It is lighter and more efficient than the previous model, and performance has been improved. The 0 to 100 kmh sprint takes just 3.9 seconds and fuel consumption averages 9.8-litres/100km. The 4.0 TFSI V8 achieves 412kW or about 550hp in the old money.
Despite being a carry all wagon, Audi says the RS6 Avant is a high-performance sports car for everyday use. Its character and sporty tuning is the work of quattro GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Audi. The 4.0 TFSI, which first appeared last year, is an example of Audi's downsizing strategy in the high-performance category.
In the new Audi RS 6 Avant, the twin-turbo V8 delivers strong power in every driving situation. Peak output is reached between 5,700 and 6,700 rpm, with a constant 700Nm of torque available between 1,750 and 5.500 rpm.
Pulling power develops quickly due in large part to the two large twin-scroll turbochargers. They are mounted together with the intercooler in the inside V of the cylinder banks. The exhaust side of the cylinder heads is also on the inside, the intake side outside. This concept allows for a compact design and short gas paths with minimal flow losses.
The RS-specific engine management and induction system also contribute to the V8's spontaneous response. The 4.0 TFSI delivers a sporty, full-throated sound. Switchable flaps in the exhaust system make the sound even fuller, if desired. Audi also offers an optional sport exhaust system.
Among the factors contributing to the car's fuel economy is an engine start-stop system and innovative thermal management. Fuel consumption has been reduced by roughly 40 per cent compared to the previous model.
One pioneering efficiency technology in the new Audi RS 6 Avant is the cylinder on demand (COD) system. At low to intermediate loads and engine speeds, it shuts down the intake and exhaust valves of cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8. The 4.0 TFSI then runs as a four-cylinder engine until the driver accelerates more strongly again.
Efficiency in the active cylinders is increased because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads. The changeover from four and eight-cylinder operation takes just a few hundredths of a second. Active engine mounts use out-of-phase counter-oscillations to compensate for the vibrations that occur during four-cylinder operation.
The 4.0 TFSI is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission featuring shortened shift times and D and S modes. At the heart of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring is a self-locking centre differential.
The new RS 6 Avant is the first RS model from Audi to come standard with a specifically tuned air suspension. The dynamic setup of the RS 6 adaptive air suspension lowers the body by 20 millimetres.
The system combines the air suspension with controlled damping and takes into account the road conditions, the driving style and the mode chosen in the driving dynamics system Audi drive select, with which the driver can influence the function of key components in multiple steps.
The new Audi comes standard with high-gloss, 20-inch, forged wheels in a seven twin-spoke design. Optional 21-inch cast wheels are available in three versions. The body is roughly 20 per cent aluminium and includes numerous components made of high-strength steel.
Audi RS 6 Avant weighs roughly 100 kilograms less than its predecessor. The RS 6 Avant is planned for an Australian introduction at the end of 2013. Full pricing details, including standard and optional specification, will be announced closer to launch.