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Wagon wars: Audi one-ups itself with 600 hp RS6 Avant Plus

The Audi RS6 Avant is the Fellowship of the Ring’s answer to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. A car of that caliber is already very impressive, but Audi may not be willing to stop there. Stephan Reil, head of Audi’s quattro GmbH performance division, told England’s Car that an RS6 Avant Plus is on the way, and that it could have up to 600 horsepower.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the RS6 Avant already has 552 hp, courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. Reil said the RS6 Avant plus will have at least eight to 10 percent more power than the standard car, which pushes the total into the 600 hp neighborhood.

Why add more power to an already insane station wagon? It may be partly due to the fact that the current (third generation) RS6 Avant makes less power than its predecessor, which boasted a 5.2-liter V10 and 572 hp.

There’s also a historical precedent. Audi built a Plus version of the original RS6 Avant in 2004. It pushed the stock wagon’s 4.2-liter V8 from 450 hp to 480, along with other mechanical and cosmetic enhancements. Only 999 examples of the first RS6 Avant Plus were built.

However, the new RS6 Avant Plus will not be a limited edition. It will go into series production as the wagon to end all wagons, topping the RS6 range the same way the R8 V10 Plus tops the R8 model line.

Whether the RS6 Avant Plus will be available to American enthusiasts is another question. So far, Audi isn’t bringing the “standard” RS6 Avant to the United States, so the steroidal version seems like a long shot.

That’s too bad, because we like the idea of a car with the power of an SRT Viper that can also haul 2x4s. If that extra power translates into seriously improved performance, the RS6 Plus would also trump the M5 and E63, not to mention Cadillac’s CTS-V wagon.