Amongst all possible car designs, it is the estates that have barely seen success in India. There are many examples to prove that; cars like the Chevrolet SRV, the Maruti Baleno Altura and even the Ferrari FF failed to impress the Indian buyer. Especially when it comes to spending big bucks on luxury cars Indians refuse to look beyond SUVs and Sedans. But Audi isn’t the one to shy away from being different. They got the RS6 Avant to the market at a time when it is the only estate available. According the German car maker the RS version of the A6 Avant is a too many cars rolled into one. Of course it can impress you to the limits with its performance but it also offers ample space when it comes to practicality and also provides an overdose of features when it comes to luxury. Audi will be happy if any of these reasons compel you to buy this mean looking machine. For now let’s take a look at all of these reasons one by one.
Before the RS branding got attached to the name, it was the looks that made the A6 Avant extremely appealing. And the branding hasn’t diluted that one bit; in fact it has added a lot more character to it. There’s another mean Audi from the same family, the RS7 and it is with that sports car that the RS6 Avant shares the engine and even the Matrix LEDs with. The latter of course have been doing wonders for several Audi cars as these headlamps are a great combination of usability and safety. The front bumper and the large air intakes are as sporty as they can get and even the skirting adds a great styling touch to the car. But the front is where the story just gets started because when it comes to the profile and the rear it gets even better. The rear spoiler, the integrated tail lamps, and the twin exhausts all add a lot of character to the car.
Inside the car is as inviting as it is from the outside. The moment you sit on the driver’s seat, a chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel welcomes you. It’s a sports car of the highest quality which means there is ample amount of aluminum and carbon-fibre trimming. Also what makes the RS6 Avant different from the A6 are the sport seats that hold the driver really well. Some other features like the multimedia information system and the dash are similar to a lot of other Audi cars seen in India. On the second row, the high centre tunnel means the middle passenger will have to deal with some discomfort, but the other two occupants will love the space as well as comfort. There’s humongous 1600 litre boot space at its maximum and even without folding the second row, the RS Avant still offers a very impressive luggage space of 565 liters.
Inside the car is as inviting as it is from the outside. The moment you sit on the driver’s seat, a chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel welcomes you.
The RS6 Avant is one of the most powerful Audis in production. It runs on a 4 litre twin turbo V8 Petrol motor that churns out a massive 553 bhp and is capable of reaching a speed of 0-100 kmph in mere 3.9 seconds. There’s an 8 speed torque convertor gearbox that comes with paddle shifters, something every performance enthusiast desires from automatic cars. Just like the RS7 the Avant also has a cylinder-on demand feature. Out of 8 only 4 cylinders operate most of the time, and it helps in saving fuel. This really comes in handy in city driving situations where a lot of power isn’t required. But once you’re on the open road, the RS avant is almost ready to take off. With all cylinders on the go and turbo in force this car is a rocket. The exhaust also adds a lot of drama and comes with settings including that for the sound. Beyond the looks if there’s one thing that makes a lot of heads turn it is the sound. The launch control we recently experienced on the R8 V10 plus would of course have taken things to a whole new level.
Ride & Handling
Audi’s adaptive air suspension along with comfort mode ensures that the RS6 Avant gives a good firm ride. Apart from this, there’s also an option of buyers the car with the sport suspension for varying road conditions. The smart gearbox actually changes the gears a little slower when the car takes on the potholes. Surprisingly the car does decently well even on uneven or unpaved roads. The car handles well despite the estate shape but at the same time, the steering feels heavy and is devoid of any feedback. Even the dynamic setting doesn’t help resolve matters and that’s a bit of a letdown for an otherwise fantastic sports car. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system plays its part in tricky conditions. Instead of the usual 40:60 power split, as much as 70 % of power can go to the front, or 85 % can go to the rear wheel.
The best thing about the RS6 which is not the case with the RS7 that it comes only in an Avant format and there’s no sedan version on offer. This makes the car as exclusive as it can get. The enthusiast may have to compromise with a bit of sporty feel with this car, but if he’s ready to trade it with some great practicality and ergonomics there’s hardly any other sports car that can offer as much as this red beauty. The only downer is price which at Rs. 1.35 crore isn’t aggressive by any means.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars