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Wednesday 23rd January 2013

PH Blog: Audi was right

Damn you and your Vorsprung Durch Technik - you nailed the V8 mega barge template over a decade ago



Now, in the interests of full disclosure I should point out that this blog was written off the back of an extravagant 'editors' lunch' hosted by ... Audi. And did occur to me as I was heading home. Now, I'm sure there's no connection. But, come to think of it, that last extra dessert did taste a bit funny. And now I see four rings every time I blink. No, I'm fine.

A twin-turbo V8, two-pedal gearbox...
A twin-turbo V8, two-pedal gearbox...
Anyway, it's easy to knock Audi. We've been known to. Maybe it's the cookie cutter styling and deep-seated conservatism. Those blazing DRLs inches off your bumper. Or occasional glimpses of corporate arrogance, such as that expressed by boss Rupert Stadler when the matter of the global recession was raised and he said "we discussed it and decided not to participate." That'll be that famous German humour in action then. I'm sure the rest of the industry was wetting itself after that little quip.

But with all the recent developments in German heavy metal - I'm talking 500hp-plus V8-saloons/estates/halfbreeds here, not Rammstein and The Scorpions - it got me thinking that, dammit, Audi had the formula all the big players now adhere to nailed back in 2002. Which would be a (relatively) downsized twin-turbo V8, discreet 'premium muscle car' looks, four-wheel drive, a self-shifting transmission and lots of chassis trickery like electronically adjustable dampers. Oh, and a few token bits of carbon on the dash. Yep, the original RS6 set the template, over a decade before the rest caught up.

...a twin-turbo V8 with two-pedal gearbox...
...a twin-turbo V8 with two-pedal gearbox...
In that time BMW M has all-but abandoned its enthusiast focused manual gearboxes naturally aspirated engines and, though not yet four-wheel drive, the M5, 6 and Gran Coupe all pretty much follow the same path. Already familiar with four-wheel driven forced induction Porsche knew which side its stollen was buttered when it came up with the Panamera Turbo. And even AMG, last bastion of no replacement for displacement and tyre-smokin' RWD has downsized, by its standards, to 5.5 litres and grafted two turbos and, in some markets, four-wheel drive to its revised E63. That this particular car has gone from a 6.2-litre, high-revving naturally aspirated V8 and rear-wheel drive to forced induction and four-wheel drive, within its lifespan, shows how rapidly this new formula has become the default. In this company, only Jaguar's XFR dares to do it even a bit differently, and even then all-wheel drive is coming to that range too.

...and just for good measure. You get the idea.
...and just for good measure. You get the idea.
What was that about Vorsprung Durch Smugness? Fair play, though - to nail it a decade ahead of the rest of the competition is pretty impressive. And, no, this doesn't entirely explain why the RS4 returned with a high-revving V8, other than to perhaps rub rivals' noses in it and prove that Quattro could do that and hit emissions targets too. Just for the hell of it.

The toss can - and will, I'm sure - be argued as to whether this template is in fact the 'better' solution for the likes of us and, traditionalists that we are, it's hard not to feel a little sorry that the very obvious and different identities we all enjoyed in our respective Ms, AMGs and RSes has been homogenised in the name of emissions regulations, new market trends and commercial necessity.

Saying that, the original RS6 was a pretty blinding piece of kit and in Plus form with 480hp from its Cosworth-built 4.2 V8, 0-62 in 4.6 seconds and a spectacular donner-und-blitzen exhaust note (who says turbo V8s need artificial aural enhancement?) remains on the money. Having had a taste of Audi UK's historic RS6 Plus on a photo shoot a while back I'm minded to head off into the classifieds for a bit of tyre kicking (sub-£10K, since you're asking). And brace myself for the 'what took you so long' themed presentation from Stadler at the next motor show I attend. Which could apply personally as equally as it could the industry at large.

Dan

 

Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

Chris Harris

Original Poster:

477 posts

38 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Make sure you get Stuart to cover all maintenance bills.....

Ved

2,796 posts

60 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Always liked the RS6. I remember following one back at quite a slow pace before entering a dual carriageway. It didn't even appear to yawn, it just got smaller very, very quickly.

JaguarsportXJR

168 posts

28 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Always wanted an RS6, and in this weather it makes the Jag seem just a little silly. Sub £10k, you say?..

K5tealth

19 posts

39 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Would love an RS6 - shame about the suspension and gearbox "issues"!

Ved

2,796 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
JaguarsportXJR said:
Always wanted an RS6, and in this weather it makes the Jag seem just a little silly. Sub £10k, you say?..
A supermodel is not a cheap date...
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CraigyMc

8,719 posts

121 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
JaguarsportXJR said:
Always wanted an RS6, and in this weather it makes the Jag seem just a little silly. Sub £10k, you say?..
Sub £10K to buy. Nobody said what it would cost to keep the thing running.

havoc

21,150 posts

120 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
What's wrong with the Ronin-era S8?

OK, a few less ponies, but less weight (aluminium is great, eh?) and n/asp for better throttle response. Plus the (very rare, admittedly) option of a manual 'box...


As for 'got it right 10 years ago' - VAG took a short-cut (FI) to big power which has turned out to be the way everyone has to go to comply with emissions regs. If the regs had been written differently, BMW may have been proven right. And if the regs weren't taking over our automotive lives, we may still have some glorious n/a V10's* sloshing around...


* E60 M5 and prev-gen S6 and S8, take a bow! biggrin

stressballsteve

3 posts

20 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I had a C5 RS6 for 3 years and around 50000 miles and it was a truly awesome bit of kit, I still miss it and I keep browsing the PH classifieds for another, but then I remember the running costs and repair bills and I walk quickly away from my computer before I do something stupid . I think they're like an ex-girlfriend...remember the fun times you had together, but never go back it won't ever be as good as you remember!tongue out

Terminator X

4,450 posts

89 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
K5tealth said:
Would love an RS6 - shame about the suspension and gearbox "issues"!
Most (all?) will be sorted by now. Super cars, sound awesome yum

TX.

krusty

2,368 posts

134 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I'll say it again......... still the best car I've owned.

McSam

5,465 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
havoc said:
As for 'got it right 10 years ago' - VAG took a short-cut (FI) to big power which has turned out to be the way everyone has to go to comply with emissions regs. If the regs had been written differently, BMW may have been proven right. And if the regs weren't taking over our automotive lives, we may still have some glorious n/a V10's sloshing around...
Well, quite. Audi weren't choosing to do it then for the same reasons that everyone (including themselves) is being forced to do it now, so while it's always nice to draw attention to old greats like the C5 RS6, the premise of this article is flawed hehe

K5tealth

19 posts

39 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Terminator X said:
Most (all?) will be sorted by now. Super cars, sound awesome yum

TX.
I was buying an A6 Avant once and the dealer had just taken an RS6 in as a p/ex. I politely enquired after it (as it was within budget) - the dealer replied "I wouldn't sir, that one hasn't had a new gearbox yet"!

McSam

5,465 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
K5tealth said:
I was buying an A6 Avant once and the dealer had just taken an RS6 in as a p/ex. I politely enquired after it (as it was within budget) - the dealer replied "I wouldn't sir, that one hasn't had a new gearbox yet"!
Outstanding biggrin

Spoof

1,578 posts

100 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I didn't realise there was a fix for the chocolate gearbox?

dukebox9reg

1,033 posts

33 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Hasn't that RS6 been given the honoured title of 'Most Unreliable Car' by Warranty direct? I love them but I'd be scared of driving it just in case something went bang

renrod

2 posts

20 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I worked for a south london car leasing company when the RS6 first came out,lucky to have driven several RS6 and the plus.Speaking from experience,when driven enthusiastically,the RS6 pretty much could leave every other car for dust,and the noise, oh yes, the noise.

Jacobyte

3,999 posts

127 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Spoof said:
I didn't realise there was a fix for the chocolate gearbox?
There is - it's called a C6 RS6 smile

Whitean3

1,515 posts

83 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
I have to admit, I'd love a C5 RS6 Avant- but the 911 would have to go first (a step too far for me right now!). I'm reminded of what another PHer (and former RS6 owner) said about the RS6- "the only thing it can't pass is a petrol station"

I am sorely tempted to have an RS6 as my "posh snotter" alongside the 911, if only I could ressolve the parking situation (and emerge victorious from successful negotiation with the wife, naturally). Wonderful things, those RS6s!

el_ringo

65 posts

103 months

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Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Warranty Direct would be top of my list of unreliable companies :-D

LotusOmega375D

2,498 posts

38 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd January 2013 quote quote all
Don't forget Audi came out with a big V8 engined flagship 25 years ago.
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