LOADED Audi RS6 Avant C7
Christian Burges’ RS6 Avant packs some serious lows. And there’s not even a hint of air.
This Mortal Coil
There’s an element of stealth at play here. That may seem like a mad thing to say when we’re talking about a C7-generation RS6; after all, these aren’t exactly shy and retiring cars in factory-standard form, are they? With biblical ballistics under the bonnet and in-your-face widebody styling, they shout extraordinarily loudly about their supernatural performance prowess. And when you factor in a few ostentatious mods – say, slamming the thing into the dust over a set of massive fancy wheels, and bolting on an exhaust that can be heard by the scientists up on the International Space Station – then you find yourself with something that’s really the opposite of stealthy. A big angry barge with enough power to rip the faces clean of any domestic pets that may happen to foolishly wander nearby.
No, it’s the wrap we’re talking about here. See, it’s obvious that Christian Burges is a fan of Martini, but he’s sensible enough to keep his affections under his hat. Well, to a degree at least. Because nobody actually still drinks Martini, do they? But it’s a peculiar and undeniable fact of life that those iconic racing stripes have adorned countless desirable race cars over the years… and yet Martini Racing and Martini vermouth are entirely separated in people’s heads – in the same way that Rothmans and Marlboro racing liveries seem to have of late.
Applying these stripes to a road car instantly makes it cool, there’s no denying that. But what if your car’s already boisterous enough, and perhaps you’re a bit reticent to admit that you like drinking the cocktail cabinet equivalent of some mashed-up nettles? Well, there’s a happy medium to draw there, and a matte black Martini wrap is where it’s at. It makes the point without yelling about it. Leave the yelling to the stupidly powerful engine and its antisocial exhaust pipes.
Ah yes, because we’re not just talking about an RS6 here. This is an RS6 Performance, and there’s an important distinction to be drawn. The regular version packs a 4.0-litre TFSI twin-turbo V8, which is good for 553bhp and 516lb-ft – massive numbers by any measure. And the Performance upgrade? It’s the same engine, but it’s been remapped by Audi themselves to kick out a vicious 597bhp and 553lbft. This knocks the 0-62mph time down to a faintly ludicrous 3.7 seconds, which means you can perfectly match a Ferrari F50 or a Pagani Zonda C12 S in a dragrace, then head of to Ikea to fill the vast boot up with bookcases. Factor in Christian’s Akrapovic exhaust system, which is good for at least another 10bhp, and those supercar owners will really be left scratching their heads. Power? Oh yes, Christian loves power. Given what he chose as his first car, way back through the swirling mists of time, it’s hardly surprising. Most of us start out our driving adventures in some manner of clapped-out old snotter with barely enough grunt to pull the cliché off a rice pudding – a Ford Fiesta or a Renault 5 with a 1.1-litre engine and a devil-may-care attitude to the concept of solidity. But not Christian.
His debutant steer was a VW Corrado VR6, and he’s been shooting for the stars every day hence. “I’ve been car crazy ever since that first time,” he grins. “I followed up the Corrado with a Golf R32, and after that there was an Audi TT RS with Marlboro livery – I think everyone in the scene knows it!” It certainly was an impressive build, decked over a set of Ferrari wheels and with a sodding great rollcage inside. One of the first things he did with the TT was to take it to the revered scene superheroes at Gepfeffert and get it kitted out with a set of their own bespoke KW-based coilovers – because he wanted the car as deep as possible, but was adamant that it remain static. And it’s this philosophy that’s carried over to the RS6 today. Believe it or not, despite the devastating lows in evidence across these pages, there’s not a single air-spring or compressor in sight.
“After the TT RS, I wanted a bigger car, and the RS6 seemed like the obvious solution,” he shrugs, and that’s the sort of forthright logic we can very much get on board with. As you might hope, Christian’s first move upon sliding himself into the warm embrace of his shiny new RS6 was to head straight to his buddies Andy and Simon at Gepfeffert so they could give it the treatment. The result is the astonishing stance you see here, achieved by the judicious application of custom Gepfeffert-spec and ultra-low KW coilovers, complete with the cunning Hydraulic Lift System (a neat and compact upgrade that allows an immediate 45mm of extra ride height at the touch of a button if required). “I discussed with the guys what I wanted to achieve with the car, and they built it precisely to my specs,” he explains. And with the car running improbably low, the OEM rims were swapped out for a set of fabulous 10×21” OZ Ares wheels – in a ‘square’ setup, because quattro – with tidy slender spokes to fully showcase the factory-option carbon-ceramic brakes.
The base for the project itself was impressively strong: obviously any RS6 is a good RS6, but the fact that Christian opted for the Performance upgrade along with all manner of ticked option boxes meant that this was already an astounding machine to start with. As well as those carbon-ceramics, the car had the full carbon pack as well as all the upgrades imaginable, and he’s added one or two extra carbon fibre tweaks to accentuate the vibe – most notably a set of lightweight roof rails from RS Carbon, which is a gloriously unexpected twist. And while the shell was originally white, it’s taken on an altogether more sinister character now that it’s been slathered in that custom Martini stealth wrap from Black Box Richter.
Peer inside and the lunacy continues. Detail nerds will spot that those are, in fact, RS4 seats. Why do this? After all, the stock RS6 seats are perfectly alright, aren’t they? Ah, but it’s all about personalisation, about preferences and a demanding pursuit of perfection. Christian prefers the seats from the RS4, so he’s had a set shelled in carbon and trimmed in the correct OEM RS6 leather. “This was the most difficult part of the build,” he says. “Getting the RS4 seats’ electrics to work with this car was… not easy.” All part of the fun though, and it’s just one piece of a big angry jigsaw puzzle that completes to form a picture of Christian’s dream car. He’s particularly in love with the fact that it’s static, which we’re still having trouble reconciling with our brains as the thing’s just so damned low, and the salient point is that every decision made here has been the right one. It’s an astonishing car, made all the more so by what this serial tuner and unstoppable horsepower junkie has done to it. And we’ll drink to that! Martini anyone?
SPECIFICATION AUDI RS6 C7 AVANT
Engine: 4.0-litre TFSI twin-turbo V8, full Akrapovic exhaust system, 8-speed Tiptronic auto
Max Power: 600bhp+ @ 6200rpm
Max Torque 553lb-ft+ @ 2300rpm
Chassis: 10×21 ET25 OZ Ares wheels, 265/30 tyres, Gepfeffert / KW coilovers with hydraulic lift system, OE carbon-ceramic brakes
Exterior: Custom matte black Martini wrap by Black Box Richter, carbon fibre roof rails by RS Carbon, OE carbon pack
Interior: RS4 seat shells trimmed in OE RS6 leather and carbon-backed – by exclusive-car-interior.de, custom carbon steering wheel trimmed in Alcantara, OE carbon pack Gepfeffert / KW coilovers with hydraulic lift system offers some serious lows
When the C7-generation RS6 launched, it was one of the most expensive estate cars it was possible to buy – prices started around the £80,000 mark, and could easily top £100k if you got carried away with the options. But this wasn’t as crazy as it seemed to some; thanks to the incredible technology squeezed into every inch of the RS6, it really was like having two cars in one. It was a ludicrously powerful and sure-footed sports car, and it was a sensible family load-lugger. And now that prices of early C7s have dipped below £40k on the used market, they’re looking like pretty damn good value for people who were looking to spend that sort of money on a new car. After all, the tech is bombproof and the performance is staggering – and a simple remap will add an extra 100bhp or more…
Name: Christian Burges
First car: VW Corrado VR6
Favourite modification on your car: The suspension – and the fact that it’s not on air!
Hardest part of the build: Adapting the RS4 seat electrics to work in the RS6
What’s next – any future plans? Different wheels and a different wrap this year
Full Akrapovic exhaust system sounds insane! That’s what you call a drop, especially on 21-inchers! Carbon-backed RS4 seats look superb. A custom carbon steering wheel? Yes please! Big car, small knob after the TT RS I wanted a bigger car, the RS6 seemed like the obvious solution.