DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

AHIGH-SPEED Ger­man au­to­bahn is the per­fect place to stretch the legs of Audi’s latest and great­est.

The two let­ters R and S have al­ways made Audi’s per­for­mance mod­els spe­cial and it’s easy to for­get the bru­tal RS6 is in­deed a wagon.

What in­stantly grabs your at­ten­tion driv­ing the RS6, apart from the body hug­ging seats with their high side bol­sters, is just how much torque is in­stantly avail­able.

Max­i­mum torque is on tap from just 1500 right up to 6250 revs, so it’s avail­able right across the nor­mal driv­ing range.

Squirt the ac­cel­er­a­tor and the rush is there al­most in­stan­ta­neously.

Com­bine that with peak power of 426kW and the RS6 is re­ally spir­ited.

Man­ual shift­ing is done us­ing stubby pad­dles be­hind the flat­bot­tomed steer­ing wheel, but it’s just as easy to leave the RS6 in full au­to­matic mode.

Power is nor­mally split 40 per cent to the front wheels, 60 per cent to the rear via a self-lock­ing cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial.

So there’s much to ad­mire, but it is not per­fect.

You would ex­pect it to be­have very much like a high-pow­ered sports sa­loon thanks to its mam­moth power, quick steer­ing and all-wheel drive.

Yes it has plenty of grip, but plenty of un­der­steer in the cor­ners as well. And there’s no hid­ing that this is a two-tonne car with an en­gine slung be­tween, and in front of, the front wheels.

No ques­tion the V10 is a gem of an en­gine, but per­haps it sounds just a lit­tle too tame and needs a more sonorous ex­haust note. Oh it has a de­cent bark, but it could be so much bet­ter.

The wagon has re­as­sur­ing high lev­els of grip. It has ex­cel­lent wheel con­trol thanks to the clever sus­pen­sion sys­tem that di­ag­o­nally links the shock ab­sorbers by pipes filled with oil.

The driver can se­lect the de­gree of stiff­ness from the cock­pit con­trol panel, from a some­what overly soft (com­fort) to overly hard (sport) with a dy­namic set­ting tak­ing the mid­dle ground.

For a wagon al­most as long as a Q7, the ac­tual load area is above av­er­age, even more with the rear seats folded, but lim­ited by the slop­ing roofline.

Great grip: the Audi RS6 Avant has ex­cel­lent wheel con­trol thanks to the clever sus­pen­sion sys­tem that di­ag­o­nally links the shock ab­sorbers by pipes filled with oil.

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