Quiet prowess

Design changes in the Audi RS6 make it look more aggressive and its tailgate opens up to a spacious boot.
Design changes in the Audi RS6 make it look more aggressive and its tailgate opens up to a spacious boot.ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
Design changes in the Audi RS6 make it look more aggressive and its tailgate opens up to a spacious boot.
Design changes in the Audi RS6 make it look more aggressive and its tailgate opens up to a spacious boot.ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN

Audi's supercar-rivalling RS6 Avant is a little classier after a facelift

If the Mercedes-AMG GT S is brash, loud and in your face, the Audi RS6 Avant is exactly the opposite.

The RS6, in all its facelifted glory, matches the GT S across almost every aspect of its performance spectrum. But it has the ability to be both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and is thus a much more usable car in Singapore.

Like the GT S, it is powered by a 4-litre V8 forced-fed by two turbos. Mated to an eight-speed gearbox (instead of the Mercedes' seven), it sends 560bhp and 700Nm of torque to all four wheels (instead of only the rear).

This allows the bigger and heftier RS6 to accomplish the century sprint in 3.9 seconds (0.1 seconds shy of the GT S) and a top speed of 305kmh (5kmh off the Merc's mark).

Of course, you will need to borrow one of Changi Airport's runways to prove - or disprove - these figures, but on the road, the Audi feels every bit as quick and fast as the Mercedes.

The beauty is that the RS6 delivers the speed and acceleration in a much more friendly manner. The throttle is light and linear, and hence completely predictable.


  • Price: $544,300 with COE

    Engine: 3,993cc 32-valve V8 twin-turbocharged

    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 560bhp at 5,700rpm

    Torque: 700Nm at 1,750-5,500rpm

    0-100kmh: 3.9 seconds

    Top speed: 305kmh

    Fuel consumption: 9.6 litres/100km

    Agent: Premium Automobiles

In Comfort mode, the car provides a thoroughly brisk and breezy commute in the city, with an ability to take things up a notch or two in the blink of an eye.

In this mode, the car's V8 is able to shut down four of its cylinders to conserve fuel. Audi claims 9.6 litres to every 100km (0.2 litres less than the pre-facelifted car), but the test-car - wearing 21-inch wheels instead of the usual 20 - averages 16 litres.

In Dynamic mode, the RS6 picks up the pace noticeably. But it remains as civil and well-mannered as before, dishing out a ballistic performance with the grace of a ballerina.

Despite its size, the RS6 acquits itself well in the ride and handling department, thanks in part to its all-wheel-drive system and adaptive air suspension. It is unshakeable even when going around bends at high speed, losing out to the GT S only in the most insane curves.

Its adaptive steering system (optional) makes the car easier to use across a wide range of speeds, but feels less natural than something similar that BMW offers.

Obviously, the RS6 offers lots of space, comfort and versatility. Its motorised tailgate lifts noiselessly to reveal an enormous boot area. A privacy screen that opens and closes with the tailgate makes life with this full-size Avant quite pleasant.

You get lots of stretching room, even if you are 2m tall and wear size 40 pants.

All these traits make the Audi a far more sensible car than the GT S. But very few people will know that you are driving a high performance car.

Despite all the design cues to its sports car prowess, the RS6 does not have the flashiness that draw small boys and grown women to the GT S in droves.

Those in the know, however, will swoon when the RS6 glides past. In Dynamic mode, the car is also rather vocal. Its repertoire is almost as wide and textured as the Merc's, but it is not as jarring. At least, not to the car's occupants.

Mechanically, the facelift does not change anything. The changes are cosmetic and make the car a tad more aggressive-looking.

They include Matrix Beam LED headlights and tail-lights (with arrow design), a wing mirror that projects the Audi logo onto the floor and a sport exhaust from quattro GmbH with black exhaust tips instead of chrome. It wears Audi's new corporate look, with a more angular and raised grille, and a lower front bumper assembly with gaping intakes on either side that look like they will suck in traffic cones.

Thanks to lower COE prices, the car is about $20,000 cheaper than when its pre-facelift model was launched here 18 months ago. It is also nearly $150,000 less costly than the GT S.

Fortunately for Merc and Audi, it is not an either or situation here. Those who are eyeing the GT S may already have an RS6 in the garage and vice versa.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Quiet prowess'. Print Edition | Subscribe