AUDI RS6 C5 2015 TUNING UNLEASHED
Stunning C5 is packing 573ps, 881Nm C5 perfection. Absolute Perfection. Not much can beat the appeal of a really well done C5 RS6 and this 573ps beast has to be one of the finest examples in the world…
Reputations mean everything. In this day and age of social media, if something isn’t right, then someone will quickly post an online review or comment to tell the world exactly what they think. This poses something of a quandary. On the one hand, an honest review can help – after all, who wants to buy something that’s likely to break? On the other, just because an individual has had a bad experience doesn’t mean you should run for the hills.
The C5 RS6 is a classic example of this interweb hysteria. Yes, the big, biturbo avant can be devilishly expensive to put right if it breaks. The weak points – the DRC suspension, gearbox, intercoolers – are all well documented. Make no mistake, if you buy a poor one, you will face some big bills. But there’s more to the C5 RS6 than a list of known faults.
You don’t buy a C5 if you’re after something sensible and cheap to service and maintain; if that’s what you’re after, buy a new A6 TDI. People buy C5 RS6s with their hearts.
The combination of V8 twin-turbo performance and that iconic wide-shouldered style, means it’s still one of the best looking and most desirable RSs ever made. Add to this the fact that they can be tuned to over 600bhp, and are available in both saloon and avant form, and it’s clear to see why they are still so well loved.
Darren Burt, owner of this immaculate C5, has always loved Audis. We displayed it on our stand at this year’s AITP, which is where we caught up with him to find out more.
“Me and my pals used to walk past a brand new Noggy-blue RS2 on the way to school, so I’ve always likes avants; especially the C5 RS6,” he smiles. Having run a D2 4.2 A8, he really wanted an RS6 and often looked at them in the classifieds.
“I left it for a while, then had a quick squiz one day and spotted this one for sale in London,” he recalls. “I was working offshore, so I thought, I’ll leave it to fate – if it’s still for sale when I get back, then it’s meant to be and I’ll buy it.” Then, barely 24 hours into his trip, he flew down to London and did the deal on the tidy C5.
Previously owned by a guy on the AudiSRS forum, it had been well looked after. “It was lowered, remapped and had some MTM Bimoto wheels,” says Darren. “It was in decent condition with 80k miles; it had a few knocks on the paint and a chip on the windscreen, but I loved it; this was my dream car,” he smiles.
However, his fun was short lived. A spirited 165mph run was caught short when an errant hare ran into his path, destroying the front bumper.
“While the bumper was replaced, I decided to get a full respray as I wasn’t happy with the rest of the paintwork,” says Darren. This is where things began to get expensive.
“The parts bill was over five pages long,” he laughs, “every time the bodyshop removed a grille or piece of trim, a clip or bracket would snap.” Fortunately everything was readily available, but came with the usual high dealer prices. So many parts have been replaced on this 2003 car, that much of it really is like new. The door trims, alloy boot lid trim, plus numerous clips and fittings are all factory fresh.
When it came to the paint, it could only be Daytona Grey. This original hue suits the C5 to a tee and the full, glass-out respray looks fantastic.
The optics, including window and grille surrounds, plus roof rails have also been painted. “They’d been wrapped by the previous owner, but they didn’t look right, so I had them done in gloss black,” says Darren. “I didn’t do them in matt like an RS6 Plus, as I wasn’t trying to make this look like a Plus,” he adds. The final touch was having the mirrors done in Daytona grey. This RS may be over 12 years old now, but it looks like it just rolled out of Ingolstadt.
With a fresh paint job, Darren has been very particular about how it’s maintained. His missus, Mandy, explains, “We were out for dinner and Darren noticed a bird had poo’d on his car, so he drove home to clean it, leaving me in the restaurant!” To be fair it’d only just come out of the paintshop and home was only around the corner, but it goes to show the care he’s taken with this RS6. Unfortunately, the bird-poo incident was about to get a whole lot worse.
“The gearbox decided to let go on the way back to the restaurant.” laughs Darren. Not one to mess around, he sent the C5 over to respected Audi tuners, #Unit20
, to have a reconditioned box with uprated torque converter fitted.
Of course, he couldn’t leave it at that. “While it was in, I decided to get some #TTE650-hybrid-turbos
fitted, together with Milltek race downpipes,” he smiles. “I also had some #Wagner-intercoolers
ready to go on, so they were fitted too.”
With a freshly uprated engine and a stronger gearbox ready to take some punishment, the RS was then shipped off to MRC Tuning for a pair of ITG filters and its custom map. Here it made 573ps with a corresponding 881Nm of torque.
So, how did this compare to the previous spec? “90 to 190mph is ferocious,” says Darren. “I had 196mph out of it before the TTE turbos were fitted and it’s geared for over 200mph – I’m just waiting for a dry day to really test it!” he laughs. In a world where every other Audi we see appears to have airride, it makes a refreshing change to see something dropped very low on a static set-up. But this is no ordinary kit.
Put together by Simon Sweetland from Still Static, this bespoke system has been designed to get the RS6 as low as possible, without ruining the handling. “It annoys me when people say ‘that must drive really badly; it’s too low’” says Darren. “They don’t know what they’re talking about. Everything has been custom modified for the C5 by AH Flachwerk.” The H&R race ultralow coilovers have been re-valved, with shortened damper bodies. With Hotchkiss anti-roll bars, and a full geometry set-up, the suspension is both low and compliant. There’s a lot more to this bespoke kit than a set of off the- shelf coilovers wound down as far as they’ll go.
The set-up allows Darren to drop the car hard over the beefy set of 10x20in alloys, which came off a Q7. These OEM wheels really do look the part with polished lips and ceramic coated centres. Look behind the fronts and you’ll find a set of Brembo calipers gripping 380mm discs, which were kindly donated by a Lamborghini Gallardo. The C5 is no lightweight and with 190+mph on tap, it needs good stoppers.
Pop your head inside and you’ll find a typical RS6 leather interior. But look more closely and you’ll notice it looks brand new. The leather was removed, stripped back, re-dyed and treated before being re-fitted for that factory-fresh look. “I’ve got a set of Recaro CSs to go in it,” says Darren, “but I’m still not happy with the retrim on them; they’ve been done three times now,” he grimaces. But, aside from the Recaro issues, the RS6 was looking truly awesome and ready for its first show.
Then, just weeks before Audis in the Park, disaster struck. “I’d been sanding the headlights and on the way home noticed a rubber smell,” says Darren. Thinking he’d run over a plastic bag, he continued. “When I got home I could really smell burning and see smoke, so I opened the bonnet and the engine was on fire!” he exclaims. “I ran inside, got an extinguisher and managed to put it out very quickly.” A roll of tape had been left in the bay and the V8 had cooked it, along with part of his engine. Fortunately, the damage was relatively limited – the radiator overflow pipe had melted, some of the loom, and one of the coils.
The car was rushed down to MRC Tuning to have it all fixed ready for AITP. While it was in, Darren had all the coils replaced, together with the cam belt, water pump, vacuum pipes and alternator. It was finished, ready for the show, where it took pride of place on the AudiTuner stand.
“This is my first show in two years,” says Darren, “I just want to drive it and enjoy it now.” With plans for uprated manifolds to maybe unleash a bit more power, there’s plenty more to come for this stunning RS6. It really is a credit to Darren and the companies involved in tuning and maintaining it. The fact he drives it properly is just the icing on the cake.
SPECIFICATION #2003 #Audi-RS6-C5
ENGINE 4.2 FSI biturbo V8, #TTE650
custom hybrid turbos, #Milltek
race downpipes with 100cell cats, full #Milltek
exhaust system, #Wagner
intercoolers and shrouds, #ITG
air filters, MRC Tuning custom ECU map
POWER 573ps and 881Nm
TRANSMISSION Unit 20-supplied recon gearbox with uprated torque converter and gearbox map
BRAKES Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggara #Brembo
upgrade with 380mm front discs, #Ferodo
race ultralow coilovers from Still Static , #Hotchkiss
anti-roll bars, 034 diff mount
WHEELS AND TYRES #Audi
Q7 10x20in Speedlines with ceramic polished centres and hand polished lips with silver powder coated barrels, Michelin Pilot Supersport 245/30x20s, H&R adaptors
EXTERIOR Full windows-out respray in factory Daytona Grey pearl, all exterior trim (windows, grille surrounds, rear plinth, roof rails) painted gloss black, mirrors colour coded Daytona Grey
INTERIOR Factory Euro Recaro interior fully re-Connolised in original silver, full Audi S6/RS6 plus blue flash carbon interior pack, highly polished and re-fitted
TUNING CONTACTS Grizz and the crew at Unit 20, Doug and the crew at #MRC-Tuning
, Simon at TTE, Del at Optimus Trimmers, Dave at Prestige Leather, Colin at Performance Bodyshop, Si Sweetland at Still static, Mike the polisher and Stevie Bryce
“This is my first show in two years, I just want to drive it and enjoy it now”
Top: Darren is happy, but there’s more to come.
“90 to 190mph is ferocious... I had 196mph out of it before the TTE turbos...”
Left: Milltek pipe, polished of course Below: Interior is mint Right: The V8 powerhouse.
Left: Rear ends don’t get much better Above: Twin TTE 650 turbos are inside Below: Static drop is impeccable.
“The parts bill was over five pages long”