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Audi RS 6 Avant

Motoring Review

Audi’s RS6 super-wagon is here

AUDI'S midlevel executive sedans, the A6 and A7 models to be exact, were recently given a mild facelift not so long ago. Here at Autodealer we got to drive the updated A7 Sportback 3.0 litre biturbo diesel. We also got to drive the entry level A6 model which features a peppy 1.8 litre turbocharged engine. Now as good as what these cars are, they are but distractions compared to the Audi S6, which I recently found myself piloting.

Audi’s "S" range of vehicles offers customers a near-perfect blend of performance and everyday usability. Unlike its somewhat demonic "RS" counterparts, the "S" range will make people look twice, thanks to their subtle sporty design elements that have been added to garnish the car’s exterior and interior ever so slightly.

The S6 for example can easily be confused for being a normal diesel model. Sure, it features some special wheels and bumpers but so does the S-Line kit, which can be added to just about every Audi. Now I’m not complaining about the subtitles at all, I like them. Our test model was finished in black and featured the brand’s high tech Matrix LED lighting system, a chrome grille, chrome window surrounds as well as a set of large 20-inch Audi sports rims. Apart from the massive brake disks and the odd S-badging here and there, one would simply glance past this car, until you start it up, that is.

Under the hood resides Audi’s brilliant eight-cylinder, 4.0-litre, BiTurbocharged engine. This motor is used in its RS cars as well as in a few Bentleys. It is so versatile and the different power deliveries it offers are vast. In the S6 though, power has been set to 331kW – 22kW more than before - and 550Nm at just 1 400rpm. The S6 will sprint from standstill to 100km/h in around 4.6 seconds. This is due to the combination of that engine, Audi’s acclaimed quattro all-wheel-drive system and its sublime seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox.

On the road, the S6 can be many things, thanks to Audi Drive Select. This feature gives you the choice to select different driving modes, all of which make a big difference to the car’s feel. Comfort does what the name suggests… it softens the car up and quietens it down. Gear changes happen quickly, allowing you to waft along. Other modes include Efficiency mode, which puts the car’s climate control into a low power state and it also enables a coasting function. This function disconnects the flywheel when the throttle is not in use, allowing the car to free-wheel down hills or even in parking areas. Once you touch the throttle or the brake, the flywheel engages within milliseconds. However, it is the Dynamic mode which I like.

This mode makes full use of the car’s sporting characteristics and unleashes that twin-blown V8. It also sets the suspension into optimal handling mode and it makes use of the optional+. Oh, the exhaust system on this car is a must-have option. It uses wizardry to increase the engine sound and it also amplifies the overrun. This means that you end up via the making-music, by gearing down using the paddle shifters as you come to a stop. Burning unicorn juice has never sounded this good.

Another optional feature to be found in the S6 is the Sports Differential. In layman’s terms, this sophisticated piece of German engineering enables the vehicle to turn into corners even more spontaneously and directly, minimizing the effects of understeer.

Do I have any issues with the S6? Well, not particularly with the S6 itself, but with Audi. It does tend to hold on to a model for a long time. Sure, they add some new bits here and there but ultimately all look the same. Now on the other hand, one might argue the fact that there is nothing wrong with that. I mean, yes, the interior is getting on in years now, but it’s so well built and so simplistic. It is our need for constant change that’s the real issue.

I really enjoyed driving the S6. Yes, it will cost you close on R1.2 million with some added extras, but caution with the options list is advised. I admire the fact that it has a split, sadistic personality. It is understated and passes under the radar. Sometimes you even forget what it is, well, that is until the need for speed arises. I suggest that you drive around with some wet wipes.

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