear-view mirror you’ll notice the subtly sculpted front bumper and LED daytime running lights. As the RS6 Avant passes you, and if you’re quick, you’ll pick out the bigger wheels and the chunky, flared wheel arches reminiscent of the old Ur-quattro. And, once it’s passed you, watch the two oval exhausts disappearing into the distance, and only then realise that it was an estate. Yes, it was that fast. Standard are 19-inch wheels, though you can specify 20-inch wheels. Only with the larger wheels can you have the ceramic brake option: they’re as impressive as the engine’s outputs, with 420mm discs up front, and 356mm discs at the rear. Also on the options list is a sports exhaust and a three-stage magnetic damping system.
So why is the RS6 Avant so quick?
We’ll start with the engine. It’s a V10, but not the 5.2-litre V10 found in the S6 or S8. This one's a 5.0-litre. Audi is being coy about the similarities this engine has to that in the Gallardo, but there are differences, most notably the presence of FSI in the RS6’s. Thanks to two turbochargers, you’ll get 479lb ft at 1500-6250rpm, and 571bhp from 6250-6700rpm. The end result is 20.3mpg – but also a 0-125mph time of 14.9 seconds. It's quick, then. The RS6 Avant comes, of course, with quattro four-wheel drive as standard, and a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split. Drive passes through a six-speed Tiptronic gearbox, complete with paddleshift. The standard spec list is massive, with heated front and rear leather and Alcantara seats, a Bose stereo, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. The car will take a bow at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show before going on sale in April 2008. We should get to see the saloon – which we’ve already scooped testing – in Summer 2008. Bring on the Merc E63 Estate and the BMW M5 Touring...