Pitting a car against the unforgiving elements and wilderness in the Scottish highlands’ North Coast 500 may seem unfair, but when the car in question is the Audi RS 6 Avant performance, the only unfairness is on the roads.
The North Coast 500 runs from Inverness around the wild Scottish Highlands and back again, in 500 miles of rugged beauty and solitary villages. It seems the perfect way to test the new Audi RS 6 Avant performance model, which offers an impressive 45PS more than the standard model, along with a 0-62mph sprint time of only 3.7 seconds.
Leaving Inverness, the sun shines down lazily as the road climbs out of the city and heads first north, then west between Loch Garve and Loch Luichart in Easter Ross. As the hills begin to press closer to the lochs, the road surface begins to deteriorate, punctuated by ever tighter bends as the road narrows into the Bealach na Bà, the ‘Pass of the Cattle’, the highest climb of any road in the UK, rising from sea level to 626 metres.
The bright sunshine disappears within a matter of seconds, replaced by relentless torrents of water falling so fast the windscreen wipers can barely keep up. The flooded mountain roads with hairpin bends and loose gravel scattered everywhere is no match for the quattro technology in the RS 6, and the car speeds on, unperturbed. Reaching the top of the pass, the rain stops as suddenly as it started and clear blue sky reflects from the equally brilliant sea far below. It’s a view worthy of the climb.
Stopping at Durness, a visit to Smoo Cave seems necessary, so the next stop is the beach. In the summer, Colin Coventry gives tours of the cave, exploring the miles of underground tunnels in the winter. Since the North Coast 500 was created, Colin has seen a definite increase in the number of visitors to the cave. ‘Connecting all these roads and telling people about them is a genius idea,’ he says. ‘And it has been incredible for the area.’
Reaching Caithness, the group reaches the very edge of Europe, and it seems incredible that amongst all the congestion of British motorways, places like this still exist; quiet, calm, and utterly breath-taking. It is a setting fit for the undisputed winner of this journey; the Audi RS 6 Avant performance.
Go for a spin in your own Audi RS 6 Avant performance and get back to the roots of driving today; book a test drive with Jardine Motors Audi now.