Monday, November 10, 2008

Audi RS6 gets stupid fast treatment

It seems Audi was getting tired of having sand kicked in its face by the 500 hp V10 BMW M5 and the 507 hp V8 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, so they slapped a couple of turbos on the Lamborghini-derived 5.0 L V10 in the S6 Avant, et voilĂ : 580 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft of thundering torque available from 1500 to 6250 rpm. In a wagon. Pure insanity.

For 2009, the sedan gets the RS6 treatment.

The Europe-only package is completed by dark-finish 19-inch alloys lurking within blistered bodywork, three-stage electronic damping, a six-speed paddle-shiftable auto-box, and Quattro all-wheel-drive with a 60 per cent rear bias.

Inside you'll find highly bolstered sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel (all real suede in this tester that costs the equivalent of about $150,000) that signal things to come.

Press the start button on the console and the V10 barks to life and settles into a somewhat off-beat, flatulent idle. Not pretty but ominous as a pea-green sky.

Rumbling down the dirt road from Schloss Dyck Castle, the ride was firm but not harsh. Once on a straight stretch of tarmac, the hammer went down and the RS6 exploded towards the horizon. The blown V10 bellows like a moose in heat, the wastegates wuffle between shifts and your corneas come perilously close to meeting your retinas. On the autobahn, it was pulling with this ferocity at 225 km/h.

The RS6 does not drive like the lithe 420 hp V8 RS4. It's big, it's front heavy, the steering is a bit numb but it does have more grip than you'll ever use on public roads. Most of all, it's just stupid, laughably fast.

And they say the Germans don't have a sense of humour.

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