We love fast estates here at paultan.org. So when the makers of the pioneering RS 2 Avant of the 1990s kick out a new one, naturally we sit up and take notice. You would, too.

Audi has released details and pictures of its third-gen RS 6 Avant, which can hit 100 km/h from rest in a blistering 3.9 seconds thanks to 560 PS and 700 Nm of torque from its twin-turbo 4.0 litre TFSI V8, which replaces the twin-turbo 5.0 litre V10 in the outgoing model (579 PS, 650 Nm, 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds). It’s also around 100 kg lighter due to a body that’s 20% aluminium.

Transmission is an eight-speed Tiptronic with Sport and Manual modes, while the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system features torque vectoring and involves a self-locking centre differential with an elevated locking value. A sport differential is also active on the rear axle to distribute power steplessly between the rear wheels.

In standard form, the load lugger hits the electronic buffers at 250 km/h, but those with a need for speed can specify the Dynamic or Dynamic Plus package, which brings the top speed up to 280 and 300 km/h respectively. It’s got space to match the pace, too – the luggage compartment holds up to 1,680 litres with the standard split rear seat folded.

The switch from V10 to V8 results in a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of about 9.8 litres per 100 km – an improvement of about 40%. The engine features two twin-scroll turbos, a start-stop system and a cylinder on demand (COD) system, which disables four of the eight cylinders at low to intermediate loads and engine speeds.

Switchable flaps in the exhaust system provide a sonorous soundtrack at the touch of a button, with greater amplification possible through a sports exhaust system, available as an option.

In a first for an Audi RS car, the RS 6 Avant features adaptive air suspension that lowers the body by 20 mm and incorporates controlled damping that takes into account road conditions, driving style and the drive mode selected on Audi drive select.

Buyers can also specify sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control – a more conventional setup that involves steel springs and three-way adjustable shock absorbers. Dynamic steering is another option – this allows stepless adjustment of steering ratio and boost. This system can also be integrated into Audi drive select and, like the standard electromechanical power steering, is tailored specifically for the car.

Providing some serious stopping power are 390 mm diameter internally vented front discs, gripped by six-piston callipers which can be had in black or red. 420 mm diameter carbon fibre-ceramic discs, painted anthracite grey, are an option.

Standard for the UK are 20-inch forged wheels in a seven twin-spoke design, while 21-inch cast wheels finished in high-gloss silver, polished black or polished titanium-look are extra-cost options.

The interior has a range of customisation options – the headlining and RS sports seats can be had in different colours and trims, while the Driver Information System’s RS menu has a new feature: a shift light.

As the revs pile up, green segments light up, and the bar turns red and blinks as the redline is approached. There are also displays for the gear selected, boost pressure, oil temperature and a digital speedometer.

The list of standard kit is impressive. There are xenon plus headlights, LED rear lights, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, quad-zone automatic air-con, MMI navigation with touch, a BOSE sound system, DAB radio, Audi Music Interface and illuminated entry sills, to name a few.

In addition to the optional extras already mentioned, there are all-LED headlights, HUD, a 1,200 watt Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 15 speakers, Audi connect and practically every other high-end option available in the range.

The Audi RS 6 Avant will be priced at around £77k (RM377k) OTR when it becomes available early next year.