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Road Test: MTM RS6 Clubsport in Monaco
With the brand new A6 shown its face to the public, and the 2013 Audi RS6 planned for a release somewhere next year, it is time to say goodbye. Goodbye to an amazing machine, thrilling and insanely fast, yet remarkably controllable and useable too. The mid-size sports-focused second-generation Audi RS6 C6 has become a statement in the world of luxury power sedans and was a basis for a large number of tuners.
One of those tuning specialists is MTM from Wettstetten, Germany. Known for their upgrade kits fitted to numerous Audis, they introduced a Clubsport program in April of 2010 further improving the track characteristics of the V10-powered luxury saloon car. We took MTM’s RS6 Clubsport for a drive through Monte Carlo, experiencing the tuned 5.0 FSI V10 Biturbo Quattro Tiptronic engine and its improved handling in the streets of the Principality. We even got the change to test its capabilities on a small closed section of the Formula 1 race track, between Tabac and Rascasse corner.
For most people, you’d think an all-wheel drive estate with 572bhp and 650Nm of torque is quite enough. Not MTM, they improved the engine up to a whopping 730hp at 6,360rpm and a limited 785Nm between 2,750 and 6,280rpm. The 0-100km/h dash drops a whole second from 4.6sec to 3.6sec. Zero to 200 is done in 11 seconds, while the top speed rises from an electronically restricted 250km/h to either 279km/h, 290km/h, 310km/h or 340km/h depending on tyre speed homologation. A maximum top speed of 362,5km/h was reached at Nardo last year proving the RS6 Clubsport as an ultimate high-speed luxury sedan.
Astonishing figures for a four-door luxury vehicle spacious enough to transport four full grown adults and their luggage. The extra power is unleashed via a boost tweak for the V10’s twin turbochargers, plus very careful remapping of all other parameters using a modified MTM-motronic computer. The technical improvement also includes an air filter and a stainless exhaust system with catalyst and four 80mm end-pipes. Two of the end-pipes have a valve control system opening the full exhaust grumble at higher revs.
If requested, an additional package is available, which offers a MTM metal catalyst (export version) upping the maximum torque to 840Nm. The amount of horsepower goes to 742hp, only 12 horsepower higher than the Clubsport package available under our right foot while taking the world famous Monaco tunnel.
The Audi’s power is converted to the road through a faster-shifting version of the brand’s six-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel drive setup has a 40:60 front to rear torque split under normal conditions. If slippage is detected, up to 85 per cent of torque can be directed to the rear wheels, or 65 per cent to the front wheels. This is enhanced by Dynamic Ride Control, which features Comfort, Dynamic and Sport settings for the dampers.
The outside options list a 21 inch black MTM bimoto wheelset outfitted with Continental tyres in racing style, individually adjustable MTM springs, carbon fiber diffuser, carbon fiber front spoiler lip and an unique Clubsport Design. In addition, the interior normally offers an integrated safety cage, a six-point harness and Recaro seats, made of carbon fiber, but MTM outfitted the stock interior back into the car after the recordrun in Nardo.
So how is the drive? Turn the key in the ignition, and the 5.0 liter V10 erupts into life before settling into a deep burbling idle, which filters through into the cabin. Grab the thick-rimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and let the fingers control the gearshift paddles which operate the six-speed Tiptronic transmission. Push the throttle and you hear an epic dark growl from the back. Shift gears and the sound is accompanied by a muffled boom for any up- or downshift.
In Monte Carlo, the RS6 felt surprising agile and gripping strongly on its characteristic MTM bimoto wheels. The Clubsport offers a supple ride even though it is lowered up to 10-40mm at the front and 15-45mm at the rear. Push it hard in the tight corners of the Monaco Formula 1 track, and the combination of all the power and bulk under the hood runs the nose wide, easily corrected by lifting the throttle.
Despite the Quattro system’s 60 percent rearward torque bias, there’s never a hint of rear-end throttle steer. The four-wheel-drive system pushed us through any possible corner in the ultimate billionaire’s playground, providing easy and controllable understeer.
In the end the thing gripped like cat claws on curtains, and it changed direction with greater haste and agility then you would ever expect. It is sharp edged, capable of taking the Louis Chiron corner with a flick of the steering wheel, a slight drift and some tyre squeaking. It is never a handful, on the contrary the RS6 Clubsport is the closest you would ever get to a drivers orientated M-Powered 5-Series.