Tuned: Shot Caller, Audi A6
Having grown up on a healthy dose of reading car magazines, I would inevitably come across a luxury car comparison that pitted a BMW against an Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It was always exciting to read these stories, which would often make the cover, accompanied by headlines that would encourage your aspirational fancies. But once you were done flipping through the pages, the verdict was often a predictable one. If you loved driving, you would be better off sticking with the Bimmer, and if you preferred to be chauffeured around, a three-pointed star would fulfil that task extremely well. An Audi then, would find itself slotting somewhere in between the two. That is, until the boffins at Ingolstadt decided to do something about it.
In the early 2000s, the goatee-grilled A6 might have been ‘just’ an alternative to a Mercedes or a BMW, but in 2011, the all-new A6 posed a headache to its rivals in the inevitable comparison test. It rode well, drove even better, and it looked like a million bucks. The response was so good that Audi even went on to introduce go-faster versions such as the S6 and the RS6 Avant in India in later years, and these were sought after by discerning enthusiasts. It wasn’t like the stock A6 was too far behind either. It might have been the diesel-engined variants which brought in the volumes, but those who have driven a petrol A6 swear that it is a peach to drive. And it is that engine which prompted Fahad, the owner of this blacked-out example, to bring one home. “Everyone is moving to modifying the E350 and the (BMW) 530, 525i,” Fahad says, explaining the trend in his native state of Kerala. The Audi A6 is one of the rarer luxury cars to be found in Fahad’s neck of the woods, and he adds that he picked this car up with the intention of having a comfortable car for the family which could also be tuned for greater performance.
This particular A6 is powered by a naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine, and Fahad was particularly impressed with the refinement of the engine when he drove it for the first time. “If you start the car, it sounds like home. That much silence. The engine is very smooth, and when you switch to Dynamic mode, the car pulls like a rocket!” says Fahad. He is also heavily impressed by the comfort, which is no mean feat, considering that Fahad switched over to the A6 from an E-Class, which has always been regarded as the benchmark for ride comfort in this segment. Ever the enthusiast however, Fahad wanted to eke more power out of his A6 to make drives even more enjoyable. “The initial pickup is a little less, I felt I needed to add more torque,” he says, and soon the A6 was sent off to F42 Customs, Fahad’s customisation shop, to go about achieving that goal.
Trying to achieve greater performance from a naturally aspirated engine is a whole different ball game when you compare it to a turbocharged engine. That didn’t deter the folks at F42 Customs however, and the first order of business was to get the V6 engine to breathe better. This meant installing an APR air intake, from an Audi R8 no less, but it wasn’t exactly a bolt-on fit. Adapting the R8’s air intake for the A6 meant that a lot of the piping had to be custom fabricated out of stainless steel. Along with the air intake, the exhaust of the A6 was also upgraded to a full system exhaust with a Borla Valvetronic endcan. The beauty of this exhaust system is that when the butterfly valves are shut, this A6 would fly under the radar like any other Audi would. Once those valves are opened up however, you can hear the symphony of the 2.8-litre V6 in its entirety. These two relatively simple modifications have bumped up the power as well, and while this car has not been dyno’d yet, Fahad claims the power is now between 220 and 240bhp, compared to the stock power output of 201bhp. There are still a number of parts that are yet to be installed, which include an R8 ignition pack, upgraded injectors and souped-up electricals, all of which will only boost the power further. And to ensure that the A6 continues to stop on a dime, the brakes have been upgraded with EBC Yellow Stuff brake pads.
But even if this A6 did not pack in sports car-shaming performance, it wouldn’t dampen the devilish appeal of this example. Fahad has fitted a sportier body kit from an Audi RS6 and that has endowed this luxury sedan with an armada of carbonfibre parts. Complement them with the car’s all-black colour scheme and upsized 20-inch wheels and you get a luxury sedan that remains unfazed when it comes to commanding presence, even in the company of larger SUVs. And while you might still continue to consider the A6 as the jack of all trades but a master of none, this tastefully modified example clearly shows that it won’t be settling for second place, and would rather prefer to call the shots like a boss.