TESTED: 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant Combines Practicality With Mind-Bending Performance

TESTED: 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant Combines Practicality With Mind-Bending Performance

Audi's new wagon can shame most dedicated sports cars on a track

  • The RS 6 Avant has returned to America with all the power, performance and flair we expect from an RS-badged Audi
  • A 591-horsepower twin-turbo V8, a sport-tuned suspension and standard all-wheel drive make this car monstrously quick and highly capable on a winding road
  • Spoiler alert: The RS 6 Avant was quicker than the C8 Corvette at our test track
2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

There's a dwindling number of station wagons on sale in America today, so we're excited that Audi has once again blessed us with the RS 6 Avant, which is one of the most powerful and luxurious cars on the road today. The Avant name is what Audi calls its wagons, and the RS 6 is based on the regular A6 Avant. That car isn't sold in America, although we do get a chunkier variant called the Audi A6 Allroad.

While the 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant may look like just another European family hauler with big wheels and a muscular design, looks are very deceiving in this case. We couldn't wait to get our hands on one and test the RS 6's performance for ourselves.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

What makes the RS 6 Avant so fast?

The rip-roaring heart resting underneath the RS 6's aluminum hood is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 churning out 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Those are elite sports-car figures in a vehicle that can seat five and haul 30 cubic feet of cargo at the same time. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic that feeds that power through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

But there's more going on here than just the powertrain. The RS 6 features four-wheel steering for improved cornering and high-speed stability. Its adaptive sport-tuned suspension helps it feel both nimble in a corner and comfortable on the street.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

Well, how did it perform?

Few cars can guarantee a smile like the RS 6. Acceleration is both hilarious and exhilarating. In Edmunds' testing, the RS 6 went from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and flew past the quarter-mile marker in 11.4 seconds at 118.6 mph. For reference, each of those times is a tenth of a second quicker than what the new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette recorded in our testing, although the Vette's trap speed was a minuscule tenth of an mph faster. We used the RS 6's launch control system to get the best possible start. From a dead stop, the RS 6 accelerates with brutal force, the engine's beefy exhaust note elevating the whole experience.

Braking performance was equally impressive. Our car's sticky summer tires and optional carbon-ceramic brakes helped the RS 6 stop from 60 mph in a short 108 feet. Those same tires as well as the tight steering and sport suspension helped achieve 0.97 g of lateral grip. Again, those are numbers that some sports cars fail to match. On a winding road, the RS 6 feels athletic and sure-footed without the stiff ride that comes with traditional sports cars.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant.

Edmunds says

The Audi RS 6 Avant is arguably the perfect all-around car. You'll pay for the privilege, but few cars can offer the same level of comfort, practicality and performance in a single wrapper.


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