Half estate car, half supercar, the Audi RS6 has always demanded respect for its undercover styling and ballistic acceleration. It appears the new model will stick closely to the formula.
These spy shots were taken in the Nevada desert near Las Vegas and show the newcomer during hot-weather testing. Despite being fully camouflaged, there are a handful of giveaways to its range-topping status. A tarmac-scraping front splitter and arch-filling alloys with carbon-ceramic brake discs all allude to its potency. Don’t be thrown off by the quad-exhaust pipes which normally signify lesser ‘S’ models, for production these will be replaced by twin oval pipes.
When we drove the standard A6 Avant last month, we were impressed by the quality and class of its spacious interior and well packaged boot, while the 309bhp V6 diesel flagship engine provided tremendous pace. But the RS6 – available as a saloon and an estate – will have a secret weapon under the bonnet in the form of a new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing around 550bhp. That's less than its predecessor, but should be sufficient for a 0-62mph time of well under five seconds.
The RS6 isn't expected to appear until next year, although lesser-powered 'S' versions of the A6, A7 and A8 are all rumoured to debut as early as next month's Frankfurt Motor Show.