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9/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Audi RS6

£90,560£107,060
9/10
Overall verdict
Audi’s fast five-door family estate now has more brains to go with all that brawn, making it a consummate all-rounder
 

For: 

Bags of attitude, loads of tech and shed loads of speed

Against: 

Sometimes not the most engaging drive. But up there with the quickest

Overview

What is it?

Audi’s practical family car laced with supercar performance. Ever since its collaboration with Porsche in the early Nineties to investigate surprisingly spacious speed courtesy of the RS2, the folks at Ingolstadt have made a name for themselves by producing knuckle-biting, performance-orientated five-door estates. This latest iteration has added sophistication and technology to go with its speed. Boy-oh-boy, a hell of a lot of speed.

Angry-looking thing, isn’t it? Only the front doors, roof and tailgate are shared with a rep-spec A6. And it’s got heaps of attitude: blistered bodywork a whopping 80mm wider than standard, a contemptuous frown (a throwback from the ’84 Sport quattro) and bazooka tailpipes. These features compound for unparalleled presence.

Over the years, the RS6 has had a multitude of engines, including, hilariously, a V10. Now for the fourth-generation, a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 is buried in the nose and can dispatch 592bhp and 590lb ft through the eight-speed auto ‘box and all four wheels. The results are quite something to behold: 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, 0-124mph in 12 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Tick the ‘Vorsprung’ pack, and that top speed rises to 174 mph. Option on some ceramic brakes, and it rises yet again to 190mph.

This supercar performance is paired with a boot that’s capable of swallowing 1,680 litres of stuff, making it a direct competitor for the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate and Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo. But, with prices starting at £92k, it undercuts them all. No wonder the RS6 is not so much catnip, but black tar heroin for petrolheads who don’t want to be banished to eternal damnation and hum-drum kid-friendly crossovers.

The new RS6 certainly isn’t as blunt as the previous car – that was a V8 warhead with a boot attached. This is more multi-faceted and intelligent. There’s cylinder deactivation, a keen coasting mode and 48V mild hybrid assistance. (Take that hybridisation with a pinch of salt, as the battery in the boot doesn’t provide any propulsion.) It’s also a lot plusher inside, with better use of materials, stacks of digitisation and seemingly infinite customisation and configuration.

Power is still sent to all four wheels, and you can’t disable the front driveshafts like an E63. In real-world situations, this means you can use a ridiculous amount of that near 600bhp grunt all the time. That’s the difference quattro makes; it gives you traction and confidence. Plus, thanks to new chassis tech such as optional four-wheel-steering and a Sports Differential (standard in the UK) it’s more agile and accurate than ever. Oh, and for the first time in its 25-year history, the Audi Sport team is bringing the RS6 to America. Yee-haw!

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
RS 6 TFSI Quattro Vorsprung 5dr Tiptronic
3.6s 268g/km 600 £107,060
The cheapest
RS 6 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
3.6s 263g/km 600 £90,560
The greenest
RS 6 TFSI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
3.6s 263g/km 600 £90,560

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