Everyone I have spoken to about the Audi RS6 Avant seems enthralled. It’s not hard to see why when you’re dealing with a great-looking car, with all the practicality of any Audi estate which packs a 580bhp punch thanks to a twin turbo 5-litre V10 motor that started life in a Lamborghini and would, were it not for electronic intervention, accelerate the RS6 to not far off 210mph.
I was expecting great things but have to report that after the superb RS4 and near-miraculous R8, the £77,625 RS6 fails to extend the winning run of Audi’s in-house performance arm, Quattro GmbH. It’s as quick as they claim, nicely put together and attractive, but is ultimately not that great to drive. There’s over two tonnes of it to haul around – and it feels it, whether you’re driving normally, in which case it feels remote, or flogging it to death, whereupon your point to point speed is impeded by substantial understeer.
I’ve just spent a day in its closest rival, BMW’s M5 Touring, and while it is not so quick in a straight line, it’s more fun and engaging regardless of how it’s driven. Yes it’s uglier, less well built and has an annoying seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox, but were this choice mine, I’d take the BMW every time – and save almost 10 grand.