Since the dawn of automotive time, there have been so many incredibly different types of sports cars, mostly because they are an expression of who we are. And as people, we are all incredibly similar, yet strikingly different. Some of us beg for attention (whether we want to admit it or not) and lavish in the lustful aura of a bright red Ferrari or screaming yellow Lamborghini. Some of us enjoy lower tech, brute force with a throaty V8 a la the Corvette ZO6 or Mustang GT350 that announces our presence long before we arrive. And yet there are some of us out there that truly love and enjoy speed and also still have that very competitive edge to prove that our car is faster than yours, but those people don’t like to have anyone see them coming.
In the land of sleepers, there have been many heralded dynamos: the Plymouth Duster of the ’70s, the turbo Buick Regal of the late ‘80s, the GMC Syclone of the early ‘90s, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 of the ‘00s, any number of AMG model Mercedes in the ‘10s, and for the next decade we would like to introduce possibly the greatest sleeper we’ve seen in years — the 2020 Audi RS6 Avant.
The Audi Avant can be traced back to its roots from the Clinton administration. In 1994 Audi released the RS2 Avant, which was essentially a hatchback that looked like a grocery getter, but could beat a C4 Corvette to the grocery store ten out of ten times. The most recent addition is the RS6 variant, which still retains “i’m innocently going to pick my kids up from soccer practice” motif, but unlucky is the unsuspecting 911 driver that pulls up next to this masked monster at a traffic light.
Power comes from an all-aluminum 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes a staggering 591-horsepower and equally stupefying 591 lb-ft of torque. That monstrous power gets funneled through Audi’s sport tuned 8-speed automatic on its way to the venerable Quattro all-wheel drive Audi has made their trademark. There is a mechanical center differential that is responsible for dividing up torque on tap. Under normal load, there is a 40/60 front/rear split. But if things start getting a little more fun, that diff can send up to 70 percent of that torque to the front wheels or up to 85 percent rearward.
Another fun thing to note is that the Avant is also a mild hybrid. 12 kilowatts of electricity is stored up from a 48-volt belt alternator starter system and used in start/stop operation up to 14 mph as well as being able to coast for up to 40 seconds during times the driver lifts off the gas and is causing at speed between 35 and 100 mph. Motor restart is almost imperceptibly fast, so most owners will only notice a dip in their gas pump prices, not in performance.
The RS6 gets a standard air suspension with adjustable settings. There is a coil-spring suspension that sports adaptive dampers on the option sheet if you so choose, as is the rear-wheel steering and larger wheels. And while the Avant is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Audi still likes it to play the part of little lamb well. When it is in regular duty, you’ll notice that there is 20 actual cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and up to 59 cubic feet with the back seats folded down. There is also a power tailgate standard, and a motion-activated version as an option.
When you’re ready to go from mild to wild, the Avant is more than willing. This quiet storm can hustle from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, and from 0-100 mph in just about 9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 190 blood-cuddling mph. Fuel economy numbers have not been made available yet, but we’re willing to bet they are going to be relatively impressive for a nigh-600 hp sports car.
Of course, the RS6 Avant isn’t exactly cheap, with a base price just north of 100K, but keep in mind you’re still buying a luxury car with Nappa leather, tons of safety features including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, rear cross traffic monitoring, as well as a ton of digital gadgetry like a fully digital dashboard to boot. And the other big question is this: when it comes to having the ultimate sleeper, how much is it worth to you too ruin that unsuspecting Porsche driver’s day?