There’s no way to explain this car with logic, physics, or reason. It’s a practical estate car that accelerates as quickly as a McLaren F1! The new C8-gen Mansory RS6 is a whole different manner of witchcraft…
From Performance Audi. Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Mansory.
the pursuit of ultimate pleasure can lead you down some pretty serpentine and opulently appointed pathways. Fans of Douglas Adams’ iconic Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will be familiar with the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster: the so-called ‘best drink in existence’, this cocktail mixes the Ol’ Janx Spirit with the water of the seas from Santraginus V, along with three cubes of Arcturan mega-gin, a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger, all bubbled through with Fallian marsh gas – the effect of drinking it is said to be like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. Which is essentially the effect which can be achieved by driving a Mansory RS6. Using what is presumably some manner of efficient German witchcraft, the famously swish and never knowingly understated tuner has tweaked the boxfresh Avant to a raucous 730bhp and 738lb-ft, which is enough to send your hedge trimmings flying absolutely everywhere on the tip run. So what’s the story behind this improbably potent cocktail? Well, let’s trace it back to its roots and begin with the C8-generation evolution of the celebrated RS6 formula…
Applying the RS treatment to the A6 platform has always been an exercise in sublime ‘Why not?’ thinking. Objectively speaking, there’s no earthly reason why it would be logical to squeeze this much engine into what was designed to be a range of sensible executive saloons and family station wagons, but when has clinical logic ever inspired passion? The whole point of the RS range is to titillate and inspire, as well as making your palms all sweaty; taking something familiar and refracting it through a supremely naughty filter in order to create something truly surprising. The first-gen RS6, based on the C5 generation, was a beefed-up saloon or estate packing a twin-turbo 4.2-litre V8, which was good for 444bhp at launch. This did more than raise eyebrows, it was the genesis of a legend. When the model was replaced by the C6-gen RS6, the engine had swollen to a 5.0-litre FSI V10, with more than a little Lamborghini DNA swishing around inside it. 571bhp was the magic number, making it the most powerful production car that Audi had ever made. The subsequent C7 saw the RS6 returning to its V8 roots, with a twin-turbo 4.0-litre unit good for 553bhp – or 597bhp if you ticked the option box marked ‘Performance’ (and why wouldn’t you?). And the new-for-2020 model, the C8 is the version that trebuchets the format into the future. Once again we find a 4.0-litre TFSI V8, its displacement tickled ever-so-slightly up to 3,996cc, with a pair of larger turbos than its predecessor. What’s more, this is the first RS6 to feature a hybrid drivetrain. Sure, it’s not exactly a Prius-like level of hybridisation, but it’s still a conceptual sea-change for such a meat-and-potatoes architecture: the new mild-hybrid system features a 48v belt alternator/starter arrangement which can recover up to 16bhp – and if you’re boasting about your eco creds in the pub, the trump card is a clever cylinder-on-demand system that can run the V8 as a four-cylinder for reasons of economy.
Let’s be honest though, you don’t buy an Audi RS6 to mollify polar bears. Power is the watchword, and the C8 has oodles of it: 591bhp of malevolent thunder, backed up by 590lb.ft of torque, which is enough to comprehensively rearrange the molecular structure of the asphalt.
…but that wasn’t enough for Mansory. They spied this shimmering aggression appearing over the horizon from the mad scientists at Audi, and what they mainly saw was potential. You see, this is very much Mansory’s raison d’être; this may only be the second time they’ve turned their collective hands to Audi tuning (the first, unsurprisingly, being the R8), but this revered premium modding outfit has serious form with bespoke – and, often, challenging – reimaginings of sports and supercars. Founded back in 1989 by Iranian-British enthusiast Kourosh Mansory, the company was focused right from the start on modifying and tuning high-end brands such as Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Bentley. The laser-like focus on quality has endured, and since the company relocated to Bavaria in 2001, absorbing the tuning arm of Rinspeed at the same time, the product portfolio continued to expand. Porsche models came under particular scrutiny, and it’s this open-door into the VAG-o-sphere that ultimately led to Audi’s back yard.
Now, thanks to the unexpected global blindsiding of the coronavirus, this year’s Geneva Motor Show was cancelled as the Swiss authorities banned public gatherings of more than a thousand people. This took all of the manufacturers and tuners somewhat by surprise, as this event – one of the biggest annual events on the motoring calendar – is always a showcase of new models and concepts… and since everyone had their new creations ready to unveil, they’ve had to bleed out elsewhere in the media. And that’s what you’re seeing here – this feature is Mansory’s Geneva; a world-first project as the company takes on an Audi Avant for the first time ever. And it’s clear to see that they’ve gone all-out in the details. Naturally the model already had ample power, and they’ve worked their magic to elevate this to supercar shaming levels – a 0-62mph time of 3.2-seconds is frankly unbelievable in a car this large and this practical. But what’s always really characterised a Mansory build is the interior, and it’s pleasing to note that the Manory RS6 is no exception. The pièce de résistance can be found across the dash, in the doorcards and throughout the centre console, where Mansory’s bespoke carbon fibre inlays have been artfully woven in an alluring chequerboard pattern. The steering wheel is trimmed in Alcantara to provide a little extra purchase for those sweaty palms, and the rest of the interior has been sumptuously refinished in Alcantara and super-soft nappa leather. Breaking up the grey is a plethora of vivid orange accents from the seat detail and pinstripes to the seatbelts themselves, and this is an element that helps marry the interior to the exterior… and it’s outside where things start to get a bit crazy.
The orange embellishments are perhaps what first catches the eye, starting with the bold racing stripes and augmented by the pinstripes on the wheels and aero addenda. But it’s when you scrutinise the body upgrades that you find the true magic. Mansory’s modus operandi with bodykits is to hand-craft them from carbon fibre to ensure light weight and strength, and a huge amount of R&D goes into ensuring that they fit perfectly with the standard mounting points, guaranteeing OEM quality in terms of fit-and-finish. After all, if you’re paying six-figures for a brand-new car, you wouldn’t expect the shutlines to be all over the place. It’s a magnificently aggressive body makeover too, comprising a vented carbon bonnet, reworked front end with racy canards and splitter, and more imposing sideskirts. It’s the rear end where the real magic happens – the new roof spoiler is joined by a mid-level lip spoiler, and the brutal carbon diffuser houses the in-your-face tails of Mansory’s bespoke exhaust system. All of this works together to massively angry up an already aggressive form, and the car’s OEM adaptive suspension allows it to hunker down menacingly over Mansory’s own 22” wheels. (Two designs are available, the YN.10 or the YN.5 – you’ll note that this car is wearing different wheels on either side to showcase the options – on a Geneva showstand, this would have made perfect sense.)
The coalescence of this forthright and comprehensive programme of enhancements and improvements has led to an entity unrivalled in its class: a highly-equipped and extremely practical estate car which can accelerate as quickly as a McLaren F1. It’s not just bullishly styled, it’s also able to bend the very principles of physics to its own whims. The result is akin to having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. The Mansory RS6 is very much the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster of cars.