Mean looking. Few manufacturers possess a blistered-arch history as distinguished as Audi’s, but even for quattro GmBH the RS6 is a squat, savage thing up close. Dramatic air intakes and a gaping honeycomb grille help tug the A6’s soft expression into a wicked grin. Elsewhere, in proportions almost too big for a single gaze, there’s the sprawling wider stance that could only be the result of a serious four-ringed fettling.
On optional 21in wheels, the car’s presence registers on a scale usually reserved for Manga animation. While the outside might be amply endowed with adolescent fantasy, the inside is all business. The piano black and brushed aluminum cabin is a sculpted siren song to the car’s middle-age, high-income buyer. Aside from the badges and associated brouhaha it feels much like it is: a seriously well kitted-out A6.
Without the blustery sports exhaust fitted, it fires into life much like one, too. There’s the merest whiff of a snarl, and then the V8 disappears into a noiseless, lavishly refined background.
So consistent and unrelenting is the new turbocharged V8 that, flat out, it better resembles a prodigious and violent winch than a sophisticated petrol motor. In a straight line (and, tellingly, on the autobahn) the pick-up, eagerness and capacity for giving its digital readout a workout is phenomenal, if not as organically satisfying as the high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 aboard the RS4.
It’s predictably less visceral than a supercar, but the RS6’s poise beyond 150mph is something to behold: no nervousness, no elevated sense of dynamic anxiety, just an unflappable grasp of the fast-departing Tarmac.
In this guise – a sadly unfamiliar one to British motorists – the car is terrific. Away from the motorway, its extraordinary capabilities are desensitised by an electromechanical Dynamic steering system that wants to be light and direct at slower speeds, and hefty and reassuring at pace.
By not being either dependably, the car is too often and too easily the victim of piloting second guesses, and the driver is left to be overly reliant on a basic faith in the all-wheel-drive chassis to judge turn-in speed. The affect of this detachment will differ from person to person, but even with an almost total lack of feedback, the RS6 can still be driven cross country outrageously quickly. If only because the limits of its traction and acceleration are so wildly permissive that one could quite easily encounter a prison cell before finding them on the road.
Inside the performance envelope there is evidence of handling spirit displayed by the RS4. Although more nose heavy and cumbersome, the asymmetrical torque distribution keeps sufficient drive at the rear axle to make the RS6 feel like it is being pliably pushed under throttle rather than benignly pulled.