Family To 62-mph In 4.7 Seconds

Audi RS6

Audi RS6

We love estate cars at Gargling Gas because wagons are cool. They allow the working man to load up ladders and work benches, the family man to cram in children, flat pack furniture and bags of hedge trimmings, the psychopath the jam in chainsaws, axes and sacks of lime, all in the comfort of a car. These practical vehicles become even cooler when they possess 911 Turbo performance figures.

The inspiration for this post came from the car pictured above, the Audi RS6 Avant. It’s a great looking car, but it’s not exactly the sort of car you’d expect to have to move out of the way on the motorway. It’s also not the sort of car you’d expect to see pass you at the speed of light. Having moved over for one yesterday, I watched in awe as this silver estate streaked by, listened as its twin-turbo V10 throbbed and blatted and catapulted it into the horizon, just before I caught a glimpse of the badge: RS6.

Not being the world’s biggest Audi fan, I did a little homework on the RS badge. I knew it was Audi’s equivalent of the M and AMG divisions, and I’ve always known about the RS2 from being a sleeper nut.

In fact, after doing my homework on the current RS cars and their incredible figures, it only highlighted what an amazing feat of technology the RS2 was/is considering it was built over 20 years ago.

Audi RS6 C7 Avant

Audi RS6 C7 Avant

Despite knocking the previous model’s V10 on the head, Audi’s current RS6 C7 Avant pictured above (damn that Nardo grey looks good) produces a ridiculous 560-bhp and 516-lb-ft from a twin-turbo 4.0-L V8. That means you are able to whisk the kids out of the house and to 62-mph in 3.9 seconds – experts claim this is an over estimate by Audi, too. Considering these impressive figures, the 20-year-old RS2 hits 62-mph in 4.7 seconds, all from a considerably smaller single-turbo 2.2-L straight 5 engine.

Audi RS2 Avant

Audi RS2 Avant

Okay, so the RS2 is obviously lighter, but it offers better mileage and still provides the mod-cons such as Recaro racing seats, air-con and a decent sound system. The handling was well ahead of its time, too, the combination of AWD and its Porsche-designed braking and suspension systems making it more at home on the Nürburgring than the supermarket carpark.

In 1995 Autocar clocked the RS2 from 0 to 30 mph at just 1.5 seconds, a time quicker than the McLaren F1 road car, and amazingly Jacques Villeneuve’s Williams F1 car.

Because Audi’s styling was fairly subtle, the RS2 is the king of Sleepers, a car Gargling Gas has to adore. They are fairly hard to come by now as they are real classics, but offered the choice of an RS6 or an RS2, I’d have to take the latter.

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Don’t Wake The Sleeping Wagons

sleeper

Gargling Gas adores the wagon/estate cars and gets all excited and squirmy over sleepers – because these two trends have been red hot for a few years now, you only have to take a short trip from your front door to stumble across a project or two.

I stumbled across an Audi estate today, the reason for this post and also to touch on a prospect wagon/sleeper build I’ve been thinking of taking on since I saw an old twin-turbo Mitsubishi for sale at the side of a road for peanuts. The Audi wasn’t anything special, a late 90s silver estate, sitting slightly low. I wasn’t sure if the suspension was worn or the owner intended the slight drop, but judging by the reconditioned and freshly painted rims, I guess the former. Simply adding dark metallic grey rims to a retro estate suddenly gave it bags of character and instantly erased any preconceptions about “family runs”, “another baby on the way” and practicality.

Over the past few years, Wagons have gained popularity, partly thanks to the Hipster trend and their penchant for 80s euro estates like the Volvos and BMWs, and partly (I think) because the boxy and retro cars are fast becoming the cool ride to customise. Whether it’s a Volvo drift missile, a GM dragster, or even a Japanese sleeper, the need for angles and sharp lines, simplicity and easy tuning means anyone can stamp their mark on a cool car without breaking the bank.

Despite its spike in popularity, compared to the much sought after 80s Jap hot-hatch turbos such as the Honda City Turbo, the Nissan March (turbo and supercharged) and the Toyota GTI-R Pulsar, the wagon is still a cheaper option. Same goes if you were to compare the wagon to the Nissan Silvia, predominately the S13, as it’s the ultimate choice for drift builds and fast becoming hard to find unmolested and in manual.

However, there were a few desirable wagons before the likes of the AMGs and the Ms took over, cars built for the family man refusing to compromise on power. The BMW 325i Touring (below) and the Audi RS2 Avant (above) are great examples of German engineering, cars designed to transport family and furniture comfortably and at speed – solid examples are few and far between.

The great thing about the retro Wagon is you’re bring something different to the table, its versatility shrugging off any of the labels that automatically come with the hot hatch and drift missile. The fact they mostly come as RWD means they can be adapted for drifting; if you require the stealthy sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing mobile, the wagon is the master of deception, especially if it has a roof rack.

Back to the Mitsubishi. If I remember correctly, it was the twin-turbo Galant VR4 Estate with tinted glass, after-market rims and bonnet vents, very much like the picture above. The thing was dusty but looked menacing, as though abandoned. It’s twin-turbo 2.5-L V6  had covered 89,000 miles and it was up for £2750, but I already had a WRX wagon I was having fun in at the time.

The VR4 produces 280-bhp, and with some tuning and light modification, it could pump out 320-bhp, something easily obtainable with a twin-turbo V6. The one I saw for sale wasn’t exactly a sleeper because it suggested power and menace, but imagine sourcing a clean example with original rims and a ventless bonnet. Picture it, having had a full engine service, a slight boost increase and a re-map, up on a dyno, the readout topping 320-bhp. You could get away with stripping out the interior because tinted rear glass isn’t uncommon with estates. You’d be left with a considerably lighter, 320+bhp twin-turbo family wagon, an ostensibly unthreatening car… until you cut it up on the motorway.

For a third of the price of decent Nissan S13 or a rare Jap hot-hatch turbo you can pick up a car with so much tuning potential and areas of weight reduction, it will come an obsession until you finally hit its sweet spot and see your reflection grinning back at you in the rearview as you glide past a 911 turbo.