Image, as anyone in sales will know, is a powerful work tool both for self motivation and for its impact on potential customers.
Yet, it can be dangerous to choose the ‘wrong’ image in our working lives as both our columnists, Adam Corbally and The Gatekeeper, have pointed out where, on occasion, an overly showy persona can be counter-productive in securing a good image in the eyes of both colleagues and prospects.
So enter the new Audi RS6 Avant. To the uninitiated, this is just a highly stylised estate car, happy to run the kids to school or take the Labrador out on his weekend country walk. And only the cognoscente will know why the car looks lower, squatting down on its huge 20-inch alloys and that many of the body panels are aluminium instead of steel.
That’s because this is the fastest RS model that Audi have ever produced – its 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 motor pumps out a whopping 557 brake horsepower, which is enough to rocket this extraordinary estate to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds and an ungoverned top speed of 189mph. These figures are supercar impressive in any vehicle let alone a luggage carrier that doubles as an excellent all-round family car.
To be honest, as soon as you open the door, it is clear this is no ordinary parental runabout. The all black soft-touch interior is given a discreetly sporting feel with carbon fibre inlays and aluminium effect highlights. Nestle into the figure-hugging Valcona leather sports seats with race-style integrated headrests and the mission for speed in reinforced.
Yet, cast an eye over your shoulder and there is the full-length carrying capacity of a family estate with a boot space of 565-litres swelling to a van-like 1,680-litres with the rear seats folded.
Pulling away gently with due deference to this beast, you would not think it any different from a mild mannered shopping mule and that’s because it uses cylinder-on- demand technology derived from Formula One. At low and intermediate load, and for most drivers that means most of the time, four cylinders shut down to conserve fuel and C02 emissions allowing this big car to claim a combined fuel economy of 28.8mpg and C02 emissions of 229g/kms.
But stamp the throttle hard and in less than a few hundredths of a second the full howling eight pots come chiming in to provide a spine tingling concerto as you see the scenery blur while being squashed into the bucket seats.
The acceleration is truly staggering thanks in a large degree to an equally heroic 516ft-lbs of torque. And faster than a human hand, the eight- speed tiptronic automatic gearbox rings the changes just when needed and is also impressively quick when using the paddle- shift manual mode.
Holding all this potential mayhem in check is an extensive array of mechanical and electronic assists including three driver mode settings, adaptive air suspension, wavy steel discs, torque vectoring, sports differential and, naturally, Audi iconic Quattro variable four-wheel drive system.
What effect has this on the road? In full flight the RS6 Avant is a terrific country lane blaster able to warp time with the best of the supercars and yet provide a ride that blends excitement with poise and balance albeit with a delightful wiggles of the steering wheel as the tyres struggle to cope with that monstrous torque – all very racy!
Then, when the fun has to end, it calms down faster than your heart-rate to become an eminently usable piece of sensible transport – until the next time there’s a rush of blood to your head!
Also, for the true sports addicts, you can also upgrade to carbon-fibre discs, sports suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, all-LED headlights and 21-inch alloys. Equipment is also top-grade executive kit including Xenon adaptive all-weather headlights and LED tail lamps, RS driver’s information system, internet navigation and BOSE sound system although you can upgrade to the Bang & Olufsen 15-speaker 1,200 watt system for the music purist.
None of this sounds cheap but starting from £76,985, the new RS6 Avant is actually a little cheaper than the old model. And to have supercar performance with an image that will not lose you colleagues and customers to the Green-eyed monster, the RS6 Avant will win many fans in corporate circles.
You can follow all Paul’s automotive and transport news on Twitter @PaulMyles_
Engine: 4.0-litre twin turbo
Top Speed: 189mph(unlimited)