Ever since it started making seriously rapid estate cars over 25 years ago (hands up who recalls the Porsche-developed RS2 Avant?), Audi’s mission appears to have been to see how much madder it can make the next one. But now it seems even Audi has conceded that there should be more to such cars.
So this latest RS6 is actually a touch less powerful than the ‘Performance’ version of its predecessor, though few are likely to complain about 591bhp. It’s over 100kg heavier too, so it will be slower.
Who cares? This is a far better car because it’s so much more rounded in its abilities. It’s a lot more comfortable and quiet too, even on massive 22in rims. But the big difference is that it’s not just a straight-line machine any more. With standard four-wheel steering effectively shortening the wheelbase, it feels far more wieldy, a car you can aim down a decent road without the frustration of having to spoon-feed it through the corners. I did 0-180mph down a runway which was frankly easy and not terribly interesting, but then took the long way home and had far more fun.
Here’s hoping this RS6 is not a one-off, but signifies a change of attitude at the Audi Sport division that developed it. So many fast Audis of the past have failed to deliver the thrills they have promised on paper, but this one almost does. I will await the next one with more than usual interest.
Engine 4.0 litres, 8 cylinders, turbocharged
Power 591bhp at 6000rpm
Power to weight 185bhp per tonne
Transmission eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Top speed 189mph (limited)
Verdict A refined, strong all-rounder
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