You might want to sit down for this bit. The standing start acceleration numbers the Audi RS6 recorded are genuinely staggering. This is a luxury estate car – five metres in length and more than 2.1 tonnes in weight with a driver aboard, remember – that could outsprint the last Porsche 911 GT2 we figured to 60mph. 2070 kilograms, 3.7 seconds, without the aid of launch control: unprecedented stuff.
And it would still be in touch with the mega Porsche – just two tenths of a second behind, in fact – going through a standing quarter mile.
Of much more import is the fact that the car roars through 100mph more than a second sooner than the last RS6 could (8.7- versus 9.9sec), and three tenths of a second before the current BMW M5. The BMW’s the faster car from 120mph onwards, but it’s also the lower, lighter option.
If taking two cylinders away from a car always had this effect, the whole industry would be doing it. The speed never feels savage, but on a less-than-perfectly-grippy surface the car can be spinning power away at both axles well beyond 60mph with the ESP switched out. It’s full-on and unrelentingly urgent, though, until well into three figures, the engine as flexible as it is brutishly potent under full load.
Funny thing is, that same engine is subtle, suave and affable at lighter loads. The accelerator pedal is calibrated with expert judgement. The first inch of travel is gentle enough to allow an easy wafting step off, and the urgency under foot builds steadily as you dig deeper. Only when you get into the last inch-and-a-half before the carpet does the car really bare its teeth, when the exhaust finally clears its throat and issues a tuneful multi-tonal bellow.
So the car’s easy to drive and delightfully mannered when want it to be – which, let’s face it, is most of the time. The eight-speed torque converter transmission imposes absolutely no compromise on shift smoothness. It could be a bit quicker in manual mode at times. But, like the rest of the car, it mainly just leaves you in awe that such bald speed can be packaged with this much luxuriousness and onboard space.