Audi’s performance models might not have always had a predictable level of ride and handling competence, but one thing you can say for them is that they definitely have a consistency of appearance: this is a fast Audi, and no mistake the Audi RS6 is cut from the same cloth.

Where it does go slightly off the script is in its engine displacement. We’ve mooted before whether cars launched half a decade ago would represent some kind of unwelcome pinnacle for the industry, and if the Audi is any kind of gauge, welcome to the new world: the RS6 features a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 making 552bhp, in place of its predecessor’s 571bhp 5.0-litre V10. 2016 saw the Audi give the RS6 a power boost taking the Performance's output to 596bhp.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
We’ve mooted before whether cars launched half a decade ago would represent some kind of unwelcome pinnacle for the industry, and if the Audi is any kind of gauge, welcome to the new world

That car weighed 2145kg when we popped it on our scales in 2008. Today’s RS6 tipped them at 2010kg. Still no lightweight, but progress of a sort.

The body is all but five-metres in length and a mixed-metal monocoque (mostly steel, but 20 per cent aluminium), inside which is that longitudinally-mounted V8, whose two, twin-scroll turbos sit between the cylinder banks, with exhaust valves, unusually, on the inside of each head to shorten the distance from cylinder-exit to turbo.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Audi range

Driven this week

That drives all four wheels through an eight-speed gearbox, a torque-converted eight-speed rather than a twin-clutch unit, and the driveline features a self-locking centre differential and a limited slip rear differential, to counter some of the natural result of a 55 per cent weight bias towards the front and four-wheel-drive.

The RS6, however, doesn’t resort to the sort of trick that the RS3 does, in having thinner rear wheels than fronts; instead wearing 285-section rubber throughout, on its optional 21in rims backed by (at the front) 390mm discs – 420mm carbon discs are an option. Suspension is, as standard, by air springs, but our test car wore coils. 

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Audi range

Driven this week