Audi RS6 review | first drive |

15 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Audi RS6 review | first drive |
Audi RS6

Audi RS6

review | first drive

To say it’s an A6 wagon (sorry, Avant) with extra specs is to belittle the car. Photo Gallery

Neil Dowling road tests and reviews the Audi RS6 Avant at its international launch, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

Audi RS6 Avant 4

The quickest way to the shopping centre has arrived. This is the shopper#39;s supercar wagon that gobbles up Gallardos, noshes on 911s and feasts on Ferrari FFs for breakfast.

Little prepares you for the voracious appetite and dining manners of Audi#39;s RS6 Avant – certainly not the almost benign wagon shape. But with a 412kW/700Nm twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8, the Avant – incidentally the only RS6 body on offer from Audi – is blistering fast and hunts down the 100km/h mark in only 3.9 seconds.

As a term of reference, the Gallardo does it in 4.0sec, and the Mercedes SLS AMG and Ferrari FF in 3.7 secs. Audi Australia says it will cost about $230,000 when it gets here in November. That#39;s more than $30,000 cheaper than the 2008-2010 era of the V10-engined predecessor that was also available as a sedan.

There is no need for a sedan in the RS6,#39;#39; says Audi Australia#39;s Anna Burgdorf. We see buyers who want that performance in a four-door body will look at the RS7 – which goes on the market in Australia in the first quarter of next year.#39;#39;

The buyer will have a similar profile to an R8 owner, but with the need for more practicality.#39;#39; Ms Burgdorf expects the RS6 Avant to sell at the rate of one to two a month and rival cars including the BMW M5 and Mercedes C63 AMG .

The RS6 Avant will come highly-specified in terms of equipment and offer only a few options. These will include the Dynamic Ride Control, 21-inch alloys (20-inches is standard) and the ceramic disc brakes (add $11,000) but also the ability to ramp the top speed up from 250km/h to 305km/h.

There#39;ll be some buyers who will specify the increased top speed,#39;#39; Ms Burgdorf says. It#39;s only offered in conjunction with the ceramic disc brake package – that#39;s a standard for all global markets.#39;#39;

The fact it#39;s $30,000 cheaper than the previous RS6 makes it sound like a bargain. At $230,000 it#39;s a good buy for those chasing an exotic sports-car 0-100km/h time but there#39;s no denying it#39;s an expensive way to get there. Where the Audi lifts its head is in its comfort and features, brilliant build quality, docile street manners and distinctive low-volume sale rate.

It#39;s on sale in November and already hands are up.

Audi promotes personalisation of its cars and the RS6 is no different. But for those who simply want to drive away, standard kit includes Bose audio with sat-nav and digital TV, a 360-degree camera, 20-inch alloys, adaptive air suspension and carbon-inlay dash.

To say it#39;s an A6 wagon (sorry, Avant) with extra specs is to belittle the car. There#39;s a lot of difference, notably the flared guards, huge wheels, subtle spoilers – including Gallardo-inspired twin brake inlets, lower ride height, fat grille and blackened LED tail lights. The cabin has intricately veneered timber and aluminium inserts, an all-black ambience dominated by wide-eyed gauges and a plethora of switches.

Audi RS6

The sports-seats are deeply bolstered and though the comfort#39;#39; option includes seating for three along the back seat, many buyers may opt for a two-seat rear. The electric tailgate opens to a wide and deep – though shallow – boot area. But it#39;s the wheels that give the game away and even parked by the sidewalk, the RS6 looks mean.

Audi engineer Stephan Reil says the 4-litre V8 twin-turbo is from a comparitively new engine family on which he started work in 2006. The RS6#39;s engine is the same as in the S6, S7, S8 and A8 – but not the RS4 – with the big difference being that only the RS6 whacks out 412kW/700Nm. The others are either 309kW/550Nm or in the S8#39;s case, 382kW/650Nm.

The RS6 engine has cylinder deactivation and stop-start to reduce fuel use to a claimed 9.8 L/100km.

Can Audi take it further? Reil won#39;t say. He also says it#39;s unlikely Audi will drop the V8 for a V6 in near-future models because too many buyers love the V8#39;#39;.

The RS6 also gets standard air suspension and wave-shaped disc brakes that shave 3kg off the car#39;s weight – while there#39;s electric-assist steering, four-mode drive select#39;#39;, new safety equipment (see below) and a part aluminium body that#39;s about 100kg lighter than before.

The RS6 Avant will pick up the A6 Avant#39;s five-star crash rating. It also has 10 airbags, full electronic stability and traction control, full-view camera, all-wheel drive, heated side mirrors, blind-spot assist, lane-change monitor, adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, night vision and so on – but no spare wheel.

The bass-beat thrum-thrum of the V8 engine is pure music. It#39;s aural tune is all natural – not enhanced by sound boxes under the bonnet – and is as impressive in settling the car#39;s character as the power of the engine. The wagon starts with a roar, settles to an angry hum and proceeds to strike multiple notes on its way up and down the eight-speed automatic#39;s ratios.

The drive select is angrier in the dynamic#39;#39; mode though the steering is a bit firm and it exposes more of the electric-assistance#39;s artificial feel.

But the steering can#39;t be dismissed for its positive feel once the big wagon is pointed into a corner. The auto#39;#39; mode, where the steering ratio changes slightly with the result of a lighter feel, is the best overall. The ESC can be switched off and ev en with that safety net thrown from the carriage, the wagon has tremendous grip thanks to its all-wheel drive.

But constantly this car is about that engine.

Rather than having a linear fluidity – like the RS4 – the RS6#39;s turbos dominate power delivery with less of a kick immediately off the mark but then a rush as the boost starts. The engine will run, with all the noises of an orchestra, to 6600rpm before upchanging. And though the drivetrain dominates, the car is surprisingly comfortable and when cruising, the engine settles into a muted burble.

Performance with sensibility. A wagon for all men and women and children and dogs. Only quicker. But is the R8 (from $271,000), for example, a better buy when it comes to oneupmanship?

Audi RS6
Audi RS6
Audi RS6
Audi RS6
Audi RS6
Audi RS6
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