Audi RS6 – The Supercar Pretense


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‘?!?!?’

That is how you feel when you get behind the wheel of an Audi RS6 for the first time. Your brain gets confused in a flurry of emotions at the insane amount of G force this car generates under acceleration, and before you know it, you’re doing speeds which some would term it as “a danger to the society”. You can’t fathom what the engineers were thinking when they decided that a 4.0L twin turbo V8 under the hood is what a humble “Station Wagon” really needs. The last time I felt this way in a car was when I drove a C63 AMG. My brain was equally confused about the engineering purpose and logic behind a 6.2L V8 in a 4-door commuter car. The only plausible explanation is “because they can”; and the same logic applies here. Someone at Audi must have thought of this car as an April fool’s joke for Lamborghini; and aren’t we glad they ended up building it.

Still didn’t get the gist?

Yes! It’s a station wagon. Yes! It’s got a twin turbo V8 producing 560 horsepower and 700Nm of torque! (A figure elusive to the hard bred supercars not even a decade ago.) And yes this engine really can propel this 2-ton car to a 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds (we tested it and it was much faster than this company claimed figure) and go on to hit the 200 km/h mark in further 8 seconds, for what practical or entertainment purpose only known to Audi. Have no doubt, this is a fast car, a really fast car. Audi restricts the propulsive power of this car from taking it beyond 250 km/h, but rest assured, uncorked it can hit north of 300 km/h without breaking a sweat. I don’t advise you trying to hit either of those figures but if you are in the mood to ignore my advise which I’m pretty sure you would be at the first tap of the throttle, Audi will very gladly co-operate with you and help you reset the limiter to either 280 km/h or 305 km/h depending how much you are willing to quench their thirst for selling optional extras.

 That’s a lot of figures, but what does it mean out in the real world?

That means that in the RS6 you can out accelerate a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo, any Porsche on the cheaper side of a 911 Turbo etc. etc. The list keeps going on. This impressive feat is courtesy of the famed Audi Quattro AWD system coupled with the Launch Control. The two work in a perfectly choreographed synchronisation to help the car get off the line without the usual tire spinning drama.

Surely it is fast then, but what does it have for the enthusiast in us?

Well that’s the best bit. Since it’s a turbocharged motor its ECU can be re-programmed to alter engine characteristics and boost peak performance. I recommend using the help of tried and tested remaps like those available from Revo Technik or APR. Remap done, add an after market downpipe to a compatible exhaust and you will have the engine generating power figures north of 700hp. Then, it can be your preferred weapon of choice should you happen to encounter a proud Ferrari F12 owner at a red light. Don’t believe me that it can possibly out drag a Ferrari with more than 750 horsepower? Sure, don’t. It’s indeed an outrageous claim, but I suggest you do watch its near identical mechanical twin shatter your belief below:

 

 

So, a well worked-on RS6 can generate 700hp? No, it can do even more. With a bit more modifications in terms of bigger turbos, better intercoolers, bigger injectors, a new map for support and of course a few less body panels to accommodate these, you are likely to cross the 1000hp mark with this multiple award winning monster of an engine; I am sure you have it figured out what I am going to say next, yes, with the F12 in the bag there’s only a select few game left to be hunted.

That’s really fast in a straight line but is it any good when you to take it to a track?

Can you even take a “station-wagon” to a racetrack and expect to come out smiling at the end of it all? Well, Audi India helped me experience the “station-wagon” on a track by inviting me to one of its events at BIC. Was I smiling at the end of it all? Yes I was but it wasn’t an ear-to-ear smile. The car left me smiling mainly because it isn’t at all as appalling as I was expecting it to be on a track. It is a bit confusing though. It accelerates out of corners like a mad man, with tons of grip holding itself right in the place you want it to be, but going into a corner is where things don’t turn out so well. It is then that you start to realize the limits of this car, which until now had a God like unfaullted personality. Initially the steering feels almost completely devoid of any natural feedback coming from the tires and you are left at the mercy of the electronics to figure things out and keep you from hurting your ego. However, once you start getting used to the forced feedback coming from the electronic weighing up of the steering to counter the lack of natural feedback, it doesn’t feel that bad at all, but at the same it isn’t much confidence inspiring either. Mental Note: You should NOT be trying to set/break lap time records in a “station-wagon”; it is not purpose-built enough. The brakes on the other hand are fantastic, even without the carbon ceramic option. The Initial bite is left a bit wanting and demands you to adjust yourself to the pedal feel and the dead travel but all this aside the RS6 can stop on a dime. Super impressed with the brakes. The gearbox felt a bit slower to react to the gear changes than the DSG boxes, but please remember, here the slower gearbox isn’t exactly slow, its quick, in fact it is miles ahead of the flappy paddle boxes. The suspension in comfort mode is butter smooth even with the 21inch wheels and a joke of a sidewall that came specced on the test car I got. It is amazingly forgiving for it to be used as a daily drive, but what we are concerned here is the track worthiness of it. Just a turn of a knob lets you completely alter the characteristics of the car. Put it in dynamic mode and it will let you know how incapable engineers in India are for laying a flat road. However, this is good news for the track. Stiffness of this sort really helps this car corner somewhat flat, but that still isn’t enough to compensate for the weight this car carries with it. Light and agile is the way to go for track purposes and this car is anything but light and agile.

Audi RS6 ASE

 

Overall in terms of dynamism on the track the RS6 is good and likeable to some extent, but just not at home on a racetrack. It feels like it will go around a track fast just because you would command it to, but given a choice it would rather prefer that you continue to drive it straight and take it gently round the corners. Even after this what was really surprising to me was the fact that the RS6 still felt much more dynamic and planted round the track than the RS7. Something about having the weight of the station-wagon on the rear axle probably made the car feel better than the lift-back version in the RS7 that felt a lot more lively at the back, and not in a good way either.

 

But is it soothing to the eye?

Looks are always subjective! Personally I love the design cue of this car. The exterior of the car is really sharp, as sharp as a station wagon can get. Viewed head on, the extra width of the car due to the flared wheel arches instantly grabs attention and makes it look like it means business. If you see this coming up in your rear view mirror, don’t even think twice; just get the hell out of its way. The rear is just like any other station wagon, save that sneaky spoiler and a mean looking diffuser enough to inform people following it of its intentions. The quad exhausts neatly tucked away in two big round integrated tips in the rear bumper act as a warning, which says, “Don’t even think about it!” to any fool trying to overtake it.

On the inside it has Lap timer with a boost gauge, HUD, a nice and thick padded flat bottomed steering wheel among the many creature comforts that are expected of something with sporty intent. The design lines are from the A6 (which is not a bad thing at all) with uprated trim quality levels to justify the RS badge. The bucket seats are an impressive addition over the A6 and its ability to hug you tight in the corners is quite useful for a car this fast. Overall, it’s a really nice place to be. You also get a few options for audio like Bose and B&O, but honestly spend that money to get an aftermarket exhaust and enjoy the melodious V8 engine soundtrack instead.

The main USP of the car is its practicality for the kind of performance it offers. It’s got a really airy cabin and a huge boot, one, which with the rear seats folded down gives you access to 1,680 liters of load space. This means that you can move your entire wardrobe from your ex-girlfriend’s place back home, and out run her new boyfriend in his Ferrari while you’re at it. Ah! sweet karma.

 

All praises for the car then?

Not really, it’s got its problems too but you’ll really have to be picky. I for one don’t like the Carbon Fiber trim on the interiors; I would prefer that they gave the A6/S6 gear knob instead, and that they could have avoided making nearly everything on this car an optional extra; but then honestly when you are going this fast all the time your brain loses the capability to multi task and spare its thoughts on bits and pieces like these. In the end I just couldn’t care. There is one more thing that may be a problem; for a car it’s price and the power it generates, most buyers in the Indian market may think that its shape is probably not right. But then who decides what is right and what is wrong; it’s a subjective opinion and I for one love it.

Audi RS 6 Brochure

So in the end what exactly is the RS6 about?

It’s not an out and out track car for sure but it does accelerate incredibly fast, has massive brakes and a very technical AWD system. It doesn’t have the eccentric flair either which is definitive of a supercar, yet it can humiliate most of them. It is not priced with the sort of cars that one would use daily but it does all the jobs that you would ask of your daily drive to do. So what exactly is it? What is its purpose? Is it an anomaly then?

The closest comparison of this car that I can think of is a well brought up pet dog. Hear me out! Just like a pet dog it wants to do everything you ask of it to do, it too has its preferences; some tasks are clearly more enjoyable to it than the others, it goes way out of its comfort zone to do things not meant for it to do, it likes to keep its master happy more than itself, a never say no attitude come what may and most importantly it is expressive; you do not understand it at first but soon you develop that close bond with it that doesn’t need a language. You can almost communicate all the time and figure out the message. Think about it, the RS6 is very similar. It does everything you can possibly want it to; it may not excel in everything but isn’t too far off either. It’s a Jack-of-all-trades, and I prefer it that way. It’s a car for people like me. A comfortable and practical, all wheel drive can-be-daily-driven car which is perfect for those occasional family weekend getaways too, and just so happens to have a twin turbo V8 in case you run into a supercar on the way.

It is a man’s best friend!

The picture below sums it up pretty nice!

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