The new estate looks like a good way to haul the whole family about in style.

With a new Audi A6 on the way in a matter of months, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that a new Avant estate is also under development too. These spy shots provide a great look at the more practical variant's current state of development.

Forward of the B-pillar, the A6 Avant is identical to its saloon sibling. Audi's designers have kitted the new model with a broad version of its single-piece grille and flanked it with narrow, scrutinising headlights. Large air intakes occupy the corners of the front bumper. Even on this camouflaged model, the revised look is quite stylish.

Where the A6 saloon's roof starts curving down to the boot behind the driver's door, the top remains relatively flat on the Avant. There's still some slight curvature for the roof, which keeps the estate version from looking too boxy. At the rear, there's a steep rake for the hatchback that gives the vehicle a much sleeker appearance – this is what they call a 'lifestyle estate', rather than a boxy antique dealer's number. The rear lights are different to those on the new A6 saloon, with rounder edges rather than the sharper ones you'll find on the four-door.

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There are no photos of the new A6's cabin yet. Expect the latest generation of Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display to be in there. Camouflaged sensors on the corners of earlier test mules (see the gallery above) suggest a big upgrade in driver assistance technology, too.

The new A6 will be lighter and more aerodynamic than the current generation of the car. It will continue to use a range of Audi's latest four-cylinder and V6 engines. Later, Audi will add the high-performance S6 variant and eventually the range-topping RS6 will arrive too.

Audi has already confirmed that the new A6 will make its debut at the Geneva motor show in March. Check out the latest spy shots of the new A6 estate below. 

2018 Audi A6 Avant spy photos