Luxe

Beauty and the beast

Dhiram Shah | Updated on August 31, 2018

Like a missile: This near two-tonne car goes from standstill to 100 kmph in just 3.7 seconds

Family car to speedster, the Audi RS6 brings a smile to your face

Only a few cars do it all for you. One of them is the 2018 Audi RS6 Avant Performance (abbreviated from RennSport). It’s a car that delivers a staggering 605 horsepower and can still comfortably seat four, while letting you haul shopping bags at the same time.

Built by Audi’s performance division, this wagon fires out 605 horsepower and 700 nM of torque from its eight-cylinder, twin turbocharged 4.0-litre engine. With an eight-speed Triptronic transmission sending all that power to the four wheels, this near two-tonne car moves from standstill to 100 kmph in just 3.7 seconds.

Now that is really fast. To put it in perspective, a Porsche 911 Carrera does this sprint in 4.4 seconds and the race-bred Audi R8 V10 reaches that mark in 3.5 seconds.

The V8 engine also delivers a ghastly (yet good) engine note; on a cold start, it sounds mean. Things only get better from there, as any red line-up shift and a quick down-shift is accompanied by an angry bark or a loud pop that is amplified from the exhaust pipes.

The car was surprisingly docile in comfort mode even in peak Mumbai traffic, more like a limousine tackling speed bumps and potholes of all shapes and sizes without breaking a sweat, while only using four cylinders. On the occasional empty stretches, when I would press the accelerator pedal hard, the rest of the four cylinders would come to life instantly, transforming it into the German missile that it is.

Need for speed

On the expressway, it took no more than three seconds to transform the RS6 Avant Performance from a city cruiser to a corner carver. The shortcut was Audi’s drive select. With a simple scroll of the navigation wheel in the centre console, I put the car in dynamic mode. There was a loud pop from the exhaust note as the car instantly down-shifted two gears. Now the suspension was stiffer, the steering heavier and the throttle response quicker. This RS6 was angrier. Now driving it on the expressway was an exercise of restraint, as the speedometer would easily touch 120 kmph in an instant.

The car packs so much power that except for a race track you would not dare to fully press the accelerator pedal. But the RS6 is not just about straight line speed. Throw it into a turn and the 21-inch tyres provide incredible grip while Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system shuttles torque wherever it’s needed to shoot you out of corners. Once straight, the mighty V8 again roars back into action. With the Quattro at play, despite a heavy downpour we were able to comfortably cruise at 100 kmph while most cars had slowed down considerably. Hour after hour, toll after toll, the RS6 Avant Performance delivered consistent braking, acceleration and handling performance to bring a smile to my face.

Highway or city traffic, the air suspension provided a firm, yet comfortable ride even on Mumbai’s notorious roads. The flat-bottomed steering is nicely weighted and provides good feedback from the road.

Helping the RS6 Avant Performance appeal are its looks. Yes, it has an aggressive stance, swelling front fenders and two huge oval pipes at the back. Along with the fat 21-inch tyres what really catches one’s attention is the signature signal frame grille with Audi’s LED matrix headlights on either side. They give it a rather intimidating stance.

In-car entertainment

From the inside, the RS6 is incredibly spacious and comfortable, with proper seating for four adults. Adding to the practicality is the capacious boot. It offers 565 litres of space with the seats upright and a whopping 1,680 litres with the seats folded flat.

 

The RS performance seats are as comfortable as supportive while hugging you in the right places. Sitting in the cabin makes you feel special — there is leather everywhere with hints of carbon fibre. Technology highlights include a seven-inch high-resolution screen that pops out from the dashboard, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system, four-zone climate control and a phone box that boosts your mobile phone’s reception. Unfortunately, the car makes use of Audi’s dated MMI interface and not the newer virtual cockpit. The former is complicated, lacks Android Auto and Apple Carplay, has a steep learning curve and at times is just frustrating to use. It just puts a huge dent to this otherwise perfect car.

With great power comes great responsibility and the Audi RS6 ticks all the boxes when it comes to safety. You have the usual ABS, EBD, Electronic Differential Lock, ESC and ASR. The massive 483 mm disc brakes counter the beast of the V8 engine and stop the car safely when you want it. Should things go wrong then passengers are protected by eight airbags placed throughout the cabin.

The 2018 Audi RS6 Avant Performance is great at many things. What really makes this vehicle stand out for me is that it encapsulates the best of both worlds. You have the body of a beautiful and practical car with the heart of a muscle car. It’s a car that will tear down a race track and also accommodate just about everyone and everything. Unlike that supercar parked in your garage, you can take your entire family for a joyride in it and not worry about bad roads.

Dhiram Shah is the Mumbai based founder of LuxuryLaunches.com

Published on August 30, 2018

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