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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Audi S6: Test drive by TopGear!

Audi S6
A test drive TopGear. What do you need more to read further?
The RS4 is a patch of blazing gold, nudging into my top-three fast saloons. But others among the power-Audis have failed to light the blue touch-paper. Even the current S8, a car that against all the odds brings the words 'somehow a bit uninvolving' and 'Lamborghini V10' into the same sentence.

Well, the same engine shows up here in the S6. And in a car the size of an M5. Hmm, with the same number of cylinders too. Rivals? Probably not, because the Audi is £8,000 or so lighter at £56,000; although heavier in kilos, partly because it's got four-wheel drive and an auto 'box. It also has 70 fewer horses, but more torque.

It's a more relaxed car, less hard-edged, less frantic. And the Avant estate is as fine to drive as the saloon; in fact, it's a mastercar, able to handle most loads, in most weathers.

Audi is right to be proud of the wonderful V10. It's actually different from the Lambo unit. Bore and stroke, direct injection, bore centres, manifolds, and more, are all altered.

It's bigger at 5.2 litres, and torquier, but less revvy so the torque converter won't turn to shrapnel by your left knee. Less of a supercar engine, but in the context of a big estate that's only right. It's definitely something to boast of: hence the tacky V10 badges on the flanks and 10 LED running lights in the front bumper.

On the hoof, the wonderful engine is somewhere between the bombast of the AMG supercharged V8 in an E55, and the rev-crazy hysteria of an M5's V10. It's a rare and mighty thing you've got wired to your right toe.

And if you worry that this might not be the fastest-accelerating estate out there, I'll pretty well guarantee it'll get there sooner than Herr AMG's E-Wagen.

You see, it can apply its power to the road without any pauses, while the Merc's yellow light in the speedo does its frustrating little flicker. Power is only any use when you can apply it, and the Quattro set-up is quite some appliance - especially with the subtle, new, rear-biased torque distribution that helps keep the car poised as it rockets through a maximum-effort bend.

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Source: TopGear, picture by Audi


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