In Germany, in German car mags to be specific, they do things somewhat differently from the way we do over here. They don’t 'do' subjective impressions. Instead, they generate numbers – lots and lots of numbers – and then they crunch those numbers until they produce a verdict.
So if car A manages to out-stop, out-accelerate, out-grip and out-economise car B and so on, it wins, basically, and that’s that.
Over here, though, we crunch the numbers just as vigorously as they do over there, but then having crunched those numbers we take a step back and introduce that greyest of grey areas, otherwise known as the subjective impression. And this, in a nutshell, is what makes a UK car mag’s opinion that little bit warmer to read than those in Germany.
Due to a culture that has built up here over many, many decades, we try to put you, the reader, behind the wheel of whatever car we’re writing about, and inevitably that means resorting to personal opinion.
But having now read various different pieces about the new Audi RS6 in particular, I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t all just adopt the German model and be damned – because the inconsistency of overall judgement about the RS6 must be extraordinarily confusing if you happen to be a reader of UK car magazines and websites.
We at Autocar, for instance, found the car to be excellent on its launch but then damned it with faint praise once we’d got it back here in the UK for a full road test. Despite being hugely rapid and beautifully made blah blah blah, it was deemed not quite soulful enough to merit more than a three-and-a-half-star verdict. Yet over on PistonHeads, they herald the RS6 as the motorised equivalent of the second coming. And the more UK-based opinions you seek about the car, the more variation you will find.
So, what to do? Do we go Teutonic and present you with a mind-numbing series of numbers, followed by a clinical but hard-to-argue-against final result? Or should we keep on trying to insert you behind the wheel of cars such as the RS6 and risk the odd inconsistency in opinion every once in a while along the way?
Until recently, I‘ve been very much in favour of the latter, but post-RS6 I’m no longer so certain. And the most important question of all is: what do you lot think?