- Advertisement -
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Home News Cars Vader's wild wagon: Audi RS 6 Avant review

Vader’s wild wagon: Audi RS 6 Avant review

Sometimes a lack of choice isn’t a problem writes Jason Saundalkar following his time with the fourth generation RS 6 Avant

It’s not a stretch to say that we love our cars in the UAE. That obsession, plus a healthy per capita income and access to finance mean that, often, whenever a new car goes on sale, it’s barely a day before you see several examples on the roads. There are a few exceptions: multi-million dollar hypercars aren’t as visible in this market as they are in Monaco and, joining that rarified crowd in the UAE are performance wagons.

At the last enthusiast meet I attended (pre-pandemic), I saw several McLarens, Ferraris and Lamborghinis but just one third-generation Audi RS 6. It looked good and as I’d been fortunate to have experienced a couple of hot laps and some drive time in one in 2015, I knew it could perform. I also remember that car being supremely comfortable and packing enough carrying capacity for most day-to-day hauling requirements.

But, despite the utter usefulness of wagons and the capabilities of performance wagons, a preference in recent years for high riding crossovers/SUVs and the availability of hot versions of these tall vehicles has exacted a toll on wagon sales – even in car obsessed Dubai, you rarely see wagons or their performance cousins on the roads.

Waning interest means there’s now little choice in this segment – the Mercedes Benz E63 Wagon isn’t on sale in the UAE (as per the brand’s local website at the time of going to press) and, from a more global standpoint, BMW hasn’t even released a M version of its current generation 5 Series wagon (though the F90 M5 sedan has been on the market since 2017).

What this means is, today, if you fancy a performance wagon in the UAE, your sole choice is the Audi RS 6 Avant. For once though, the lack of choice doesn’t really bother me because the latest RS 6 Avant comes close to performance wagon perfection.

Performance wagons
Once again, Audi is seemingly making a statement in support of performance wagons with its fourth generation RS 6 because, despite what I said earlier about waning interest in this type of vehicle, there’s no sedan on offer. Yes, you read that right, like Audi’s third generation offering, the fourth generation RS 6 is only available as a wagon (‘Avant’ in Audi speak). Audi clearly believes there’s a niche for this type of product and is sticking to its guns, and I think that’s worth applauding.

T&FME’s 2021 RS 6 Avant was dressed in ‘Nardo Gray’ and it screamed special right from the off. On first seeing the car, one quick walk around was all I needed to declare “I’m in love!” The design is cohesive and equal parts sleek, muscular and intimidating, and there’s simply not a bad angle to view this vehicle from (the side profile is my favorite). Although this car belongs to the A6 family, Audi points out that the only carry over exterior parts from the standard A6 are the roof, front doors and tailgate.

Francesco D’Amore is the man responsible for the exterior design of the RS 6 Avant and on the brand’s press website, it states he is a Star Wars fan and that he likened the car to Darth Vader. I get it.

Adding to the car’s already sinister look was the optional ‘carbon/glossy black appearance package’, which included black roof rails, a plethora of glossy black/carbon RS parts on the car’s front bumper (RS 6 badge, centre grille, side radiator intakes), as well as the rear (badge, black tipped RS oval exhausts, carbon rear diffuser, glossy black faux grille).

The car was also fitted with the optional 22-inch 5-V-spoke trapezoidal style, Matte Titanium Gray, diamond-turned rims and mated to low profile 22-inch rubber. The wheels are fantastic to look at and filled the wheel arches perfectly. The rims also provide suitable housing for massive, cross-drilled RS steel brake discs and finished in red (optional extra) calipers. Those front calipers are massive 10 piston grabbers, which hint at just how much performance this wagon packs. Opting for the ‘dynamic package plus’ will add much pricier carbon-ceramic brakes but will also unlock the car’s top speed of 305km/h. With the steel brakes, it’s electronically limited to ‘only’ 251km/h.

Menacing on the outside, palatial on the inside…
The RS 6 Avant’s interior was beautifully appointed and exudes quality. The T&FME tester featured the ‘valcona leather package with honeycomb stitching’ and the entire cabin was dominated by brown-cognac, black and gray colors, which contrasted beautifully with each other. Sitting in the car and having a bit of a look and feel around, all the touchpoints felt premium and despite the tester having nearly 14,500km on it, there were no squeaks or rattles on the go at all.

The driver’s leather sport seat featured memory functions and was comfortable to sit in for hours at a stretch – the cooling function was particularly welcomed, given that the test period took place in early August, when humidity was at its absolute worst.

The AC system also did a good job of maintaining comfort levels in the car, though it does take a while to blow cold air after the car has been sitting in the sun for a while. And, despite the fact that this is a ‘RS’ vehicle, you even get soft close doors and acoustic glass for the doors and side windows, both of which amp up the vehicle’s luxury/comfort.

Like the S8 I reviewed last summer, the RS 6 Avant packed a plethora of luxury and convenience features that make living with and using the vehicle a pleasure. You get adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and blindspot monitoring technology and, thankfully, Audi has equipped the long roof RS 6 with a 360-degree camera as standard. This made getting in and out of tight spots easy – you’ll never have to worry about scuffing those gorgeous rims against a kerb or rubbing up against another car’s bumper, while parallel parking what is a long car (16.3 feet from end-to-end). That length gives you a significant amount of second row legroom and boot space at 565 litres. The latter means you’ll be able to accommodate your shopping or luggage for five with ease.

The only minor gripe I had with the interior had to do with the cupholders. They aren’t the biggest which meant I couldn’t get my phone to stand in them, nor could I get my glass-bottled energy drink of choice into them. The tensioners also exert quite a bit of force on whatever you do manage to get in the cupholders, so you’ll have to be careful getting them out if they have an open top. I can see why Audi has opted for these tight tensioners though – taking one corner aggressively on a spirited drive, my iPhone shot out of the cupholder and into the passenger footwell.

…And a monster on the road
The 2021 RS 6 Avant features the familiar small block, 4L twin turbo V8 with a 48-volt belt alternator/starter mild-hybrid system and cylinder-on-demand technology. It belts out a potent 591hp and 590lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed ZF gearbox, which drives Audi’s quattro system with a self-locking centre differential.

The Quattro system features a standard power split of 40% to the front wheels and 60% to the rear but it can send as much as 70% of the engine’s torque to the front, and as much as 85% to the rear when needed. As standard the RS 6 Avant also features progressive steering and RS tuned adaptive air suspension.

On the road those components work together to create one heck of an asphalt destroying monster. Despite the nearly 2.2 ton weight, the RS 6 Avant, with launch control, will deliver neck snapping acceleration – Audi claims it’ll do the 0-97km/h dash in 3.6 seconds but I’m sure it’s even faster than that. In fact, a quick look online confirms several testing sites with timing gear have clocked the car doing the dash in a barely believable 3.1 seconds.

The powertrain is supremely capable – put your foot down even at 120km/h and the car will surge forward with serious authority. Needless to say, overtaking barely requires a thought and if you do need to scrub speed in a hurry, those massive brakes do a fantastic job of bringing the heavy Avant to a stop.

Thanks to the Quattro system, tuned air suspension and reasonably wide rubber, the RS 6’s talents aren’t limited to straight line performance either. You can attack corners quite aggressively and Audi even seems to have dialed out the understeer that I noticed on the third generation RS 6 Avant. I reckon the vehicle’s trick differential and Quattro system are to credit for this transformation, though, sadly, the steering still doesn’t give you much feel for the road surface.

As capable as my RS 6 Avant was with the options it was spec’d with, if you want something that takes away some of the car’s comfort but amps up grip, stability and responsiveness (useful if you’re hitting the track often), you can opt for steel coil springs and advanced three-way adjustable dampers.

Where I was left wanting for more was with engine noise in the cabin. Whereas the last RS 6 Avant featured less aggressive looks, the sweet racket emanating from that twin turbo V8 could be heard in the cabin as it popped, banged and drank petrol every time you got aggressive with the throttle. With this fourth generation RS 6 Avant however, the engine is quite muted in the cabin, and even with the windows rolled down, it seemed to lack that outright aggressive character of its predecessor. I suspect it’s all in the name of fuel saving but I miss that audible aggression.

Speaking of fuel saving, the engine’s cylinder-on-demand technology, eight speed transmission and mild hybrid system do give you decent economy if you aren’t driving like your pants are on fire – I was able to do about 490km on a full tank of petrol in mixed city/highway driving coupled with the odd blast. That’s not bad at all for a nearly 2.2-ton performance wagon with 591hp.

Verdict: The king is dead, long live the king!
Audi has done a fantastic job with the fourth generation RS 6 Avant. I reckon it’s the best-looking performance wagon the brand has ever produced and, even without the top options, it’s a capable steer with performance and handling that’ll embarrass a fair few performance vehicles on sale today. And it’ll do this whilst cosseting you in luxury and comfort. The as tested price on the T&FME RS 6 Avant is a significant AED 579,000 but I’ve already justified the purchase in my head. Time to ask for a raise.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Most Popular

Announcing: The Truck & Fleet Awards 2022

November was a busy month for the Truck & Fleet Middle East team. With the cooler weather came a raft of announcements and launches,...

Nissan Ariya makes its regional public bow at #NOFILTERDXB

Nissan’s all-electric crossover, Ariya, has made its first public apperance in the region during #NOFILTERDXB. The Nissan Ariya showcase was powered by Arabian Automobiles, the...

Mercedes-AMG G 63 fronts multimillion dollar motorcade in Dubai

A multi-million dollar motorcade of more than 200 supercars, motorbikes, and custom cars through the steets of Dubai Harbour, JBR and JLT took place...

IEM opens new state-of-the-art MG Showrooms in Sharjah and Al Ain

Inter Emirates Motors (IEM), a subsidiary of Ali & Sons Holding LLC and MG's official distributor in the UAE, has opened two new showrooms...

Related News

Announcing: The Truck & Fleet Awards 2022

November was a busy month for the Truck & Fleet Middle East team. With the cooler weather came a raft of announcements and launches,...

Nissan Ariya makes its regional public bow at #NOFILTERDXB

Nissan’s all-electric crossover, Ariya, has made its first public apperance in the region during #NOFILTERDXB. The Nissan Ariya showcase was powered by Arabian Automobiles, the...

Mercedes-AMG G 63 fronts multimillion dollar motorcade in Dubai

A multi-million dollar motorcade of more than 200 supercars, motorbikes, and custom cars through the steets of Dubai Harbour, JBR and JLT took place...

IEM opens new state-of-the-art MG Showrooms in Sharjah and Al Ain

Inter Emirates Motors (IEM), a subsidiary of Ali & Sons Holding LLC and MG's official distributor in the UAE, has opened two new showrooms...

Dubai Police adds ‘luxurious’ Cadillac CT5 to fleet

Dubai Police has expansed its exclusive fleet of premium vehicles with the addition of the "luxurious Cadillac CT5, with the safety and security of...
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here