Distributor eyes the lucrative luxury performance segment with three sports models
Audi in the fast lane Audi RS6: Based on the A6 but all pumped up and packed with power

AUDI'S awesome sports models are finally coming to Singapore. Towards the end of this year, local distributor Premium Automobiles will unveil in stages the steroid-induced RS6 and S4 sedan and avant, and the TT 3.2 quattro coupe with its clever direct-shift gearbox or DSG.

Premium is eyeing the lucrative luxury performance segment. This high-performance niche has so far been dominated by the BMW M3 and M5 coupe and sedan, and to a lesser extent, Mercedes-Benz's AMG variants.

In April this year, Premium gave a foretaste of Audi's souped-up model range when it imported an RS6 sedan after a customer made a special request.

So why didn't Premium bring the car in earlier?

'To cater for these high-performance cars we need get certain basics right,' said Ron Song, managing director of Premium Automobiles. 'These include getting the key messages across to the target audience, prepping the market for sporty Audis and training qualified and highly-skilled technicians who can attend to the servicing.'

Also, a brand-building exercise to highlight Audi's sporty performance has being going on for the past year, he added.

'Having laid the foundation, the time is now right for us to inject a little bit of excitement in the luxury, performance segment with the launch of these three models,' he said.

'Their impending arrival has definitely stirred keen interest from potential buyers - to the extent that we have collected a significant number of orders. But it's too early for us to speculate on the market share we'll eventually take as our aim for now is to create presence' in this niche market.'

Audi RS6

The Audi RS6 is based on the A6 saloon. Although the latter may soon be an ageing model, the RS6 appears to have staved off grey hairs by pumping iron. Its bulging wheel arches and aggressive aerodynamic kit convey the powerful message from its 4.2-litre, twin-turbo V8 aluminium engine: there are five valves per cylinder and modified light-alloy cylinder heads to churn out maximum power of 450 hp and maximum torque of 560 Nm.

The RS6 is Audi's most powerful model to date. It has the famed Quattro four-wheel-drive and a five-speed Tiptronic transmission. Acceleration from zero to 100 kmh takes 4.7 seconds. More interestingly, zero to 200 kmh can be achieved in 17.6 seconds, which means it's almost in supercar territory.

Stopping power comes courtesy of Brembo, with huge eight-piston brake callipers in front. There is an active suspension system called the DRC or Dynamic Ride Control in which a hydraulic set-up varies the damping to prevent body roll-and-pitch. In a corner, for example, the hydraulic pressure is cleverly increased on the outside shock absorber while it is decreased on the inside unit.

The RS6's automatic gearbox comes from the six-litre, V12 A8 and was specially developed to cope with the high torque levels. One modification is its shorter shifting times. And when cornering at high speed, depending on the lateral acceleration, the shift points are delayed further.

The RS6 will cost more than $400,000. For that, you get standard equipment like Recaro sports seats and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

SPECS

Audi RS6

Engine: 4,172cc biturbo V8

Gearbox: 5-speed tiptronic transmission

Max power: 450 hp @ 5,700-6,400

Max torque: 560 Nm @ 1,950-5,600 rpm

0-100 kmh: 4.7 secs

Top Speed: 250 kmh (electronically limited)

Price: $428,000 (estimated, with COE)

Distributor: Premium Automobiles

Tel: 6566-1111