Vehicle Style: 5-door station wagon
Price: $225,000; $244,140 as tested
Engine/trans: 412kW/700Nm 4.0 litre V8 twin-turbo | 8spd auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 9.8l/100km | tested: Not recorded
The new RS 6 arrived mid-2014, replacing the epic twin-turbo 5.0 litre V10-powered edition that preceded it. But - gulp - it brought less power to the table... 14kW less than the V10 . Not much, but less is definitely not more at this end of the market.
On the upside, it did also bring a huge drop in fuel consumption, some green(ish) tech and a roundhouse twin-turbo V8.
That V8 is lighter, can flatten nearly anything placed in front of it, and is lighter. The latter quality, meaning, hopefully, even better handling for the RS 6 Avant.
So what better way to find out than to hammer it around a track? Then, when the sweat has dried and the mist clears, to point it at the road for a back-to-back, track and road, comparison.
- MMI screen with sat-nav, reversing camera and sensors.
- 14-speaker stereo
- Four-zone climate control
- Heads-up display
- Sports electric memory front seats
Based on Audi's A6, this is an object lesson in how to do a cabin. Big comfortable seats, leather on any surface you're likely to touch, even just once or twice, a big screen, and lots of appealing tactile materials.
Audi interiors are good, but this one raises the bar.
Being the Avant wagon style, there's lots of glass (including in the roof) and a ton of light lifts the greyness of the interior. Lovely aluminium bits and pieces around the cabin go further to lift things.
The dash is terrific in its clarity and the screen between the dials and the big rising touchscreen deliver hi-resolution graphics. It's almost impossible to fault.
There's a ton of room front and back and a big wagon boot to ensure this is not only incredibly fast, but practical (there's no sedan, remember) - this could tip the balance for a family.
ON THE ROAD
- Petrol 4.0 litre V8 twin turbo with direct injection, drive-by-wire throttle and stop start
- 412kW/700Nm 4.0 litre V8 twin-turbo; 8-spd auto, Quattro AWD
- Standard air suspension or optional conventional springs with active dampers
- 21-inch alloys
- Electronic differential lock
There's more than a few features that bode well for track work. When set in 'Dynamic' mode, eighty-five percent of the V8's towering grunt is sent to the rear wheels.
There's also optional variable steering that ensures your hands are never off the steering wheel.
Naturally, all that power spends a lot of time being directed at the tarmac. It's a fantastic feeling getting the car straight and mashing the throttle - the RS simply hunkers down and heads for the hills.
And should you barrel it into a corner, those huge 285 tyres wrapped around 21-inch wheels give great confidence and grip. Assisted, of course, by the superb quattro AWD system.
When 'on the hammer' on the track, what is most extraordinary (after the engine, obviously, oh yeah, and the grip...) are the gigantic standard-fit 19-inch alloy brakes with six-pot calipers up front. They are galactically powerful.
It took many, many laps for the pedal to soften but the stopping power was barely affected. Stomping on the optional ceramic brakes must be like crashing into a wall.
Audi has also ensured that not only does the RS 6 have a strong visual presence - pumped guards, huge wheels, striking LED lighting - but when in dynamic mode the exhaust barks loud enough to shatter windows. It's brilliant.
But is it a good track car?
The answer is a qualified yes. But it's a big beast - and 1935kg means that direction changes aren't as sharp as the M5, which is in itself a more-focussed proposition.
It will want to push wide and there is a small amount of body-roll as all that weight switches sides.
Once settled, you can get on with the business of getting your line right, but you have to concentrate or you'll miss the apex. Don't get greedy, in other words.
It is impossible however not to enjoy this car and its ability to hammer its immense reserves of power to the tarmac. With 700Nm waiting to be let off the leash, the RS 6 is one hell of a bruising cruiser.
But you don't need to feel you're riding a bull.
Out on the road, it can be as cool and calm as you want it to be . Switching out of Dynamic, this could be any A6, although the optional RS suspension is busier on-road than the standard air suspension.
Despite having that incredible engine, it's so easy and flexible that you can rumble along fairly anonymously.
It is, however, difficult to be anonymous in this car. It is much more at home on the road inhaling hatchbacks and destroying over-eager yobbos wanting to prove to you how fast their home-modded WRX is.
With a 0-100 time of 3.8 seconds, it'll blow just about anything away off the line and in the gears could tow a 747 into the air.
Most of the time, you can almost call it quiet and composed - if the gutteral rumble of all those straining horses could ever be described as "composed". But if you want to your neighbours to take note, just switch the exhaust to 'Sport' and frighten passers-by with a sneaky downshift.
ANCAP rating: 5 Stars
Safety features: Eight airbags, ABS, brake assist, brake force distribution, traction and stability controls, engine braking control.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The RS 6 Avant is an absolute monster and it will get under your skin pretty quickly, in a good way.
While the track uncovers some weight shortcomings compared to a certain German rival, it's the better machine on the road.
And, well, let's face it, isn't that where most of us spend one hundred percent of our 'car time'?
It's big, it's heavy, but it is blindingly quick and will leave you and your passengers breathless.
The RS 6 Avant is an astonishingly complete muscle car.
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