I still don’t know why or how, and they never bothered to clarify, but Audi fell out with me about a decade ago and banned me from their review car service.
Was it something I wrote? Was I too honest and critical of one of their cars? I guess so.
Thankfully, with a wee bit of jiggery-pokery, there are alternative means of getting my hands on their products.
And, just to show there are no hard feelings – at least on my part – I would eagerly commend their latest Avant, a thriller of a five-star performer.
The brand new RS6 is an estate car to both excite and entertain and proudly stand its ground in a fiercely competitive arena of well-established rivals.
Its RS tag – Rally Sport – could well stand for Really Special. And that coming from me is rare praise indeed as I’m not a great fan of family estate transport. They’re too often unwieldy – vast, lolloping, shaking, shivering examples of clumsiness on the move, with little short of van-like looks.
Not the RS6. It is a rare beauty, a winner on first kerb-side sight and an absolute gem of a star, fronting a trail of throaty exhaust-sound to be envied by any overtaken sports car.
The four-litre engine is a growler and offers a return for your right foot pressure of mind-blowing magnitude, hitting 100kph (62mph) from standstill in under four seconds – and for the size of it that is some special return.
But Audi has been clever with the RS6 – extra specially so. They have lightened the load compared with its rather dismally dull Avant predecessors.
So now, bearing in mind its size, you get really excellent economy, too, and an environmentally sympathetic and more sterile whiff of pollution from a power unit built to satisfy in every sense.
The cabin is spacious, and even the longest-legged like me, whether behind the wheel or the driver, can stretch with un-cramped ease. As for carrying a family… well, mum and the teenage sextuplets would be suitably catered for.
Switch on the engine and – hey, presto! – a wafer-thin touch-screen appears as if by magic in the dead centre of a fascia designed for ease of study and utter convenience.
And the whole plot handles superbly well, however daring you are in your arrival at corners. On the open road, once you’ve chosen the topmost of the paddle-shift operations and are hitting the revs really hard, you remain in a comfort zone, safe and sound.
Would I buy one? Despite my lack of affection for estate cars, I could well be tempted.
And in the light of my very honest appraisal, maybe Audi will now forgive my original sin. Whatever it was!
SPECIFICATIONS: AUDI RS6 AVANT
Engine: 4.0-litre V8
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic
Fuel consumption: 28.8mpg
Top speed: 155mph (250kph)
Performance: 0-62mph (100kph) in 3.9 secs