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Audi’s power of four

Discussion in 'News and Features' started by Dinesh, May 21, 2011.

  1. Dinesh

    Dinesh Senior Member
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    In terms of brand power locally, the four rings of Audi might still be blown away by the propeller badge of BMW and poked aside by the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz but things have been gaining traction much faster for the brand recently as sales figures from its native Germany show it edging out the latter two in units for their entry level sedan models.

    Although you might see plenty of Audi A4s running around these days, made that much easier to spot courtesy of their LED headlights and tail lamps, the four units we have sampled here are reconditioned units that were brought in by the Naza World.

    Although not brand spanking new and having a couple of thousand kilometers on the odometer, three of the four models we had the opportunity to drive briefly were the range-toppers in their respective categories, namely the Audi RS4 Avant, RS6 Sedan and RS6 Avant. The last, but definitely not the least, physically as well as metaphorically, was the luxo-barge Audi A8.

    So before we get down to the individual driving impressions, please prepare a box of tissues or handkerchief, whichever suits your sensitive skin better, to wipe the drool and a spare change of pants because these cars are so fast it will make you soil yourself from behind the computer screen.

    Another thing to keep in mind, or rather, dismiss the notion of, is something you’re probably brewing in the back of your heads, that the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG could hold a candle to the Audi machines.

    So then, clean slate of mind and ample liquid-absorbing fabric on hand, let’s get behind the wheel of Audi GmbH’s finest works. By the end of the drive, we also came to the conclusion that RS probably stands for 'rabidly stupefying.'

    Audi RS4 Avant (2007)

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    Although the oldest of the bunch, the RS4 Avant proved to be the most rewarding and satisfying car to drive, not bad for something clipping five years old. The technical bits read like a proper Autobahn stormer’s should, with a 4.2-liter V8 pushing out 414hp and 430Nm of torque crammed into the engine bay. As the power of four implies, the RS4 Avant features the quattro all-wheel drive system that powered the original Ur-quattro to rally domination in the 80’s.

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    Sitting between the engine and the quattro system is something that’s reaching the top of the automotive extinction list these days, a proper six-speed manual gearbox. That’s right, Audi GmbH doesn’t kid, they mean business.

    Getting into the car can be very intimidating, kind of like your first day at high school, you have a vague impression of how things work but all that’s from books and movies and you don’t actually know what it’s going to be like but you’re pretty damn sure it will be a blast.

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    The best thing, and probably the best selling point, of the RS4 Avant would be the lack of drive options. There’s no need to select the suspension mode or how fast the gears shift, because you’re shifting yourself. It’s all get in and drive, what you see is what you get, fuss free. We couldn’t ask for more.

    You might imagine the clutch could be a bit of a pain as it has to handle all the power but here’s the beauty of OEM, everything is made to be as easy to drive and handle as possible. In all honesty, the clutch was as easy to use as anything you would find on a more generic ride, perhaps even softer.

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    We didn’t get to really push the car around the corners as our time behind the wheel was restricted to a stretch of highway. So all we could do was just see how fast the car would go. Well, go fast it did.

    We were past 200km/h before you could even think of blurting out the cruder term for the word ‘fornication’ and well past the 250km/h mark before you actually felt the car starting to lack more go.

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    Remember, it wasn’t that we actually pushed her all the way past 250km/h, it easily flew past that mark before it actually felt like we needed to prod the throttle longer and harder for more progress. The sound from the V8 was equally, if not more orgasmic, than the experience of sheer unadulterated acceleration like that.

    Steering feedback was just what you would expect, ample and well connected. Due to the quattro system, there was no wheelspin or even the sensation that the power was overwhelming for the car to handle, it was a drama-free blistering acceleration.

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    As Newton said, every force has an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, to counter this monster, massive eight piston brake calipers clamp down on 365mm cross-drilled rotors at the front while the rear makes do with a single caliper clamper on 324mm cross-drilled rotors. The brakes were as impressive as the rest of the car, the reaction was firm and dependant on your input, applying just the right amount of pressure that you intended. There was no sudden surge or feeling of slipping, if anything, the brakes were definitely more than capable of handling the job.

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    The only complain of the car would be the interior. We’re not saying that the interior left us wanting, it’s just that it was a little too harsh for a wagon. The front seats were semi-buckets that gripped excellently but therein lays the downside as well. To keep you bolstered in place, the sides extended pretty deep and the cushioning was a tad too harsh, perfect to hold you tight but not really something you would want in a wagon. Furthermore, ingress and egress was made a little more difficult because of the deep set seats.

    Although legroom at the back was ample, the plastic shells of the front seats isn’t really something you would want your kids smashing into in the event of hard braking. Plus, even the rear seats were deep set and not exactly the most practical things in a family-oriented vehicle since they actually were hard to get in and out off as well.

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    Quality wise, there were no complains, even for a vehicle approaching half a decade. You get integrated navigation and dual-climate control plus everything else you would come to expect from a car like this.

    For the princely sum of an estimated RM490,000 though, it’s still a lot of coin to shell, especially considering its age. Then there’s the topic of fuel consumption. Although we didn’t get the chance to gauge anything from the drive itself, the spec sheet rates the car at 20.7 liter for every 100km on the urban cycle. You’ll be getting much better mileage on the highway though, which is where the car should spend most of its time.

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    Audi RS6 Avant

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    Next up we have the bigger, brawnier and more sophisticated brother of the RS4, the Audi RS6 Avant. The logic behind this car, well to be honest we don’t really think there was any. This is precisely what we love about Audi engineers and whatever banned substances they might be on, nobody else in the automotive world would think about taking an engine based on the 5.2-liter nuclear power plant found in sister company Lamborghini’s Gallardo and shoehorning it into the bay of a wagon.

    That alone would suffice calls for them to be banned from designing cars but they had to go and add a pair of turbochargers before finalizing it for sale. Bonkers is an understatement, in fact that’s probably the term they use on their tea lady.

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    I mean in all honesty, who would even contemplate adding forced induction to the engine from a supercar and then dropping it in a wagon when the supercar itself is naturally aspirated. Stonking mad just doesn’t cut it, but the final product sure does.

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    As you would expect, the RS6 Avant is more refined that its RS4 sibling. The specs read 580hp and 650Nm of torque from the 5-liter twin-turbocharged V10. This time around, a six-speed automatic gearbox is in place and links the engine to the quattro system. All in all, surely more ballistic but somehow more refined in delivery.

    Due to the auto gearbox, we have to admit some of the fun was taken out of it but in foresight, an auto was the most logical choice for a model above the RS4. Nonetheless, it was more insane with almost 200hp over the RS4.

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    Once again, luck was on our side as our designated drive time was on the highway. Although we didn’t feel as pinned back into our seats on full acceleration, you could still tell that this was faster and angrier. The refinement of the car made it easier to control but never once took away any of the ferocity you would expect to feel, leaving it finely balanced to serve its more mundane purposes like the weekly Tesco visit.

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    In a couple of blinks, the surroundings were a blur as we shot past them and a quick glance at the speedo showed the needle just over the 270km/h mark. It’s utterly pointless to try and explain just how quick this thing is because it blew past the 270km/h mark without much effort. The only reason we held back was because of traffic, enough said.

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    Being a peg above the model lineup, the RS6 came with three modes for its suspension, Comfort, Dynamic and Sport.

    Beginning at the bottom of the rung, Comfort is the softest of the three. Though the car doesn’t waft along on a carpet of air, it’s still very livable and somewhat suitable for everyday driving.

    Dynamic was a little stiffer and served as a midpoint between the Comfort and Sport. The bump up to Dynamic could certainly be felt and it was considerably stiffer, with certain inflated bellies bouncing a little more than necessary. It was a huge difference compared to Comfort but the best was yet to come.

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    Sport just made the ride so bone-jarring and stiff that your internals would be rearranged every two minutes. While it would be perfect for twisty roads and attacking corners, for the most of it, Sport mode is just too hardcore for local roads. It does however show the depth that electronically adjustable suspensions offer.

    Handling wise, the RS6 Avant, with a little more weight over the rear, was bordering neutral and did as it was told. You could feel the weight but the well-setup chassis still persuaded it to respond to your input.

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    One thing we noticed on the RS6 Avant model was the brakes that lacked some bite. We’re not sure if it was a unit specific issue but the ones on the car we drove left us wanting, so much so that it actually proved a deterrent to going fast s we weren’t sure it could be hauled back in time if something happened.

    If you’re a soccer mom with a penchant for speed, the RS6 Avant is going for around RM654,888.

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    Audi RS6 Sedan (2009)

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    While it was practically the same power and drive train, the change in body type made quite a difference to the handling aspect of it. The engine up front was the same with equal power and torque outputs while the transmission was unchanged as well.

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    However, the sedan version is listed as being slightly quicker to the century sprint at 4.3 seconds compared to the 4.6 seconds for the Avant. The difference in weight has been pegged at just 40kg, not that lighter compared to the Avant but it sure seemed to make a world of difference.

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    We’ll only be touching a little here on the sedan as it’s pretty much similar to the Avant, save for some of its handling characteristics. For starters, the brakes on the sedan was much tighter and closer to what you would expect fitted to something packing nearly 600 ponies. That brought us to conclude that the ones on the Avant had some issues to it.

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    The immediate difference we felt was the tail-happy nature of the sedan. While the Avant was more neutral, the rear end of the sedan was always looking to break free with only the stability control keeping it in check.

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    The most likely reason would be the lower amount of weight over the rear axle. Still, that made the car heaps more fun to drive, with the tail slipping out a little on the exit of every corner but not so much to cause any alarm.

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    If we had to choose, we would definitely go for the sedan version due to that very fact. Of course, the Avant will be the ultimately sleeper but handling-wise, the sedan just put a wider grin on our faces and made things livelier.

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    The price you would pay for a livelier RS6, would be the same as the Avant at RM654,888.

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    Audi A8 4.2FSI quattro (2009)

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    Finally, we come to the flagship of the four cars, the Audi A8 4.2FSI quattro. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any wheel time in the car due to time constraints but we’ll do our best to give you an impression on what it’s like to be in one.

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    Power comes from a 4.2-liter FSI V8 that produces the least among the power hungry quartet, 350hp and 440Nm of torque. Nonetheless, the century sprint is a brisk 6.2 seconds with tope speed stated at just over 200km/h.

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    The car does come with a quattro system receives the power from the engine via a six-speed automatic.

    Being a luxury offering, the rear seats are the place to be. You get compartments for many things, though the cup holders looked more suited for wine glasses. A Bose sound system keeps you entertained with colour screens fitted to the front headrests for silver screen entertainment on the go.

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    The dash and doors are trimmed with a fine light-coloured wood grain for that premium feel compared to the aluminium or carbon fiber used in the Rs models. The display screen located on the front dash folds back to be covered by a wood-grained panel, drawing less attention whilst making you feel like Jason Statham in ‘The Transporter.’

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    This luxo-barge retails for an estimated RM565,888 and is still worth that money. We’re pretty sure the magic carpet ride is present although we weren’t able to check for ourselves.

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    The four rings deserved some of the spot light from the stronghold of BMW and Mercedes-Benz here as they really are the concoction of crazy and classy that is rich and strong on first touch but leaves a fine aftertaste once you’ve consumed it, leaving you wanting more.

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    #1 Dinesh, May 21, 2011
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  2. haziq_evo

    haziq_evo 5 Year | Silver

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    RS6 Avant!! :O now tune it up to 955hp like I just did in GT5
     
  3. ariel

    ariel Senior Member
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    I love those Avant! :love: :adore: :proud:
     
  4. kiseki

    kiseki 5 Year | Silver

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    rs6 , monster v10
     
  5. HKS-GT2835R

    HKS-GT2835R Senior Member
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    damnit a lambo engine inna a wagon wtf!
    gotta hand it to the germans. they really know how to over-do it!
     
  6. es2611

    es2611 Senior Member
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    not ur everyday wagon.
    next time i see an audi wagon.. ill make way. they might packed in a V8/V10.
     
    #6 es2611, May 23, 2011
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  7. paohyean

    paohyean 5 Year | Silver

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    I LOOOOOOVE THE RS6 AVANT!!
    It has always been my dream car..
    The ultimate sleeper cars to smoke all those Ah Bengs in E60 M5 wannabes..
    Sadly I'm gonna have to sell off both arms, legs and kidneys to enjoy this ride..
    T_T
     
  8. ddv_nk12

    ddv_nk12 5 Year | Silver

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    yeah, they really know how to over do it. audi has always been great. its a pity its not a layman's car.
     

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