The revamped front end includes a new bonnet with a ‘powerdome’ and thinner headlights taken from the A7. The gloss black front grille is an RS-only design and the air intakes built into the front bumper are styled after those on the R8 supercar. For the first time, the Audi logo is available in black as part of black and carbon styling packs.
There are RS-specific side sills and roof spoiler and a bespoke rear end incorporates a bold diffuser and twin oval-shaped exhausts. Inside, a leather sports steering wheel features RS aluminium paddle shifters and there are leather- and Alcantara-covered sport seats and a revamped instrument panel.
Binder said the brief was to “give maximum performance without compromise” and that is reflected in the 565-litre luggage compartment, unchanged from the standard A6’s, which expands to 1680 litres with the 40/20/40 rear seats folded.
As with the previous generation, the new RS6 is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo TFSI petrol engine, now boosted by a 48V belt alternator/starter mild-hybrid system, which can recover up to 16bhp. The engine also utilises a cylinder-on-demand system that can shut off half of its cylinders to boost fuel economy.
The powertrain produces 591bhp – up from the 552bhp of the previous standard model but slightly below the 596bhp offered by the 2016 Performance variant – with 590lb ft available between 2100rpm and 4500rpm.
The new RS6 Avant can achieve 0-62mph in 3.6sec. A governed top speed of 155mph can be extended to 174mph or 189.5mph with the optional Dynamic and Dynamic Plus packages respectively.
Power is sent to all four wheels, with a 40/60 split between the front and rear axle as standard, through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which features a launch control option and wheel-selective torque control. The dynamic packages add a sport differential.