The most powerful production Audi of all time – the new RS 6 quattro Avant – will offer UK Audi customers a remarkable combination of 1,660 litres of load-engulfing space and 580PS-worth of blistering V10-fuelled performance when it becomes available next month priced at £77,625 OTR.

Deliveries of the new biturbo, ten-cylinder super Avant – the eagerly awaited successor to the revered original RS 6 quattro of 2002 – will begin in May, and the first year allocation of 380 examples has already been accounted for by customers who have formally registered their interest in the car with Audi Centres.

Audi RS6 quattro Avant at a glance

  • New RS 6 quattro available first in Avant estate form with saloon to follow in mid-2008
  • UK OTR price confirmed at £77,625 OTR – first deliveries in May 2008
  • V10 engine is boosted by two turbo chargers, streamlined by FSI direct petrol injection and linked to six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission
  • 580PS @ 6,250rpm, 650Nm from 1,500-6,250rpm, 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, top speed limited to 155mph, 20.1mpg combined
  • Latest generation quattro system with 40:60 front-to-rear torque split
  • New development of hydraulically controlled Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system from RS 4 with selectable damper settings
  • Sports interior boasting up to 1,660 litres of luggage space

At the heart of the latest RS flagship is a heavily modified, 5.0-litre version of the exceptionally compact, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 FSI petrol engine powering the 435PS S6 quattro. Two turbo chargers and extensive component refinements boost the output of this acclaimed unit to 580PS at 6,250rpm, and increase torque from 540Nm to 650Nm, available from just 1,500rpm right through to 6,250rpm.

As a result, the RS 6 quattro with optimised six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission can blast to 62mph from rest in 4.6 seconds and to 124mph in just 14.9 seconds, only relenting when the electronic governor cuts in at 155mph.

Yet despite the considerable exertions of its two newly adopted turbo chargers, the mighty V10 nevertheless retains surprisingly ‘real world’ fuel economy, with up to 20.1mpg possible on the combined cycle, only slightly behind the naturally aspirated V10 powering the S6 quattro. FSI direct petrol injection – which minimises the amount of fuel used in each combustion cycle through injection directly into the combustion chamber rather than via the intake manifold – can be thanked for this impressive efficiency.

To reach the tarmac via the suitably imposing 20-inch alloy wheels fitted as standard to UK RS 6 models, the barrage of power passes through the latest generation quattro four-wheel-drive system with standard 40:60 front-to-rear torque split, ensuring that it translates seamlessly into smooth, safely contained and uninterrupted performance. The feeling of unflappable composure is emphasised further by a new version of the Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system that won plenty of praise in the original RS 6 quattro and has since been used in the RS 4 quattro.

DRC connects shock absorbers on each side of the car diagonally to their counterparts by way of a central valve, which directs a flow of oil to provide additional damping force whenever a shock absorber is compressed, making for impressive gains in handling precision and stability. New to this latest RS 6 quattro is a three-stage selectable control for this system, which will be fitted as standard to UK versions and allows the driver to choose from three damper settings – comfort, dynamic and sport – according to preference and conditions

Also overseeing proceedings in the most powerful Audi in the range is a specially reconfigured version of the Electronic Stability Programme which has been programmed to intervene as late as possible, maximising driving pleasure without compromising ultimate safety. If required, the ESP system can be completely deactivated.

The most crucial safety feature, namely the ventilated all-disc braking system, is of course more than up to the task of reining in this most extreme of Audi Avants, and an upgrade to ultra high performance ceramic brakes with even more exceptional performance and fade resistance will also be available at extra cost.

The incredibly assured handling this advanced set-up permits can be enjoyed from the comfort and support of the cabin’s sculpted and ultra-grippy leather and alcantara-upholstered RS sports seats, the driver’s positioned perfectly in relation to the flat-bottomed RS sports steering wheel with multifunction controls and transmission shift paddles. Additional RS features in the much praised interior also include boost pressure and oil temperature readouts, milled finish door handles and aluminium-look pedals. The familiar A6 Avant virtues, not least its potential 1,660-litre load capacity, are of course very much in evidence.