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How much? £76,160
On sale in the UK: October 2008
Engine: 4991cc 40v twin-turbo V10, 572bhp @ 6250-6700rpm, 479lb ft @ 6250-6700rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Performance: 4.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph (ltd), 20.3mpg, 331g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1985kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4928/1889/1456
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

By Glen Waddington

First Drives

22 September 2008 09:53

London motor show video

It’s a car of broad abilities, the Audi A6. An eco-friendly 2.0TDIe tax-buster at one end, some slick and savvy V6s in the middle – then this utterly bonkers RS6 road-burner at the other end of the scale. And it truly is upscale, with a 572bhp twin-turbo V10 engine and a list price of £76,160. We’ve had the five-door Avant version for a while now; Audi waited until the facelift to launch the saloon, so here it is.

Hmm, 572bhp you say. So the Audi RS6 quick, is it?

Yes, yes and thrice yes. The RS6 is utterly, rampantly, addictively, oh-my-gawd rapid. So quick it’s worth inventing a new adjective for, complete with a matching expletive.

Not only is it fast, but it sounds great too, with a hard-edged throb at low engine speeds that increases in urgency as the needle whips round the clock. But the best thing about its voice isn’t the climactic snarl, and nor is it the unfettered whoosh of two turbos dumping gobfulls of air into the cylinders. No, it’s the muffled boom as the tiptronic transmission grabs the next ratio. It sounds like a bomb going off under water, except it comes from the boot. It makes you smile and emit a muffled exclamation of your own, every time.

It’s an Audi. Does it handle?

Depends what you mean by handling. This thing grips like cat claws on curtains, and it changes direction with greater haste and agility than a 5.0m length and a two-tonne weight would suggest. And… you know what’s coming.

It just isn’t involving in the way the best sports saloons are, and you can blame the steering. It’s rubbery and numb. Sure, it’s sharp enough, yet you can feel the weight of that engine in the nose and, despite the latest Quattro system’s 60 percent rearward torque bias, there’s never a hint of rear-end throttle steer.

Of course, because it’s so quick and grippy, there are plenty of less enjoyable things to do than drive an RS6 quickly. But it’s a machine of devastating power and towering ability rather than one of enormous character. Impressive yet aloof, the RS6 just isn’t friendly and encouraging in the way BMW’s M-cars are.

Click 'Next' below to read more of our Audi RS6 saloon first drive

Scroll down the page to the embedded player to watch our Audi RS6 Avant video road test     

 

Performance car of the year 2008

 

 
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Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

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sonhjkg

sonhjkg says

RE: Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

It's my favorite car

10 December 2008 15:39

 

kkirkou

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kkirkou says

RE: Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

By the way you describe it, I think that this car should be compared to the Nissan GT-R. It's a machine with enormous capability but it does not involve the driver that much. So, let us know then, who makes the most capable machinery, Audi or Nissan?

23 September 2008 13:30

 

Batty

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Batty says

RE: Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

God I'd love to try one, but ultimately no, I couldn't buy one. I'd struggle to get the M5 as well, purely because the M3 saloon shares the same showroom. I know I'd get the envious glances from enthusiasts in either, but I'd be better of getting one of those new Fiatus models for fun (or a motorbike, or an Atom) and something more soothing (like a Volvo) for travelling in. I respect the buyer if either for their commitment though.

22 September 2008 23:40

 

car4mh

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car4mh says

RE: Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

I think Audi is always going to suffer these sorts of lukewarm reviews in the enthusiast press as long as it remains unwilling or unable to deviate from the formula of massive turbo power + numb steering + unyielding ride quality. Witness the positive response to the RS4, referenced even in this article, which was mostly about being an Audi with steering feel and response from the engine and chassis. For a significant portion of the media, potential buyers and fans, the 'ultimate involvement' factor provided by the chassis and particularly the steering is going to overwhelm the build quality, interior style and quattro traction benefits when considering fast Audis against other sports sedans. I can see Dave's point, and Audi probably could lay claim to being the best all-weather high-performance executive sedans & estates available (evo/sti/GTR fans - please note the "executive sedans" tag before yelling at me). I personally like the RS4 exactly because it addressed the usual Audi perceived failings, while retaining the strengths. But as long as they continue to avoid dealing with the steering issue in particular I doubt that Audi is ever going to claim the top spot with the enthusiast media and community.

22 September 2008 22:55

 

Robby1977

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Robby1977 says

RE: Audi RS6 saloon (2008) CAR review

Agree with JohnnyD on this one. Anything in the extreme league, regardless of sector, is about performing when it counts. If you want sensible buy a Zafira! An analogy I'd make; Kate Moss would be a pain in the ar$e of a girlfriend '99% of the time'..... bet the thrill of the remaining 1% would make it worthwhile mind!

22 September 2008 20:31

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