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Audi gets its RS in gear

Ingolstadt’s fastest wagon, the Audi RS6, just got even quicker. But Mark Hedley asks if it's the best performance estate on the market

"Get it to make the roary noise again, Daddy!”

“Just takeover them, Daddy!”

“Wheeeeee!”

Here are three profound insights into the new Audi RS6 Avant – courtesy of my three-year-old daughter. Who, it turns out, is an unapologetic speed freak, finely tuned V8 aficionado, and an incorrigible back-seat driver.

Sadly, this might be as eloquent as this particular auto review gets. But I’ll do my best to explain the appeal of Audi’s latest performance estate in at least a little more detail.

The lowdown

When it comes to all-things-to-all-people appeal, few cars tick the boxes more efficiently than an Audi RS6 Avant. There’s bags of room, satchels of smarts, and more power than your average Porsche. You can drive it forever – or like there’s no tomorrow; be a chauffeur or a racing driver.

For the latter, there’s the RS button that selects the two hairier driver modes. The RS options make everything red and scary, and remind you of what’s under the hood – a stonking 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 unit. (It even has a mild hybrid system, to help ease your conscience. A tiny bit.)

The performance

This thing is mighty fast. It’s 592bhp fast. When I first started in journalism 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to drive the mighty Pagani Zonda supercar. It went from zero-60mph in 3.6 seconds.

This estate, with its five doors, brace of kids and a boot full of luggage can go from zero-60mph in… 3.6 seconds. Bonkers. The almighty V8 is given a helping hand to hit this figure from all-wheel drive. And when it comes to the corners it even has rear-wheel steering, too.

If you go full Vorsprung, you’ll be loaded with RS sports suspension, Dynamic Ride Control, a 174mph top speed and a panoramic glass sunroof.

No corner can phase this car: no matter how indelicate you are, it stays planted and unphased.

The noise from those chunky tailpipes is good, very good. But even in full hooligan mode, I actually don’t think it’s loud enough. I am – like my children, it turns out – a huge fan of the “roary noise”. And if I have one complaint about this car, it’s that when you are giving it some beans, it’s still on the quiet side (relatively speaking).

But I’m sure for those of more refined tastes, this won’t be an issue. Perhaps even a bonus.

The looks

This is no run-of-the-mill A6 with some extra air intakes thrown on. In fact, only the roof, front doors and rear hatch have been borrowed from the standard car. Everything else has been beefed up, jacked up and pumped up.

Its looks are so aggressive that it needs to be enrolled in an anger management programme. Or at the very least, employed as an evil character in a manga comic strip.

It’s such a rear-view mirror menace that most people either swerve out of your way or try to take you on… and lose.

Inside, the quality is exactly as you’d expect – and then some. Namely, there’s a sportier steering wheel and gear selectors to let you know you’re in something a little more special.

It’s still perhaps a little conservative for my tastes, but then this is an Audi – there are certain standards which must be upheld.

The verdict

A BMW M5 might offer a slightly more focused drive, but it doesn’t come as an estate.

A Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo might bring you more caché, but it will take more of your cash.

And a Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S Estate might pack more power, but it also might make you poop yourself.

Which leaves the RS6 – the consummate all-rounder, and the category’s MVP.

For more information, see audi.com

 

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