AOL Cars' Road Test of the Year: Audi RS6 Avant


AOL Cars' Road Test of the Year: Audi RS6 Avant

Things take a turn for the surreal in this penultimate installment of our Road Test of the Year, with an estate car boasting enough space to transport a chest of drawers, yet boasts enough power to give Ferrari drivers nightmares. It can only be one car: the Audi RS6. Videographer Nigel Swan (@motoringnut) is your guide.

Switching to a pen from a video camera can sometimes have its downsides - the biggest being whenever a sporty little number rocks up, when I'm normally relegated to a toothless estate or lumbering MPV to 'carry the kit'.

So, when the RS6 arrived, it was refreshing to get behind the wheel of something with a decent boot and some serious oomph. And when I say oomph, I mean this £90k estate is a supercar slayer. From a standing start it will hit 60mph in under four seconds and keep going to a limited top speed of 155mph - 189mph with the limiters off. If the winner was picked on brute force alone, then the Audi would walk it.

But it isn't.

The roads around the Brecon Beacons are almost as famed for weeding out handling imperfections on performance cars as they are for suicidal sheep.
And after Day One, the general consensus was that the RS6 was better suited to autobahn-bashing than agile handling.

That's not to say the RS6 can't cope with twisty roads. Far from it. Audi's famous quattro four-wheel drive gives bags of grip, while sharp, well-weighted steering matched with an eight-speed tiptronic paddle shift gearbox means you can place the car perfectly and power through the bend, but you find there's a lot of gear- changing, especially on the roads around the Beacons.

Ultimately, the RS6 feels a little overweight for this kind of driving. Where some of the other cars such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Porsche Cayman S danced through the corners, the Audi seemed to batter its way round, relying on the 550hp from its 4.0-litre V8 to pull it through the bends.

There's no doubt that there are few cars with such an extreme Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute it's a comfortable family estate, safe and sensible.

However, switch everything into sport mode and it becomes a completely different animal.

The throttle response is quicker, the steering is sharper and the ride considerably firmer. There's no other word to describe the acceleration - it's brutal.

AOL Cars' RTOTY: Audi RS6 Avant

AOL Cars' RTOTY: Audi RS6 Avant

The old RS6, powered by the same engine in the Lamborghini Gallardo, was brutal, but with the new one, it feels put together in a much neater, more controllable package. At times it's hard to remember you're actually driving an estate car.

I've got to say, I'm not massively enamoured by its styling. Yes, the slightly beefed-up wheel arches and 21-inch alloy wheels give it a more muscular stance and it sits lower than the standard A6 to give better handling but, to the untrained eye, there isn't much to tell it apart from the standard model.

As an all-rounder, the RS6 ticks most of the boxes. It's extremely practical thanks to its big boot, it's not crippling to run thanks to every fuel- saving technology in the VW group arsenal, and as for performance, nothing here could touch it.

Audi RS6 Avant

Price: £91,450 (as tested)
Engine: 4.0-litre, V8, twin-turbocharged, petrol
Power: 550bhp, 699Nm
Max speed: 155mph (limited)
0-60mph: 3.7s
MPG (combined): 28.8
Emissions: 229g/km