Audi has once again improved on what we already thought was pure perfection back when the RS6 C6 was launched. After all, Audi has dominated this supercar-slash-station wagon segment after spending decades perfecting its art.
While its non-German rivals have tried to break into the market to stir things up, few have come close to Audi’s success. Maybe they’re just too focused on their sedans and for that very reason, the attention to wagons on steroids just isn’t there.
Enter the Audi RS6 C7 2016 (abbreviated from RennSport), which is also known as the RS6 Avant. Sleek and sophisticated, its understated design disguises the fact that it will leave most cars in its wake on the highway, all the while carrying an entire family in its back. And its performance remains consistent, regardless of whether it’s speeding down a straight quarter mile or winding around a cone slalom course.
Pseudo-supercar aside, the latest version of the RS6 is also a perfect family station wagon that comfortably fits five adults. Its generous trunk can accommodate just about everything — think baby strollers, foldable bicycles, luggage and massive bags of groceries. Clearly, it is a car for the sophisticated buyer who already has a supercar tucked away in his garage, but needs something else that fits other occasions, such as sending the kids to school.
Like a chameleon, this car — on Comfort mode — can tackle curbs and tall speed humps with limousine-like stealth, while using only four cylinders. When switched to Dynamic mode, it transforms into a zippy and sporty drive with eight cylinders.
The design is largely improved with larger rims, a wider body and more apparent details. The matrix headlights are of the latest version — also seen in the A6 launched earlier this year — though slightly modified for a slightly more aggressive demeanour. There’s also a slightly bigger back wing and rails on the roof to accommodate a bicycle rack.
Much thought has gone into the car’s interiors. The version we tested had carbon fibre trim, but other options of piano lacquer and wood are also available. Different leather choices such as black nappa leather are also offered. The seats are comfortable, and accentuate the car’s sporty aesthetic.
There’s a big display that appears on the dashboard when firing up the car. This is the Multi Media Interface — which manages everything from car settings to the GPS — and is easily navigated using either the scroll wheel next the gear knob, or the buttons on the steering wheel. There’s a smaller in-display control center as well, which we’ve noticed in most recent Audis.
The RS6 also comes with a brilliant head-up display which shows information such as speed, engine temperature and the current gear you’re in. GPS is paired with Google Maps, and there’s an option to insert a SIM card for permanent Internet access to the navigation system and media centre.
The car has a few drive settings, but I mostly used the car in Comfort mode, which is perfect for typical everyday Singapore traffic. There are also options to make your ride a lot smoother, such as a function to raise the ride height should you need to go over a bigger hump, à la a Lamborghini. If you prefer to customise your own settings, choose Individual mode, which allows you to tweak them to your preference.
We were impressed by the RS 6’s light steering, and impeccable grip and handling — facilitated by its new air suspension and Quattro four-wheel drive technology. Despite torrential rain as we drove on the highway, we could maintain a cruise of 90kph safely and comfortably while most cars slowed down significantly. This comes as no surprise — since the launch of Quattro, Audi has led the way for grip and handling, especially during bad weather conditions.
The brakes are massive and powerful, making them ideal for the car’s 560hp and 700Nm of torque with a curb weight of two tonnes. The nought to 100kph sprint takes only 3.9 seconds and the stopping distance is equally as impressive.
However, the true soul of the car emerges when driving in Dynamic mode, when all eight cylinders and both turbos are pushed to do what they’re meant to do. At the heart of it is a 4.0-litre V8 engine with double overlaying turbos — borrowed from the Bentley Continental GT — and it’s just magnificent.
On Singapore roads, this car obviously provides more power than needed, so you’ll need to head down to tracks in Malaysia or Thailand to really push this car to its limits.
Our verdict? This is a car that encapsulates the best of both worlds. It’s a speed machine that’s raring to tear down tracks, as well as a family-friendly wagon that will accommodate just about everyone and everything. And it is practical, without compromising on performance. Besides, unlike that supercar parked in your garage, you can take the entire household for a joyride in it.
Give the RS6 a go — I think you’ll be as impressed as I was. In fact, I can’t wait to see how Audi can improve this version.
The RS6 C7 2016 edition can be viewed or tested at Audi Singapore and Premium Automobiles.