2023 Audi RS 6 Avant
Performance With Practicality
For most people, wagons are so not cool. But the enlightened among us appreciate them for their non-pretentious practicality, and quite often their driving dynamics too. But every once in a while, a wagon comes along that everyone can agree is bad to the bone.
Over the years, Audi has certainly been stingy when it comes to selling their high-performance RS models here in the U.S. Only allowing us a 3 here or a 5 there, briefly a 6, but only for one year in 2003, and certainly not a wagon. Well, in case you’ve been sleeping on it, the RS 6 actually returned to the U.S. for 2021 and did so exclusively as a square back wagon.
Most of us were still enduring Pandemic hysteria, so you’re forgiven if you had other things on your mind at the time. But it’s never too late to appreciate something special, and that is this 2023 Audi RS6 Avant.
This wagon truly is, packing a no joke twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 under its hood, cranking out 591-horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon Dragway testing grounds, it seemed a little hesitant to unleash its full fury right from the get-go, but that just allowed for drama free launches with plenty of grip. As soon as we got rolling, we could really feel the power pour on, fulfilling the 60 miles-per-hour mission in a scant 3.3-seconds.
Not enough for you? An upgraded performance model will arrive for ’24 with bigger turbos producing 30-more horsepower that Audi claims will help shave another 2/10ths off of that.
We’re certainly not complaining about this one, as it was truly refreshing to feel that amount of sensational power coming from an actual fuel burning powerplant pulling you down that track, rather than a host of electric motors whizzing you up to speed. It was the perfect throwback to when explosive thrust was created with hardware, mechanical ingenuity, and actual explosions, rather than computer software.
Part of that experience is what you hear of course, and this V8 sounds fantastic both inside the car and out.
There are 8-gears inside the Tiptronic automatic transmission, and very little pause in power when a new one is engaged, despite a very smooth overall feel. Our best ¼-mile run was 11.6 seconds at 120 miles-per-hour.
This wagon weighs close to 5,000-lbs. but it sure didn’t perform like it in our handling course. It felt much nimbler and lighter on its feet especially compared to many of the equally-heavy performance-oriented SUVs that we’ve driven lately.
Torque vectoring, a rear sport differential, and 4-wheel steering enable some serious agility, with near instantaneous turn ins, and elimination of almost all understeer. Steering is quick but with enough feedback to keep it from feeling over boosted.
It felt super stable in braking runs too, digging its way into the pavement. Just 113 feet to rapidly stop from 60.
The RS 6 definitely looks the part as well, featuring a lowered stance of course, plus exaggerated wheel flares that push out over 2-inches more than the A6 sedan on which this high-performance wagon is based on.
And this is not the only way to get an A6-based wagon as an All Road remains available as well.
Inside, you’ll find Audi’s great mix of high-tech features and premium materials, but with a decidedly sportier feel.
We’re still not fans of all the touch panel controls, but the actual infotainment system with its in-dash 10-inch touchscreen is fairly intuitive. And of course, Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit looks and works as great as always, plus gets unique RS programming and displays.
Alcantara and microfiber materials are joined by color stitching and sport seats covered in quilted Valcona leather to drive the RS point home.
There’s plenty of room in the back seat for kids or golf buddies, along with a great 30.0 cubic-ft. of cargo space in back.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a more than acceptable 19 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
But that puts the Energy Impact Score well below average at 17.5-barrels of annual oil use with 8.8-tons of CO2 emissions.
Believe it or not, this is not the only 600-horsepower wagon currently prowling our streets as Mercedes-AMG and Porsche are in the Draggin’ Wagon game as well. And, they’ll all cost you 6 figures, the RS 6 Avant’s base price is $123,995.
With all of the performance of a sport sedan, plus the functionality of an SUV, the 2023 Audi RS 6 Avant put a smile on our face like few other vehicles on the road right now. Not to mention it looks absolutely gorgeous. To most, it may be more ridiculous than practical, but that’s exactly why we love it so much.
- Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
- Horsepower: 591
- 0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 113 feet (avg)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 590 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 11.6 seconds at 120 mph
- EPA: 14 City / 21 Highway / 17 Combined