One of the current “rules” of the automotive world is that the USA doesn’t get any of the cool European station wagons. Thankfully, Audi has decided to break that rule with the upcoming 2021 RS 6 Avant. And to make sure we’ve got the point, they are rolling out a limited version called an RS Tribute Edition.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out why we don’t have the cool wagons here in the U.S. of A. It’s a one-word reason: Minivans. At some point in the early 80s, suburban dwellers decided that wagons, although amazingly practical, were not cool. Lee Iacocca noticed the drop in sales, cooked up the minivan, and those that live in the suburbs have been happy ever since. They became even happier with the advent of SUVs, which, curiously, are just bigger, less efficient wagons that could go off-road, but that’s a whole other discussion.
Not as happy are gearheads (like me) who find wagons kind of cool, especially the high-performance variants. Mercedes does offer an AMG E Class wagon, but the ones that have been sadly absent from our shores have been Audis. Audi calls their wagons Avants (for some reason) and finally decided to bring them into our market. And, here’s the great part: not just any old wagon, er, Avant, but full-blown fire-breathing RS versions. And, they really decided to drive the point home with an RS Tribute edition to remind us how all this happened in the first place.
Back in 1994, the Audi RS2 Avant set the benchmark for high-performance wagons. With its 315 PS five-cylinder engine, excessive interior design, and the blaring Nogaro blue paint job, the 1994 RS2 Avant made a clear statement that wagons can be cool. It’s still considered iconic today by wagon enthusiasts and aficionados.
Fast forward to 2021, and Audi has thrown down a tribute to the RS2 Avant to drum up some hype for the upcoming RS 6 Avant. Called the “RS Tribute edition,” it’s a limited production run of 25 units that feature unique design elements that harken back to the iconic RS2 Avant.
The new RS Tribute Edition includes the Nogaro Blue paint with black optic accents on the grille, side blades, rear diffuser, and roof rails. The side mirrors are body color, rather than the usual brushed aluminum. Big, honking 22-inch trapezoid-design, cast-aluminum wheels with summer tires are standard. The brake calipers are a flashy red.
The inside features carbon twill structure inlays and Denim blue contrast stitching to accentuate the exclusive Valcona S Sport seats. The steering wheel has a perforated covering, while the RS floor mats and upper and lower dashboard receive leather elements. The front seats also include Denim blue contrast stitching.
The RS Tribute Edition also comes standard with Audi’s Driver Assistance Package. The standard Executive package includes heated rear seats, heads-up display, power soft-closing doors, and the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System.
But all this is just the icing – it’s the whole cake that’s really impressive.
Audi RS 6 Avant RS Tribute Edition Engine
The RS 6 Avant is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 putting out 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. As you’d imagine, muscle car numbers like that translate into serious acceleration: zero to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, for example. Each Tribute edition is equipped with a sport exhaust that is driver-adjustable using the Audi drive select system. This way, you can dial it in to sound just right.
It’s taken a while, but we can finally get Audi’s hot wagon over here in the New World. The 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant RS Tribute Edition starts at $136,800. If you want one, the competition might be fierce. Like I said earlier, Audi is only making 25 of these Tribute Edition wagons.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.