When people think of surf wagons, they often go straight for the classic Volkswagen Camper. Split screen, boards on the roof and plenty of space inside – it’s easy to understand why they were adopted by the surfing community.
Nowadays however, the estate car is a far more appealing prospect. With plenty of space on offer, and a far more ‘road friendly’ driving style, they make for a better day-to-day car – one not just reserved for the beach.
However, how does Audi’s RS6 Performance – a V8-powered, 597bhp super-estate – fare as a vehicle for surfboard transportation, as well as one for the everyday.
To begin with, the RS6 is simply vast – and that’s good for these purposes. It can offer 565 litres of boot space with the rear seats raised, increasing to a massive 1,680 litres with them folded down. We actually found that you could easily store two surfboards inside the car with the back seats flat – ideal when you’ve forgotten the roof bars, or when the weather outside doesn’t suit carrying something on the roof.
That said, when you’re not folding the rear seats flat there’s a huge amount of room in the cabin. With plenty of storage options available throughout the interior, it never feels cluttered, while those sat up front are treated to acres of space.
Then there’s the engine. In an age where electric and hybrid vehicles are on the rise, there’s something wonderful about having control of a 597bhp V8 under you right foot. It’s not just savagely quick – 0-60mph takes just 3.7 seconds – but refined too, happily settling down when not under full load. Thanks to cylinder deactivation technology, it can be coaxed into relatively good economy too, with our 250-mile journey from Hampshire to Pembrokeshire returning close to 30mpg – not bad for a car with more power than a Ferrari 458.
— Jack Evans (@jackrober) July 27, 2017
The RS6 is also – and this is thanks to the excellent Quattro system – really accessible during daily driving. We encountered some pretty awful weather – think driving rain and strong winds – and the Audi never once troubled its traction control system, even when leaving slippery junctions or while travelling down muddy country roads.
Leaving driving aside for one moment, the RS6 really does make for an excellent surf car. One point of contention was the lack of a gap underneath the car’s roof rails. Normally, there’s a space underneath the roof-mounted rails which you can pass your lashing straps through and easily tie down your surfboards in a horizontal fashion – tied across the width of the car.
However, because there’s no gap under the RS6’s bars, it makes attaching something to the roof bars a little trickier – you need to tie your lashing straps diagonally in order to properly strap down whatever it is you’re putting on the top of the car. We used Audi’s own roof bars, though these weigh in at a hefty £214.
Once they are attached, however, it’s plain sailing from there. We struggled a little at first with ensuring that the straps were tight enough – at one point we had to hold on to the boards while moving along to ensure that they didn’t fly away – but after a short amount of time we found the right amount of tension. Plus, because of the car’s length, there wasn’t any board overhand to worry about.
There is, of course, a bit of a catch to the RS6 – the price. Our test car, fitted with extras such as ceramic brakes and night vision assistance, came in at a staggering £102,265. It’s a remarkable amount of money, but then the big Audi is a remarkable car. It a genuine all-rounder – practical, supremely fast and delightfully understated. Only those who know what it is will point it out, whereas the vast majority of passers-by dismiss it as just another A6 – and that’s a very good attribute indeed.
For the purposes of surfboard transportation, we can thoroughly recommend it. If the waves fail to appear, then at least you can fall back on a car with huge amounts of performance, as well as an impressive amount of practicality.