Performance. It’s what we look for in a powerful car. And it’s what we look for when we go to the theatre. Put them together and you arrive here. The RS6 Avent has always been something of an event but with the Performance badge there is even more theatre.
The £7000 premium brings you 45bhp. That may not seem much but it’s not the entire total. There is another 560bhp to add to it, so a total of 605bhp sounds theatrical enough. That also brings in 516lb ft of torque although overboost will briefly allow you 533lb ft. You’ll know about it, and so will others, because you also get the Sport exhaust. The package also includes Drive Select, 21in alloys and some discreet titanium trim.
From the outside you’d know this was something special even though Audi continues its trend of ensuring that there is nothing vulgar on display here, just a quiet air of menace. It’s the sort of subtlety you’d spot in your rear-view mirror as this things hoves into view. It’s an estate car, sure, but there’s also something about it coming up behind you that would make you give it space. It’s like the difference between the silhouette of a dolphin and a shark.
The performance of that 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is simply staggering. You can trundle along fairly happily with the engine seeking higher gears and the noise quite restrained. You can go shopping, put tons of stuff in the boot, load up the children and it all works perfectly sensibly and reasonably.
And then you’ve finished dropping the children off at their friends, the tip run is done and you get to head home on your own. Only home isn’t this way, a long and demanding road is this way, straights interconnected by corners. And the Audi estate car unleashes all its terrible performance. Terrible, as in evincing terror. It just hurtles forward, bellowing, roaring, and the next corner is suddenly there, before you were expecting it.
It’s staggering the way it eats distance, accelerates nearly two tons, and dispenses with roads, counties and anything in its way. However it seem to handle the corners fairly hard sometimes but you need to play with the settings. This isn’t a brilliantly handling car, or that’s not its forte anyway. Instead this is about shrinking distances between corners.
Quite how a standard car deals with corners isn’t something we can answer here as our test car had the Dynamic Package Plus added to it, and £11,500 added to the price tag. This means the RS Sports Suspension was on there and it can be very firm. But you can also set it in Comfort, or Dynamic mode, the latter giving you softer suspension but full-fat power. It’s an addictive and enticing combination. You won’t be home for a while.
That package also includes the ceramic brakes and, such is the speed at which you rock up to any given corner, they do make some sense. We’re not crazy about the Dynamic Steering on offer, but you’ll be getting round that corner somehow.
It’s fairly easy to add things like that package and end up with a car costing six figures. Given that depreciation will probably be high, that’s not a sensible thing to do. But this isn’t a sensible estate car. It’s wonderfully put together, discreet by the standard of these things and completely insane when you let it have its head. It’s the kind of madness you just have to love.
AUDI RS6 PERFORMANCE
Engine: 3,993cc, V8 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic, Quattro all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 605@6,100-6,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,750-6,000rpm (553@2,500-5,500rpm on overboost)
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,950kg (EU unladen)
MPG: 29.4 (combined)
Price: £85,085 (£102,755 as tested comprising of £2,100 for Assistance pack, £9,375 for ceramic brakes, £750 for Audi hands-free boot opening system with Advanced key, £250 for Speed limit display, £810 for parking pack, £1,000 for RS Sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, £1,300 for Panoramic glass sunroof, £750 for Audi Connect and Audi Phone Box and £1,335 for on the road costs)