It's been in no hurry to get here, but it'll be in a big hurry once it arrives.
The all-new, high-performance Audi RS6 Avant -- "Avant" being Audi-speak for "station wagon" -- will, for the first time, be offered stateside beginning next year.
It's been a long wait for American RS fans -- but, alas, after this speedy Avant debuts across the pond, the wait will still be a little longer. Following its European debut in the first quarter of next year, the arrival on these shores of the new RS6 Avant will be delayed yet another three to six months, Audi says.
But U.S. RS fans are used to it.
Audi's Sport division has offered a high-performance wagon in Europe for two decades, but Audi always figured the market for such a vehicle -- a family wagon grafted to a fire-breathing hot-rod -- was miniscule in the U.S. And they're right. In fact, the market for any wagon -- hot rod or otherwise -- remains microscopic in the U.S. Last year, wagons comprised just 1.4 percent of U.S. new-car sales, and -- literally -- most of those wagon sales were the SUV-esque Subaru Outback.
Nonetheless, Audi figures the time is right for its pricey hot-rod wagon to emigrate to the states.
Slated to arrive as a 2020 model in either the second or third quarter of next year -- no firm decision as yet -- RS6 Avant will house a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that generates 591 hp and a pavement-powdering 590 lb.-ft. of torque.
All that muscle will be mailed to all four wheels thanks to RS6 Avant's standard Quattro all-wheel drive. The mailman will be a sport-tuned, eight-speed automatic transmission that boasts both manual and Launch Control modes.
Although specs are not finalized for the U.S. version, the Euro RS6 Avant is said to reach 100 kilometers per hour -- that is to say, 62 mph -- in 3.6 seconds. Top speed, when properly equipped, is listed as 190 mph.
In other words, this is a wagon that will haul in more ways than one.
Carrying the weight will be an adaptive air suspension that will offer a variety of suspension-specific, driver-selectable performance modes, including an automatic leveling mode.
Mode selection also will be at the driver's fingertips for Avant's overall chassis performance, with choices being Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual. Each tailors to the mode at hand the performance of the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, differential and exhaust note, along with the response of this Avant's "dynamic all-wheel steering."
Ensuring that the neighbors know you've got something special, only the front doors, roof and tailgate are shared with the more mundane A6 Avant. Unique to RS6 are broadly flared wheel arches that widen the body 3.2 inches, an RS-specific gloss-black, honeycomb grille and proprietary bumpers.
Add RS6's lower profile, gloss-black cues and rear diffuser, and this guy's wardrobe puts an exclamation point on the performance capability lying below the skin.
Inside are driver-centric features and, of course, the latest iteration of Audi's MMI infotainment interface. That latter item includes Audi's reconfigurable "virtual cockpit," which can display, among other things, information on tire pressure, torque, power output, engine-oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g forces.
At press time, Audi hadn't announced pricing for the U.S.-spec version of the RS6 Avant, but our guess is that it'll be in the low six-figures. Such pricing would put it on par with competitors like the Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon and the Porsche Panamera 4S Sport Turismo.
So, welcome, RS6 Avant, to the states. You were slow in coming, but you'll be fast once here -- even if your sales aren't.