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Progress report: Audi RS6 group test

2 months ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


22 February 2024

There is a small pocket of the Ogmore Valley in South Wales that looks like it belongs in the Alpes-Maritimes. Where the road turns back on itself like a startled puppy, the hillsides rise high above your head in steep, rocky screes. The whole place is a giant funnel, collecting the millions of gallons of rainwater that must fall here each year and diverting much of it towards a stream that runs south towards the River Ogmore and eventually into the Bristol Channel.

But not all of it. A great deal of that rainwater runs down the hillsides and over the road, dragging countless rocks, like vicious tyre-biting gremlins the size of your fist, onto the highway. We kicked as many as we could to the verge, realising that any one of them could take a chunk out of a sidewall or a wheel rim, but still those nasty little beasties caused one of our quartet to limp off for an early bath.

What’s more, those endless downpours seem to destabilise the entire hillside, so the road surface is badly subsided in parts. It is patched up and stitched together by the local authority in a never ending cycle, but still the road gradually slips ever closer to the valley floor. Leave it alone for a few months and it would look like a Dali painting, slowly melting down the mountainside…

A nuisance for Bridgend County Borough is a blessing for road testers. Using that mere quarter-mile of road we get to assess a car’s ride, its body control, its steering precision and grip, the balance of its chassis, the quality of its damping, the power and consistency of its brakes, the response of its engine and plenty more besides. And on that mere quarter-mile, two of our four cars were shown to be so far out of their depth as to be drowning, while the others equipped themselves just fine. The miles of road that reach out in all directions from that point are prime road testing ground too, but that little slice of the Alpes-Maritimes in this Welsh hillside gully is irreplaceable.

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