Chevy Chase and those Vacation movies sure did a number on the station wagon market here in America. Ok, that may not be the only reason why wagons are so maligned, but it doesn't change the fact that buyers have flocked away from the sensible long-roof over the last few decades in favor of SUVs and crossovers.
Don't worry, though, this isn't going to be some 800-word diatribe on why you should buy a station wagon. Think of the 2024 Audi RS6 Avant Performance instead as a supercar with room for luggage, a dynamic performer with a dad bod.
The updated RS6 packs 621 horsepower courtesy of a twin-turbo V8 and can race to 60 in 3.3 seconds. Plus, with a few extra niceties inside for the new model year, there's even more reason the RS6 Avant Performance makes for the perfect sporty daily – to buyers with over six figures to spend, of course.
It should be noted that I also spent time in the 2024 Audi RS7 Performance during this drive. But you’ll be able to read more about the sedan version of this platform later this week – or as I like to call it, the RS6 Avant with a haircut.
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|Quick Stats||2024 Audi RS6 Avant Performance|
|Engine||Twin-Turbocharged 4.0-Liter V8 w/ISG|
|Output||621 Horsepower / 625 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||3.3 Seconds|
|Base Price||$125,800 + $1,095|
|As-Tested Price||$127,990 (est.)|
Gallery: 2024 Audi RS6 Avant Performance: First Drive Review
Six Pack Cab
Love it or hate it, the RS6 Avant has an undeniable presence. Audi kept the exterior upgrades subtle for 2024, adding optional lightweight 22-inch shoes, matte grey carbon fiber accents on the front and back ends, and black badges to hammer home the fact that this car hides 621 horsepower under its family-friendly exterior. And the paint – holy moly the paint; the new Grenadier Red and Ascari Blue hues available in both matte and metallic look epic in every regard.
In both the RS6 and RS7, minor tweaks to the interior enhance the already opulent cabins. New RS design packages available in either red, grey, or blue add some much-needed contrast to the interior, while the RS blue option tacks on full blue seatbelts and blue weave inserts to the carbon twill trim on the dash. All blue everything (the car pictured here is the RS6 with the black interior).
And the RS6 is decently comfy when you're not flogging it. The leather seats aren’t super soft but they are very form-fitting, offering the perfect amount of bolstering to keep you, your front passenger, and the kids in place. The rear seat is decently roomy, too; my 6-foot self would be comfortable back there over longer stretches.
With the standard air suspension, the RS6 floats over speed bumps and broken pavement with decent enough isolation (as well as a car with 22-inch wheels can), and even though Audi did remove some sound deadening to help reduce weight, only a tinge of outside noise makes its way inside. The optional Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) makes the RS6 less amenable – but more on that setup in my RS7 Performance review later this week.
From the original American-spec RS6 Avant that debuted in 2019, this new one adds 30 more horses and an extra 35 pound-feet of torque. The company isn't shy in calling this the "most powerful combustion engine Audi has ever offered," as engineers have massaged the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 together with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and bigger turbos for a total output of 621 hp and 625 pound-feet. That improves the 0-60 time by two-tenths of a second and increases the top speed to 177 miles per hour if you go for the version without the electronic limiter (and you should).
Love it or hate it, the RS6 Avant has an undeniable presence.
Audi's V8 powertrain is unparalleled. It wastes no time getting off the line when you lay hard into the throttle and delivers generous power at the top end of the rev limiter even when ticking close to three-digit speeds. An updated eight-speed automatic and Audi's ubiquitous Quattro all-wheel-drive system help manage all that power, while a smaller, lighter center locking differential does some magical things for this car in the corners by channeling up to 85 percent of the power to the rear wheels.
The standard air suspension is the superior setup, even though Audi still offers optional Dynamic Ride Control. In the "RS2" drive mode, the Avant tightens up to sports car levels which allows me to flog this 5,016-pound car pretty easily. There is still a touch more weight over the nose than you might want; the engine sits way up near the front axle. But the torque-vectoring, center-locking diff and the rear-wheel steering help sort out that uneven distribution by reducing whatever tinge of understeer lingered from last year, giving the RS6 Avant truly excellent cornering abilities for its size.
The 2024 RS6 Avant Performance isn't cheap, but this type of performance never is. It starts at $126,895 with the $1,095 destination fee included, while the metallic paint is an extra $595, the matte look costs $1,095, and DRC will likely add a few thousand dollars on top of that (pricing details to come). But compared to the $191,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo, Audi's in-family competitor, the RS6 Avant is a pretty screamin' deal.
And what you get for that price is essentially a do-it-all supercar. The RS6 is powerful and agile, it has a sumptuous cabin with a few cool color options, and even room for five normal-sized people plus their luggage – just don't forget the dog.
2024 Audi RS6 Avant Performance