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FEB 16th 2015

Chris Harris already misses his departed Audi RS6 long‑termer – the 'best fast estate car'

They came and took it on a transporter – those evil people from Audi UK decided that six months was my lot in the best fast estate car on the planet. Watching it roll onto the truck was unpleasant; like leaving a loved one at an airport. I bonded with that car in a way I hadn’t for many years.

It had only been back with me a few weeks after its unscheduled trip to have the brake booster looked at. Extensive investigations revealed nothing broken or malfunctioning, so they left it alone. That over-sensitivity and sudden shortening of the pedal remained until the last day, and I just drove around it. I suppose it means a part-return to the bad-old-days of over sensitive Audi brake pedals, which is a shame given that in all other respects the RS6 not only exorcises all of the generic fast-Audi faults, but adds in a dynamic repertoire so good it’s a class leading machine by some margin. I’d like to try a car on the standard steel rotors to compare it.

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In 9500 miles of hard driving, the RS6 averaged nearly 23mpg. The tank takes a trickle over 75 litres so 350 miles is a realistic range, but the car is so comfortable and in possession of such long legs that fuel-stops do seem more frequent that you’d ideally want them. For something this size and offering this type of performance to average that is quite something.

The beauty of having more performance than most people could understand is that the driver rarely has to use a car’s full potential – this is the case in the RS6. But calibrating an engine and gearbox to snick together both smoothly and responsively in everyday driving isn’t easy and that’s where Audi’s engineers have done a stunning job. This is a powertrain that allows you to saunter along with a brush of throttle and a moment later can send you up the road with enough thrust to worry a 911 Turbo.

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The cabin is vast and expensively finished. The front and rear seats were perfect for all who travelled in it. The dog liked the boot and the luggage straps were genius for separating bags from hound. The optional B&O hi-fi kept me amused for hours and the iPod interface for phone and tunes worked faultlessly. That isn’t always the case.

And I loved the specification. Ordering a car from new is a lottery, but Audi let me have my way, despite some sounds of consternation coming from Milton Keynes when I asked for non-metallic Nardo grey, no privacy glass and no RS6 badging. I always want my fast estate cars to be sleepers – they are so much more appealing that way. I suspect it will end up for sale at an Audi dealer soon and a few people have enquired about it. I’ve been a bit cagey to be honest – it would be like running into an old favourite girlfriend.

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This really is the ideal specification: I’ve listed it below. Anyone ordering a similar car should follow chassis and exhaust route – for £1000 the pops and bangs are worth it.

Nardo Grey Audi RS6: £75,500
Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System: £6300
Dynamic Package Plus: £10,725
Heated front and rear seats: £100
Inlays – aluminium and black: £1250
Manual sunblind for rear windows and rear doors: £210
Mobile phone preparation: £175
Sports exhaust: £1000
Twin spoke 21in alloys: £1900
Total as tested: £97,160

I managed to puncture a tyre on a pot hole before Christmas, and took a chink from the inside of the rim too. Both needed replacing. Otherwise there was no mechanical or bodywork story to tell. The thing felt impregnable and likely to give years of service – I just wish they were with me.

I’d best go and find another car now.

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