Driving one of the only iterations of the Audi RS6 Avant in the country, and a 750PS one at that!
Station wagons are boring, no? But Audi’s RS6 Avant was the polar opposite and was so quick, it could show a clean pair of heels to most sportscars and supercars even! What else would explain the RS6 Avant out-accelerating its own sibling, the mighty R8? This, despite being powered by a V8 engine, as compared to the R8’s V10. That’s the power of turbocharging and the RS6 Avant’s V8 had not one but two turbochargers nestled between its cylinder banks! Sadly, every station wagon launched in India was met with a very lukewarm response, including this mad German estate that was on offer at literally half the price of equally powerful supercars.
That’s a shame because the RS6 Avant blended practicality to ridiculousness unlike anything else. When I test drove it, at a private air strip near Bangalore no less, the RS6 Avant had me convinced it was the perfect car to pick up your kids from school, take a pitstop at the supermarket to buy groceries for the week and then devour a few supercars on the way back home! Unfortunately, Audi only managed to sell a handful units in India despite how practical, spacious and comfortable the car was. But this also means the RS6 Avant is a much-sought after car in tuner circles today, like the one on these pages. There’s no way you can look at these images and tell this one’s a 1,000Nm monster, can you?
This one belongs to Pranav Khanna, a Delhi-based petrolhead who only likes his cars fast. Pranav says he is always looking for cars that are exclusive and the quest saw him lay his hands on this RS6 Avant. Every car in his garage runs a mad state of tune and while the 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 put out 560PS and 700Nm in stock form, his RS6 currently puts out 750PS and a gut wrenching 1,000Nm! Not content, Pranav is aiming at breaching the 800PS mark in the coming months! Gulp. Imagine a station wagon that can eat some of the greatest supercars on the planet, like the Lamborghini Aventador and its many iterations, for breakfast!
The motor’s deep rumble as Pranav rolled in to the shoot location early morning was music to my ears. At the same time, I was also convinced he would have woken up most of his neighbours on his way out, besides his own family! That said, ironically, his RS6 is a perfect example of a sleeper car. It looks sinfully gorgeous with its gloss black paint and the only giveaways of this not being your average luxury car are the optional – and massive – 21-inch rims and rear splitter. Pranav tells me his is one of only seven RS6 Avants in India and the only black one.
He’s currently running Armytrix catalyst downpipes, a propeller shaft carrier upgrade, a TCU (Transmission Control Unit) tune for the eight-speed gearbox and of course, a remapped ECU. He can switch maps on the go by toggling the cruise control stalk behind the steering wheel. There are seven maps in total, including one for a ‘valet mode’, one that lets him run the cooling fans at full blast even when stationary to keep the engine cool before a drag run and a high performance one too.
Pranav is also one of the organisers of Launch Control, an annual quarter-mile race weekend held at the Buddh International Circuit. He tells me his RS6 Avant once almost left a Ferrari 488 Pista quivering in its wake in a quarter mile dash. He was able to bolt straight off the line thanks to quattro, while the Pista driver was struggling to go in a straight line! Pranav has clocked 0-100kmph in 3.7 seconds and done a quarter mile run in 11 seconds flat in his RS6! He also tells me the all-wheel drive system struggles to rein in the performance, especially in the rains and the car slides around even at over 130kmph on wet roads. Despite the mind-bending performance the RS6 is his daily driver and is even driven by his father regularly. I just had to have a go in it and while the Toyota Supra that we put on our cover exactly a year ago (June 2021 issue) was the first 1,000PS car I drove, Pranav’s RS6 Avant is the first 1,000Nm car I have driven!
Nothing – and I mean nothing – can prepare you for the brutality of a full-bore launch in a 1,000Nm car. Taking off from standstill it pulled the kind of G-forces I’ve never experienced, not even in the V8- engined Renault F1 car I piloted at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France a few years ago! And it’s experiences like these that make tuner cars so special.
I could feel my neck muscles straining each time we got off the line and the photographs Gaurav clicked, like the one above, confirmed that the car’s front wheels were just about to lift off the ground, while the rear end was squatting down. Manic performance is a given when you’re talking supercars, but an estate? Hell no! And that’s what makes the Audi RS6 Avant so much more special. It is an exclusive car and Pranav says he had the option to get a Lamborghini or Porsche 911, but didn’t feel like it because there’s too many of them around already. He wanted something that will blow people’s minds away and his RS6 Avant does exactly that, a car he does not want to part with. If I had one, I wouldn’t want to part with it either!