draggin' wagon

Audi’s Coolest Car Is Coming to America for the First Time


August 21, 2019 Cars By
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Langston Hughes once wrote, “A dream deferred is a dream denied.” Well, Hughes may have been one of America’s greatest poets, but he certainly wasn’t much of an automotive prognosticator, because after decades of looking on fondly from afar, U.S. buyers will soon finally be able to buy one of the coolest station wagons — nay, coolest cars — never officially sold Stateside: the Audi RS 6 Avant.

More specifically, the latest and greatest RS 6 Avant: a 592-horsepower two-box so quick it ought to steal the “speedwagon” name back from those Illinois dad rockers.

Granted, we Americans will probably be more impressed by the new RS 6 Avant than the lucky folks overseas who’ve had access to it for years. After all, its specs aren’t a massive jump over the previous model that dates back to 2013; it still uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and an eight-speed torque converter automatic. (Indeed, the new model’s 592-hp output is actually lower than the Performance sub-model of four years ago.) Still, there’s enough power that, when combined with the all-wheel-drive system’s traction, can launch the car from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a claimed 3.6 seconds en route to a governed 155-mph top speed.

Every RS model needs to handle as well as it hauls ass, however, so the RS 6 Avant offers an available torque-vectoring sport differential out back and a choice of two suspensions: a specially-tuned adaptive air suspension as standard, and an available sport model with Dynamic Ride Control, which uses hydraulic lines between kitty-corner dampers to push oil back and forth to reduce body roll.

Something the new model brings that people all around the world are sure to appreciate, however: One hell of an angry face. The latest addition to the Audi Sport performance line’s front end is the sort of lantern-jawed mug that could prompt the occasional Code Brown amongst slow-moving autobahn drivers when they see it bearing down on them at a closing speed of 90 miles per hour; the wide, trapezoidal front grille is accentuated by a pair of LED light strips on either side that jut down like Smilodon fangs, while the bulging hood seems to be straining to keep the power inside contained, and the narrow LED headlights bring a squint that would impress Clint Eastwood. Out back, there’s a new bumper to contain the thicc oval tailpipes and a small new fixed spoiler atop the rear hatch.

Of course, it’s an Audi, so the new RS 6 comes with an interior every bit as technical and glamorous as the exterior is fast and furious. The black-panel dashboard and infotainment system uses a pair of touchscreens in lieu of most conventional controls, a feature sure to impress often and infuriate occasionally. There’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel that connects to a progressive rack that builds boost as the yoke winds (and also can steer all four wheels, should you check the right option box). Behind that sits a new version of the VW Group’s “virtual cockpit” all-digital instrument panel, which brings new RS-specific gauges that reveal info like g-force, boost pressure and how much of the 590 pound-feet of torque you’re using at any given moment.

And of course, go past the rear seats, and you’ll find a capacious cargo bay that can put plenty of crossovers to shame. Not that they’ll be able to stick to that rear you long enough to turn envious.

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