Audi RS6 Avant Review
I won't lie. I'm slightly numb as I whack away at the keyboard. My neck hurts a bit, and I'm hyperventilating as I recall the experience. She had power. A whole lot of it. She had presence too. By the bucketloads. She yelled and snarled at me like a wild animal. She wouldn’t maim me, I was sure. The moment I laid eyes on her, I was sure she’d be a handful. Yet, I was sure I wanted all of it. Over the little time we spent together, I discovered the flipside to her angry personality. She was caring. She kept me safe. She announced her arrival in a way fit for kings, and her departure had guys snapping their necks. Hmm, this was good. Very, very good indeed.
The RS6 Avant is exactly all of that. A love-child of a mad hatter RS7 and an A6 estate . Think Casanova meets friendly neighborhood girl. With looks from her mother and power from her papa, the RS6 Avant is like a crazy teenager. Loud, shouty and ever so full of drama. Now, I’ve been in a station wagon before and have also been ferried around in a top-spec Audi. To top it off, I’ve experienced supercar performance too. In a tryst of fate, I witnessed all three - in one go! And boy was it a heck of an experience!
It’s a sensory overload. It really, really is. There’s something for everything - and by the end of it, you’d be left wanting for more. For the first bit, you are utterly confused if you should stand back and adore the thing or get inside and give the throttle some exercise. Once in, you are bewildered again. Enjoy the comfort? Play around with the tech? Give the Bose sound system a run through? Naah. The audio system is fantastic, it’s a shame it is the second best sound the car makes.
Seat and steering adjusted, seatbelt fastened. Foot on the brake, key in the pocket. Press Start. The needles do a little dance. Engine crackles. Slot in Drive. Alright, let’s do this.
Everything else can wait. This needs to be said first. When you look at the RS6, especially in red; with those optional 21 inch wheels - it would be a horrid crime if it didn’t attempt to tear your face off every time you mashed the throttle. Well, good news! It does try to tear your face off, snap your neck and make your eyes watery. The RS6 Avant is a proper maniac. And I mean it in the most respectful way possible. A maniac with a lot of self - confidence. A maniac that has more than enough go, to cash the cheques it’s chiselled design is writing. Taming the RS6 Avant requires rather sharp reflexes. Although, you’d have to be an absolute nut to manage to lose control and push it over the limit. Paradox much? That is what defines this car - to the T.
Stomp on the A pedal and the revs climb like nobody's business. You get pushed violently into the seat. Before you can utter the F - word, the revs have managed to climb past 6 thousand rpm already. Keep the foot hard down on the pedal and the needles do the shimmy once again, upshifting only at the redline. Speeds transcend from double to triple digits in no time. The speeds show up on the heads up display, sparing your neck this time round. Your stomach isn’t spared though. You’d have a knot in your stomach, akin to being in a high speed roller coaster on a downward slope. 3.9 seconds to the ton if you want specifics. The 4.0 TFSI motor pulls and pulls and pulls! The 560HP power figure is quickly dwarfed by the 700Nm of torque that kicks in from as low as 1750rpm and continues all the way upto 5500rpm. There’s oodles of torque. Torque, that is so usable, you just need a small blip of the throttle to have anything that was once in front of you, in your rear view mirror.
The steering looks like a million bucks and is precise. Tucked away behind it are the paddle shifters that let you take charge of the gears. While the 8 - speed torque converter responds instantly to input from the ‘+’ paddle, the downshifts are slightly lazy. When it does downshift however, the RS6 makes a sweet noise. The steering itself though is rather light. A bit too light for a car this size and pedigree to be honest. The car will dive into corners on your command, the over-assisted steering does rob away the feel ever so slightly. Yes, it does weigh up when the speeds climb. It weighs up enough to give you the confidence to push harder in a straight line, but not enough to try and carry that into a bend.
The RS6 Avant we were driving had the optional 21 inch wheels. 285/30 R21 section tyres look like they have been painted on those lovely looking wheels. It gets Audi’s adaptive air suspension too; and it does ride flat. Again, when you chuck the RS6 into a corner, there’s a slightest amount of body roll. It does lean in a bit, but it’s nothing to complain about. It does have the Quattro system with a self locking center diff. It clings on to the road like a leech. But then, there’s that hint of understeer as well.
The solution to all of this? Dynamic mode!! Switch it to Dynamic and it’s like poking an angry rabid dog with a stick - repeatedly. Everything becomes sharper and more responsive; the suspension stiffens up further, the steering weighs up a bit and you get the feeling that the RS6 wants to make you feel sorry for selecting that on the Drive Select. But, it does transform it into a 16 and a half foot jackhammer.
Did I mention it sounds like someone is blending thunder with the sound of a stampede? In simpler words? L-O-U-D! The exhaust note has to be amongst my favorites. The twin turbo V8 does know how to sing the high notes, with the RS Dual Branch Oval exhaust singing the chorus.
There’s a beautiful flipside to this monstrous barge. The flipside is that the RS6 feels like any other big Audi when you aren’t acting like a silly 15 year old with the throttle. The RS6 is surprisingly comfortable for something that is stiffly sprung and has gigantic wheels. Switch it back to Comfort mode and it will relax, even shift up to the 7th or 8th gear and cruise at 100 at a lazy rpm. The light steering becomes a boon while ambling around the city and not to mention, while parking. You then begin to indulge in the comfortable seats and the high fidelity audio system.
This is when you realize that the RS6 mirrors the mood of the guy at its helm rather wonderfully. When you are laid back, it will deactivate half of it’s cylinder and stroll along like a 4 pot. When you give it the beans, it will make sure it returns the favor. The RennSport 6 Avant is definitely a supercar you can live with. Just take care of the low splitters then, will ya?
How’s it like on the inside?
For starters, it’s draped in Alcantara and is majorly black. Some brushed aluminium accents on the knobs and switches and carbon inlays on the dash and the door pads. Minimal. Neat. It is understated, very unlike it’s loud and shouty exteriors. It is familiar territory if you’ve been in any Audi recently. The centre console, the way the buttons are placed, the fit and finish even. Typical Audi fare, not to mention top-notch quality. The centre console houses a screen that folds away into the dash when not in use. This doubles up as the screen for the trademark Audi MMI. The RS6 Avant, like most top-spec Audis, gets MMI Navigation and MMI Touch as standard. This screen is hooked up to the Bose surround sound system. The music output is fantastic, when you are done listening to the V8 symphony that is.
Here’s where the RS6 Avant shines again - deep down, it is still an A6 Estate. And it comes with all the practicality associated with it. The RS6 also gets those lovely RS Sport seats which are contoured ever so perfectly. The seats hug you like your Grandma. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else while going from a nought to a hundred in 3.9 seconds. The seats can be adjusted electronically and get memory function as well.
Seating three at the rear isn’t much of a problem and there are plenty of storage spaces around the cabin as well. The sloping roofline does compromise headroom at the rear, but the rear bench isn’t the seat to be in anyway.
From the driver’s seat, the view is swell. The electrically adjustable steering wheel is a nice and chunky flat bottomed three spoke unit, upholstered in perforated leather. Going lock to lock on the tiny wheel doesn’t take a lot of effort. Although a bigger and slightly heavier wheel would’ve sealed the deal.
The paddles tucked away behind the steering wheel have a brushed aluminium finish and look exquisite. It’s really hard to not enjoy being in the driver’s seat. The RS specific instrument cluster - two big dials house the speedo and the tachometer. The temperature and fuel gauge are tucked away at either extremes of the cluster. It also gets a heads-up display as standard.
The boot? Well, let’s just say it was big enough for our Assistant Editor to have his moment of zen. The hatch opens nice and wide and should be quite useful if you ever decide to go shopping with the Avant.
The sheer practicality of the car is astounding. When you aren’t busy attempting speed runs, the RS6 can double up as the car for that quick getaway to the farm house with the family. It’s got tons of space and will gobble up luggage too. The only estate on sale in India, the RS6 does make a strong case for it’s kind.
How does it look?
If it wasn’t bright red and did not have those monstrous wheels, the RS6 will most definitely blend in the crowd. A white RS6 with silver wheels would not stand out from the crowd. But again, what’s the point of that? Unless you have a liking for sleepers, the bright red color that our test car wore looks absolutely smashing.
It’s amongst the best looking Audis on sale today. Estates have always looked purposeful and utilitarian, not the RS6. The roofline plunges as it goes past the rear door and flows into the rear neatly. The side profile does show off the bulk and the muscle of the car well. One razor sharp line flows along the length of the car and finishes into the tail-lamp.
The flared wheel arches houses the 21 inch wheels. With these wheels, the car looks even more hunkered down than it is; and you can barely get your hand in between the wheel well and the tyres. The stance is spot on. Massive 285 section mean business and look the part as well. The rear is simpler, housing the tail-lamps with the dynamic indicators, a subtle spoiler and a blacked out diffuser on the bumper housing the massive exhausts.
The front houses another Audi trademark; the matrix headlamps. An all LED setup, one needs to see the led turn indicators light up in the direction of the turn in a sequential manner. The LED headlights also eliminates the need for separate foglamps, which explains why there are massive air intakes flanked by carbon fibre trims low down on the bumper. The honeycomb grille with the honeycomb mesh, bold quattro lettering on the lower and an RS6 moniker right next to the Four Rings - it would suffice to say; if anyone sees one of these in their mirrors, they’d make way.
The RS6 Avant is definitely a head turner. It looks like a million bucks, that’s for sure. It is conclusive proof that estates need not look drab and boring.
For starters, it’s got a 1.35 Cr price tag. And this is before you pay for registration, insurance or even begin ticking the options list. Is it justified? Well, there’s nothing more exclusive than the RS6 Avant in the country right now. There’s no direct competition. Mercedes and BMW do not have the E63 Estate and the M5 Touring in their respective Indian line-ups. So there you have it. It looks like no other car on sale in India and can hunt down supercars. That is one heck of a combo!