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Audi RS6 Performance: What's That... Review

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I rarely take strong drink. This is because I obviously spend a lot of my time driving and as we know all too well these two pleasures of the flesh don't mix. This is both a blessing and a curse to me. It is a blessing because I don't get to consume much alcohol and it is a curse because I don't get to consume much alcohol.


When I do have a drink however it has to be the real thing. I have never understood the concept of 'low alcohol' beverages. An alcoholic drink should be just that. For example, I really love a brand of cheap Spanish brandy that takes a layer of skin from the roof of your mouth.


I haven't read the label but I believe it to be made from dragon's bile, petrol, some grapes and the essence of Jalapeño peppers. It looks innocuous enough in the glass but it has the ability to blow your socks off, not, in fact, unlike today's car – he said, neatly seguing across to the point - the astonishing Audi RS6 Performance. Herewith, a motor that is 100% Proof.


Coming Over The Hill..


Yet can a car be too powerful for use on Britain's roads? The Audi RS6 Performance offers up a blistering 597bhp; that's 44bhp more than the standard version. It is almost as if Audi don't like to see a niche unfilled, like a porcelain collector filling a tiny space in a display cabinet.


The RS6 Performance is an Avant; that is to say an estate car. It will cheerfully pootle about in Drive / Normal mode carrying luggage and shopping and the family and it will do it in complete security thanks to many safety features and quattro four-wheel drive. It can do all these things but so can many other cars in the Audi range and they will offer considerable more than 18 miles to to the precious gallon.


Is It A Monster?


Yes. The Audi RS6 Performance is no ordinary family motor however. Under the bulging wheel-arches and gym-honed bodywork is a lithe 4.0L V8 with not one, but two turbochargers if you don't mind. Authentic supercars that pull alongside will tremble and think themselves somehow inadequate.


This car will scorch to 62mph in just 3.7sec before eventually going on to an mesmerising 155mph. With the optional Dynamic pack this can be increased to 189mph. No good will come of this in our camera-festooned isles. The Audi RS6 Performance is apparently the fastest production estate car in the world and I won't argue with that.


As mentioned, this big car is about as subtle as a lump hammer. It's a sensory assault with a friendly weapon. It is the automotive equivalent of Cillit Bang: bang! and the road has gone. The performance dominates the experience of driving. In the time it has taken me to type the words 'put your foot down' you would already be driving at above the legal limit. The car weighs two of those foreign metric tonnes, and if I'm honest you can feel the heft as you flick through the paddles on the quiet country roads of England made less quiet by the bull-bellow of this mighty engine through the massive black tunnels at the back. Beginners look elsewhere.


Is It A Monster?


No. Tread lightly and the Audi RS6 Performance is easy to drive at normal road speeds thanks to the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox that shifts quietly and efficiently. It's comfortable too, the suspension adapting to the driver input.


As you would expect from Audi the interior is a masterpiece of good looks, comfort and equipment. All the expected kit is on board in the usual efficient German manner. Nothing that I could think of is overlooked, except perhaps a bumper pack of adult nappies.


To recap, the Audi RS6 Performance Avant is a family car with added bite. Drive it sensibly and it won't let you down either on reliability or safety. Put the boot in and it becomes a terrifying, fire-breathing experience that has to be experienced to be believed. Until that is you hear the cell door slamming behind you as you wave bye-bye to your driving licence.


There is really only one thing to complain about. The hooter. It's embarrassing frankly. There you have this big butch car, the exhaust roaring like one of Daenerys Targaryan's pets, but press the horn and it sounds like a slightly panicked, roller-skating gerbil. Whatever happened to proper air horns that's what I want to know? A quick blast of Colonel Bogey. That's how to shift dithering pedestrians. It'll never happen of course because we might offend and that would never do.


Would I buy this car if I had the money? Yes, in a heartbeat and no, not on your life. It is simply too much car for the UK. Sure, you might find locations where you can dish it out but it won't be long before you lift off with a deepening sense of the blues in more ways than one. The Audi RS6 performance costs £95,000 as tested and you can get the brilliant 4.0L S6 Avant quattro – with its modest 444bhp – for £30,000 or so less. It will still only take you an extra second to 62mph and you'll get another ten miles to the gallon at least.


A special brew all right; a brilliant achievement, a wonderful experience and an impossible dream.


Author: Geoff Maxted

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