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2014 Audi RS 6 First Impressions

Innsbruck, Austria -- There are cars out there that travel at speeds that are, at times, mind-blowing; there are cars that carry an enormous amount of kit and cater and cajole passengers with luxurious amenities and that cannot be slowed down by poor weather or road conditions.

Although I’m likely never to afford an Audi RS 6 Avant, I can say that I have driven one and will always look back to this time, carving Alpine passes, as one of the greatest road trips I’ve ever completed. The Audi RS 6 is the complete package: it has brand power, horsepower, Quattro power, and a powerful look capable of bringing Brock Lesnar to tears.

What is an Audi RS 6?
The RS 6 is the ultimate derivative of Audi’s midsize offering, in wagon form. Unlike past models, the current RS 6 is not available as a sedan. The RS 7 Sportback will tempt those interested in a more conventional RS “sedan.”

Sadly, the Audi RS 6 will not come to the Canadian (or North American) market as interest in station wagons is next to nil, especially one in this price range. Here’s a little dig: Mercedes’ E 63 AMG wagon is obtainable, and it’s really good…

2014 Audi RS 6 Price and Specs
The 2014 Audi RS 6 is the bully of bullies thanks to its twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8. Horsepower output is rated at 560 and torque tips the scale at 516 lb-ft from a low 1,750 rpm.

An 8-speed Tiptronic transmission is the first leg in all that mojo’s journey to all four wheels. The RS 6 is equipped with Audi’s Quattro AWD system. It features a self-locking centre differential that distributes torque fore and aft. Wheel-selective torque vectoring is also part of the equation. An optional rear sport differential accelerates the outside rear wheel in a corner, effectively pushing the car towards the apex.

A tall top-gear ratio, cylinder deactivation, and the use of lightweight materials work in unison to help the RS 6 achieve a combined expected fuel rating of 9.8L/100km.

The German base price for the 2014 Audi RS 6 Avant is €107,900. With a few tasteful options (such as ceramic brakes) the price can climb north of €120,000. If the car came to Canada, the sticker price would likely hover between $90,000 and $100,000.

Driving the 2014 Audi RS 6 Avant
My time at the wheel served only one purpose: to prove that this car is as good (better even) than I expected.

The day prior to driving the RS 6, I refamiliarized myself with the RS 7 and was shocked to notice one decisive difference: All steering components, ratio and assistance (in all modes including Dynamic from Audi’s Drive Select program) are identical save for overall track. Here, the RS 6 has a few millimetres more total width. This is enough to create a large variance. Turn-in is more crisp and immediate. Unfortunately, feedback through the wheel is limited.

The 2014 Audi RS 6’s low V8 burble on start-up sends shivers down my spine. From that come cries of elation as the throttle reaches the firewall. The speed and sound created by this masterpiece of an engine are addictive. Knocking back gears with the wheel-mounted paddles only further increases arousal.

Words can scarcely describe the rush of the RS 6’s accelerative force, but it is such that all manner of cognitive concentration are required to circumvent a fatal mistake. As the revs climb, the boom-boxing of the exhaust’s roar reverberates within the cabin and temporarily numbs the senses. The struggle to return to full consciousness must be won quickly as a rapid pull on the right-hand paddle is necessary to avoid bouncing off the limiter.

Driving this car is an adventure. Thankfully, the saucer-size disc brakes crunch down on momentum ferociously, eliminating the fear of late braking through switchbacks on mountain passes. Furthermore, the Quattro AWD system masterfully keeps the right wheels pushing and pulling, quite literally catapulting the car out of a corner and blasting on to the next hairpin turn.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Audi RS 6 Avant
Of all Audi’s RS cars (and I’m not the only one to think so) the RS 6 is the most devastatingly and devilishly deviant looking. The widened wheel arches, massive wheels, and barn-door-sized grille all make the 6 the most physically shocking of the RS cars.

Draped in matte dark grey, the low and wide 2014 Audi RS 6 caught everyone’s attention. There is no doubt that this is a special car.

Aboard, the RS 6’s cabin borrows heavily from the S6 with a few extra touches such as a flat-bottom steering wheel and slightly more bolstered and aggressive seats. The remainder is as sumptuous as any Audi. Finding a perfect driving position occurs in moments thanks to the multiple adjustments -- not power–operated, which I think is brilliant and is called “weight-saving.”

Comparing the 2014 Audi RS 6
The 2014 Audi RS 6 has only one real rival and it is the Mercedes Benz E 63 S-AMG 4MATIC Wagon. Both these cars have the power to alter the earth’s rotation and make me collapse into a blundering mess of emotions at the very sight of them.

As much as I love the Merc, on looks alone, I’d give up my adopted E 63 and change the logo in my spare garage spot from the three-pointed star to the four rings… That’s my new reality.