With 426kW on tap from the twin turbo 5.0 litre V10, this is comfortably the most powerful car I have ever driven. My previous personal best, also courtesy of Audi, was the relatively feeble 309kW 4.2 litre V8 found in both the RS4 and the R8.
Last year, I was lucky enough to be thrown the keys to an RS4 for a 24 hour test drive. Despite my eagerness at accepting this offer, I was initially underwhelmed. I expected so much, you see. However, after a day with the car, I was pleased to discover it fulfilled all my preconceptions. That said, it still took time. The R8, too, is another car that doesn’t really push you in the back of the seat once you floor the warp speed pedal. The speed is there, don’t get me wrong, but again, it takes time.
The RS6 doesn’t bother with inconveniences such as time and physics. Plant your right foot and you’ll soon find yourself in a parallel universe. The RS6 clearly has a warp speed pedal that works, and it works with devastating effect. As soon as the rush is over you immediately return to planet earth so you can experience that thrill all over again. The power and the subsequent hit of adrenalin are insanely addictive in this car.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the RS6 feels a lot more lively and light on its feet than its 2000+ kilogram weight would suggest. Steering feel through the chunky leather wheel is very good, so one is encouraged to throw all that weight around. In doing so you don’t really get that blunted sense of urgency big cars can deliver. Throw the RS6 into a corner and it sticks. Throw it into the next corner even harder, and it still sticks. It really is fun to drive. The massive brakes, housed under 20 inch alloys, do a sterling job at bringing the car back to normality. Nice to know with all that power at your disposal.
More time was needed to fully judge the various settings offered by the Dynamic Ride Control. Suffice to say, this is one family wagon that will keep almost any car honest. Regardless of the road, and regardless of the conditions.
There were only two negatives to report from my drive. To be fair, they’re pretty minor. The RS6 is only available with a conventional automatic transmission. So, when you do mash the accelerator to the floor there is a slight delay before you set about breaking the laws of physics. That said, upshifts from the tiptronic during full noise are smooth and lighting fast. Perhaps not R tronic fast, but damn close.
Oddly enough, the other disappointment is the engine note. It’s not that the V10 doesn’t sound superb, that was proved beyond doubt with yesterday’s sound bite. Inside the cabin, though, the aural pleasures of the monster V10 are muted more than I would like. It is here you are reminded that this is an estate car after all. So, if you want to hear those 10 cylinders at their best, you’ll need to wait for the R8 V10.
Those points aside, there was nothing underwhelming about this drive. It was far more than I expected. No car I have ever driven has given me the thrill the RS6 delivered. I’m loathe to make the cliched comparisons to sex, but, after handing back the keys yesterday afternoon, I had a smile on my face that lasted well into the night.
In closing then, Audi’s latest RS is as unassuming as it is unrelenting. To look at there can be no denying the car’s German parentage, and yet, it has an engine that makes Italians blush. For example, the engine in Ferrari’s F430 is not even in the same ball park. Still, big power means nothing if the chassis can’t handle it. There are no such problems here. The RS6 is a very special car.
Thank you to Audi Centre Canberra for their assistance.