"The rally world of the early-to-mid 1980s was dominated by Audi, thanks to a wide variety of Quattro models. An Audi Type C claimed victory on the Austrian Alpine Rally in 1912 - so the brand had already a long history "
FOUR WHEELS GOOD
Audi launched the first Quattro in 1980. The cars the brand produced defined the rallying dreams of that maligned decade. An entire industry was forced to wake up to the reality that permanent Four Wheel Drive was a part of the motoring future. Forty years on, RS Audi badge is rooted still in the technical innovations made in those early years.
To celebrate the anniversary we spent time with the latest Audi RS6 as well as one of the original Quattro Coupés. We discovered a connective thread of rigor and traction – one that had us plotting routes littered with negative camber, tight roundabouts and switchback lanes.
The RS6 went with us to the Highlands of Scotland – because a car as dramatic as the RS6 needs a dramatic backdrop – and the Quattro Coupé came to the tamer but fun hills of the Mendips in Somerset. There was much that was different between the two cousins — but the genome was clearly threaded through valve, cam and strut.
We went to Scotland in the knowledge that the internet is littered with reviews and God-awful tests of the new RS6. Occasionally, what we like to do with these films is show off what the car actually is. What the RS6 is is a technologically advanced work of automotive art. It’s the result of decades of evolution, technological breakthroughs and the physical manifestation of someone’s crazy vision because let’s face it, we don’t need family-sized 600bhp petrol station junkies in 2020. But then again… we do. We need art now more than ever.
It’s handy to know if you can fit a body PLUS the weekly shop in the boot and it’s nice to know how quickly it’ll launch you to 60 mph. It’s got impressive figures for a car that weighs as much as the mountains that surround us. And look at the lines across its body; the aggressive thickness of its wheel arches and the anger in its stance. But feel the way it corners, the way it moves through the winding Highland roads. Oh and there’s the noise it makes – that low, deep, determined bark.
The RS6 is a glorious drive. I dare say most people’s dream garage would include one of these because it does everything. But that isn’t the point. It doesn’t matter that it’s practical or powerful. Or that it carries the RS badge and decades of Quattro pedigree. What matters is that it is a pure driving experience. But the RS6 is only an experience for those who want to understand it. For those in the know, the RS6 begs for your attention, whether you walk past it in the street or you are sat behind the wheel. It stares you down and screams at you. To those who just don’t get it… it’s just another estate. It’s a monster hidden in plain sight and that makes the drive even more special.
During those three stolen days in Scotland, it was the first thing I thought about each morning and the last thing at night. Come get me, monster.
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