AUDIS IN THE (OULTON) PARK
Well… Should the opportunity ever arise then GRAB it with both hands.
Yesterday we attended an Audi Sport Showcase at Oulton Park with little or no idea of what was involved other than to test drive Audi RS cars comprising RS4 Avant, RS5 Coupe, RS5 Cabriolet, RS6 Avant, RS7 Sportback, TTRS Plus Coupe, TTRS Roadster, R8 and R8 Roadster (the RS4 and TTRS Plus my choice) and have a nice Audi lunch.
On arrival we had to do the usual signing-in and provide licence details. Following we were handed the keys of a near-new RS4 Avant and given a 'suggested' 20-mile route to follow (back lanes, dual carriageways, main roads, villages, etc), alternatively we could just go our own way. Unfortunately we inadvertently diverted from the proposed route (she's never been good at directions) so did maybe 23-miles in all.
Oh, and the Audi guy asked me to give it a blast-off across the car park first, so I did; later to be told I'd been the only one who'd taken him seriously…
To say the RS4 is 'amazing' is an understatement, and I seriously like my RS3, but the immediacy of the acceleration, superb light application but mega effective brakes, faultless traction on wet/damp/leafy/muddy roads, and noise are the best collectively that I've ever experienced in a road car. Most noticeable is the RS4's quattro drive train as it's full on 100% of the time so over the slippy stuff down the lanes it was pure traction with ZERO slippage during floored-pedal standing starts. Oh, and we averaged 11.7mpg away and back to Oulton Park, and I wasn't overtaken (or followed closely) even once.
Feedback of our experience given we were given the keys to a near-new TTRS Plus: same route again that this time we'd remembered correctly and followed. Both myself and RS3copilot sampled this beastie but were both under whelmed: for me it was a mega disappointment after the RS4, and found it not so different to our own 2.0TT other than the pure grunt from the 2.5-litre motor with DSG that we all know and love. 17mpg with the TTRS with more traffic.
Feedback given and then lunch, followed by HOT laps on the FULL Oulton Park track with amazingly good professional racing drivers in both an Audi S5 Coupe ad then an RS6 Avant. Both cars had already used a set of brake pads and tyres that morning and were well into the second set when it came to our turn around 2.45pm. It is the ease at which these guys can push a standard road car around a racetrack that's so impressive, and so smooth.
And I didn't know (until approaching quickly at very quick pace) that Oulton Park had replicated the Nordscheife's 180º Karussel (Shell Oils Corner); sliding these quattro drive animals out of that was amazing, in both cars.
Conclusion, the twin turbo V8 RS6 is the heavier of the two cars (1925kg against 1815kg, and feels it!) and while it produces more grunt (560PS and 700Nm against 330PS and 440Nm) down the straight bits the lighter supercharged V6T S5 was the more eminently more chuckable and therefore enjoyable while equally impressive.
At the end of the day it was back home using the A49, A41 and A5 in the RS3, and Bluey didn't disappoint. Ok, I could easily convince myself that an RS4 is the better road machine but, for me the RS3 loses very little; one day, maybe, one day…
Oh, I almost forgot to include the RS3 element, stunning!
Huge appreciation to Stafford Audi and Swansway Garages for a truly memorable day.