This is a heavy car, and it feels it on UK roads. The steering is weighty even in the lightest of its three modes, and slow to respond, so you need quite a bit of lock in tighter corners. You can add ‘Dynamic Steering’ as an option, which brings a variable rack that gets quicker to respond as you go faster, but it also makes the response feel inconsistent so we favour the standard, slower set-up.
Predictable, active four-wheel drive gives it face-aching grip levels, and body control is well controlled on the standard air suspension or the optional Sports Suspension, so there is real enjoyment to be had in threading the RS6 through broad, fast, sweeping bends.
There’s even more thrill to be had in making the most of the explosive straight-line performance. The V8 is an absolute joy; easy to drive smoothly in normal traffic, and then devastatingly fast. There’s no launch control, so it’s just a case of stamping on the right pedal, and revelling in the sheer madness of how quickly this car sucks the horizon towards you.
The Performance model is even more rabid, although you can’t feel much difference in the real world so we’d recommend saving the substantial premium and sticking to the standard RS6.
Ride comfort is a bit of an issue, but sticking to standard adaptive air suspension is definitely the best thing to do. It brings a softer set-up that works better over scruffy roads but doesn’t come at the cost of handling, which is rather heavy-handed anyway. The optional Sports Suspension is expensive and makes thing more uncomfortable. Although the damping rarely lets the big Audi feel jarring, the short-travel suspension has the body bobbing up and down over most roads, and around town it fidgets and shimmies around a lot, never settling, apart from on the motorway.
Refinement is marred by the road noise that rumbles around the cabin at most speeds, but it’s not overly bothersome and wind noise doesn’t intrude too much. The engine is a smooth-revving delight, and while the automatic gearbox can need a momentary pause before it kicks down on request, it shifts smoothly and precisely otherwise. In fact, the engine noise is one of the RS6’s greatest selling points, with the V8 giving out a rebellious and intoxicating wail when you accelerate hard.