Station wagons are very rare in India and the last time I sat in one was a decade back when someone I knew had bought an Opel Corsa Sail. Before that, I once travelled in a Tata Estate too. I’m one of those few guys who actually likes the shape of a station wagon and mind you, the Skoda Octavia vRS Combi was a personal favourite. However, estates have been getting almost nil demand in India and thus manufacturers have been hesitant in launching them here. However, Audi has taken a bold step and launched the RS6 Avant which is a hot performing station wagon which also boasts of a lot of practicality. We took the Avant for a long run and here’s how it fared.
Much like the Plus models before it, the RS6 Avant Performance gained subtle visual enhancements over the less powerful RS6 Avant. Since the latter was updated for the 2015 model year, the Performance model also received the sharper front grille, the darker chrome finish, and the revised headlamps and taillights that came with the facelift.
Other than that, the RS6 Avant Performance gained only a couple of exclusive features, such as a new set of 21-inch, cast aluminum wheels and the Ascari Blue exterior paint. Speaking of colors, the wagon can be had in ten body paints, including Daytona Gray, Floret Silver, Glacier White, Misano Red, Mythos Black, Nardo Gray, Panther Black, Prism Silver, and Sepang Blue. Additionally, customers will be able to choose between an array of custom paint finished from Audi Exclusive.
If understated was the theme you were going for, this interior would be the dictionary definition. Of course, all the possible carbon fibre trim options gave been selected on this particular car, but if you really wanted to go completely stealth, you could just have the plain black version instead as well. That said, personally, we would have liked to see atleast a bit of red thrown around the car to add some sort of drama to the overall scheme of things. All said and done though, the kind of quality that the RS6 showcases is second to none. And so are the absolutely phenomenal race derived sports seats that you get. As they the most comfortable or the most aggressive seats that we have plonked our butts in? No. but they certainly are one of the best compromises between those two spectrums.
And there is also enough space in the back for three to sit comfortably. Which in our opinion just raises the appeal of this car. Why would you not want to scare the living daylights out of four close friends while they get fooled into thinking this is just another luxury Audi. And the RS6 is perfectly capable of just that, while still carrying your weekend getaway luggage or your doggies in the boot. On the whole then, with the exception of a rather plain design that we have become used to in Audi’s of this segment, the RS6 is a wonderful place to be in.
A word on the mechanicals first. The RS6 Avant features the same engine that powers the Audi RS7. It’s a 4.0-litre twin-turbo, direct injection V8 petrol engine that makes a crazy 553bhp at 5,700-6,600rpm and 71.3kgm at 1,750-5,500rpm. The engine comes mated to an eight-speed torque converter gearbox and power is channelled via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. In typical driving, the front-to-rear power split is 40:60, but depending on the conditions as much as 70 percent of power can go to the front, or 85 percent can go to the rear. There’s torque vectoring too, for added precision.
In a straight line, the RS6 is just manic. There’s no launch control here, but the all-wheel drive system allows for ballistic controlled getaways. Truth is, you can’t tire of the sheer ferocity with which the RS6 builds speed, be it from a standstill or from 120kph. Seriously, thanks to the turbos, almost the entire rev range is the powerband. As a result, explosive performance is never too far. The super quick gearbox also deserves credit here. It shifts gears without any delay, be it in full automatic mode or when operated manually via the paddle shifters or gear lever. The exhaust also adds its share of drama to the proceedings. There’s an ever-present bassy rumble at low revs that builds up to a deep-throated growl at higher revs. At its loudest setting, the exhaust will also bark and pop on gearshifts. Nice!
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The company has given this vehicle the same braking and suspension mechanism, which are available in other models of the Audi’s portfolio. The front axle is equipped with a McPherson strut along with lower wishbones, an aluminum subframe and a tubular anti roll bar as well. While its rear end has a four link suspension with separate spring based shock absorber arrangement, sub frame and a tubular anti roll bar. On the other hand, its front wheels are fitted with a set of ventilated disc brakes, while rear are equipped with a sturdy set of solid disc brakes. This mechanism is further augmented by anti lock braking system along with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist as well. In addition to these, it also has features like energy regeneration electronic stability program, anti slip regulation and other traction control programs. The cabin is incorporated with a rack and pinion based electro mechanic power assisted steering system, which is further incorporated with a speed dependent control. This tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel is quite responsive and makes it easy to handle even in peak traffic conditions.
Talking about after-sales service, Audi has a decently wide spread network across the country and the automaker has been fetching good sales across various cities. The RS6 Avant is also loaded with a lot of safety tech including six airbags, stability control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-sense Plus with Brake Assist and Active Lane Assist, etc.
When a wagon cranks out nearly as much horsepower as a Lamborghini Huracan, you know it means business. If you’re looking for a fast and powerful grocery getter, it doesn’t get any better than this. Sure, the AMG E63 S packs a lot of grunt and it’s equally quick from 0 to 62, but you can’t get cocky about having more than 600 horsepower under your right foot in the Merc.Performance and reasoning aside, the RS6 Avant Performance could also mean the beginning of a new era for Audi. According to its specs, this muscle wagon is a Plus model, but the Germans don’t want to call it that. With the S8 and SQ5 having already received Plus versions, it made sense for all similar models to wear the same badge, but it seems as if Audi wants to either replace the Plus with Performance or use two monikers for the same type of car.