• May 20, 2011
2012 Audi A6 Avant – Click above for high-res image gallery

Worldwide, 60 percent of all A6 sales are Avants.
We return to an old whine: Why exactly does the United States as a whole clearly possess the psyche that can categorically reject perhaps the two most useful body configurations ever thought of for road-going automobiles? Namely, the hatchback in all its various configurations and the most wonderful all-rounder on Earth, the station wagon.

Regarding the latter, witness this latest chapter in sensational wagoning, estating, call it what you will: the new 2011-12 Audi A6 Avant, which just had the covers pulled off it at a Berlin ceremony. We know that opinionists sprout from the ether of the Internet and have the habit of saying things in ways that reflect the writer's intensely personal and frequently skew-ish "obvious reason why" North America many years ago thumbed its collective nose at the wagon. But go ahead and comment; it's a lively and fun ritual. And for more of our own commentary, continue reading...

We don't/won't/can't get this new A6 Avant anymore. So much the worse for us.
Look at this sex-ational toter. Worldwide, 60 percent of all A6 sales – the best-selling entry in this market segment in recent years globally – are Avants. That's without the goldmines of sales that are the United States and China; the top two markets and both renowned as wagon-haters. Or is it just that we've become SUV/crossover/minivan sheep at the clear expense of the holy wagon? Wagons have "command seating" positions, too, y'know.

Audi's wagon history started with the 1977 model 100 Avant. Since then, Audi has sold 1.3 million Avants worldwide, from this total about 47 of them have been sold to Americans. Yes, we exaggerate for effect, but we're not far off. Now that Audi has the Q5 and Q7 tall boy SUVs, to be followed soon by a street-confined Q3, the Avants are freer to be sleeker designs, too, and not just four-doors with a storage unit on the back. But no more A6 3.0T Avant quattro for us. The same thing has happened at BMW, who sadly also decided last year to no longer bring any 5 Series wagons (a.k.a. Tourings) to us due to horrific sales numbers when they did try. Surprisingly it's Mercedes-Benz that brings over the E-Class wagon – both the E 350 4Matic and now also the E 63 AMG wagon due in September. They now have the European premium wagon monopoly here.

2012 Audi A6 Avant cargo area

At 59.3 cubic feet with all seats down, the A6 Avant has plenty of space for whatever. The interior, too, has been revamped to better present itself as an image car worthy of any five-star hotel's special parking spot near the front door. There are two gasoline and four turbodiesel engines. They're all fine units, but the engine that arrives last (by November we are told, following the general July launch of the other five motors) is the one we most want to experience. To compete head-on with the BMW 335d and 535d Touring, Audi now will have a new 3.0-liter bi-turbo V6 TDI quattro with 308 horsepower and torque rumored around 530 pound-feet. That'll be zero to sixty mph in just over five seconds. Pricing would be around $60,000 for discerning Yanks, but alas...

We don't/won't/can't get this or any other new A6 Avant anymore. So much the worse for us.


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  • 89 Comments
      motoramic
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whenever I drive on a curved road or freeway ramp, I see lots of top-heavy SUV's slow down with their brake light ahead and I love it how I can easily pass them with my fun-to-drive Madza wagon. :P
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @motoramic
        Bingo. Although if it's a Tahoe or bigger, it's usually not safe to pass, because they never stay in their freaking lane.
      blunckhouse
      • 3 Years Ago
      As an Avant Enthusiastâ„¢ (a term I just coined), I lament North America's dwindling selection of new wagons. I own a B7 A4 Avant (photo here: http://i.imgur.com/0KFwl.jpg), and have been casually looking for its replacement in the next few years. B7 S4 Avants are exceedingly rare, especially with a manual, and the B8 S4 is not available in the US (of course), so I'm considering a C6 A6 Avant, if I can find one. That is, of course, unless I hit the lotto, in which case a CTS-V wagon will take up residence in my garage. One can dream.
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problems as to why most American's don't get and or like Wagons is many. A few of them are as followed If your a auto company and you make gobs of profit off a SUV compared to a Wagon what would you push and advertise? If your a soccer mom and have been convinced that buying a big ol'SUV is the way to go once you ditch your Minivan why would you look to a Wagon when they both most likely have the same amount of space? Auto companies still havent tried to dispel the stigma of the Wagon. When uninformed people are asked about Wagon's they'll mention the big giant one with wood paneling in those National Lampoon movies. Myself I love Wagon's. They drive like a car and haul enough stuff like a truck/suv. I'll admit and say if I had a choice say of a Cadi CTS-V Coupe or Wagon I'd pick the wagon. To me it has everything a true multi use vehicle. Shame the rest of America doesnt understand that. One day perhaps?
      kopter28
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Americans don't want it screw them, at least bring it to Canada!
      Brian E Parker
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is exactly the Audi I want: A6 Avant, Palace Blue, Quattro, TDI, Layered Oak Trim... ...but you can't get it in the US. I guess it's time to move to Norway.
      elinder
      • 3 Years Ago
      God, I want the new 2012 Audi A6 Avant so bad I am willing to go to an Audi dealership and give them a check for 10% over sticker to get one right now. Seriously. I own a Range Rover Sport, which has been nice, but lately (maybe its the mid-life crisis of entering mid 40's) I just have gotten so tired of SUV's and want a Euro sport wagon for my small, 4 person family. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE I AM ALONE! I am an extremely discriminating car addict, how can I possibly be the only person willing to buy one here. And how can it be that Americans don't want a sport wagon when the only sport wagon available here is the Cadillac CTS-V wagon. What I REALLY, REALLY wanted a new S6 Avant, but when I learned that wasn't available, I thought I'd settle for a A6 with big engine and sport package. To learn I can't even get that now is so disheartening it makes me outright MAD AT AUDI and thinking I might even boycott them. Looks like I have to settle for the E360 wagon with 4wd but it won't nearly be as fun. I thought Audi was trying to lure customer FROM Mercedes Benz, not drive them away.... I think Audi cut off the A6 Avant just as it the sport wagon market is turning to corner here. Audi has really screwed up on this one.
      dagryme@mac.com
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ok, I am just going to say it, wagons suck, they have always sucked, I know saying something sucks is not a very intelligent take on a topic, but its the truth. I hate the looks of wagons, There is nothing obviously unattractive about them but saying a wagon is sexy is the equivalent of saying that a pregnant women is sexy. Umm, you can say a a pregnant woman is beautiful, I guess, but sexy, only to a select few of really out of the norm people(weirdoes, pervs, and Automotive columnists). If I had to further equivocate, while trying to not be overtly sexist, SUV's are like full figured women, sports cars are like swim suit models, sports sedans are the marrying type, and Wagons are like pregnant wives. If you have one you love it, but you don't go out looking for one.
        ravenosa
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dagryme@mac.com
        Hatches are like sexy women with a purpose, SUVS are like out of shape, overweight bimbos with no physical abilities or attraction, trying to compensate with hideously out of proportion fake boobs. Though, I do love how small their owners look standing besides their top-heavy station wagons. Like little Oompa-Loompas! Different strokes for different folks, I guess...
      citidriver
      • 3 Years Ago
      High standards for oneself is looked down upon in this country. Intelligence is made fun of. Good taste is a foreign idea. Great design and aesthetics loses out to styling for the moment even if its ugly or derivative. Beauty is for sissies. Self image is more important than coexisting with your fellow drivers on a public road. Being man enough to stop somewhere and ask another human being for directions always loses out to a small screen with buttons or a cursor. No wonder we have no wagons. I've got a Volvo V70R, I think I'll keep it.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good riddance. One less VAG product to see broken down on the side of the freeway.
      Andrew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry, dagryme@mac.com, you and other Americans who don't like wagons are idiots when it comes to cars. Just because you and others don't like them means you're depriving us, with good taste, of buying them. I'll hold onto my sexy Passat wagon as long as I can. SUVs are for morons--slower, higher, less room for more money. What a scam.
        Phontsolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andrew
        Agree 100%. You can also blame the car manufactures for not bringing over hatches/wagons that some of us American's love. Not even in small numbers.
        Phontsolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andrew
        SUV's ARE hatchbacks dammit! :o)
      Kai F. Lahmann
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe this explains, why Americans are so in love for SUVs: There is just nothing else with more room than a sedan. No wagons, only very few vans and not even a big number of 5-door hatchbacks. Compared to than sedans are close to irrelevant in Europe...
      scherpkingq7
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not that we don't like them, it's just that $66,000 to start is so much for a wagon when you can get a crossover with more capabilities and similar everything else. VW is the one that needs the wagons. More for mainstream, not so much for lux. The exchange rate ruins premium wagons for us to where it just doesn't make sense.
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