It seems Audi was getting tired of having sand kicked in its face by the 500 hp V10 BMW M5 and the 507 hp V8 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, so they slapped a couple of turbos on the Lamborghini-derived 5.0 L V10 in the S6 Avant, et voilà: 580 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft of thundering torque available from 1500 to 6250 rpm. In a wagon. Pure insanity.
For 2009, the sedan gets the RS6 treatment.
The Europe-only package is completed by dark-finish 19-inch alloys lurking within blistered bodywork, three-stage electronic damping, a six-speed paddle-shiftable auto-box, and Quattro all-wheel-drive with a 60 per cent rear bias.
Inside you'll find highly bolstered sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel (all real suede in this tester that costs the equivalent of about $150,000) that signal things to come.
Press the start button on the console and the V10 barks to life and settles into a somewhat off-beat, flatulent idle. Not pretty but ominous as a pea-green sky.
Rumbling down the dirt road from Schloss Dyck Castle, the ride was firm but not harsh. Once on a straight stretch of tarmac, the hammer went down and the RS6 exploded towards the horizon. The blown V10 bellows like a moose in heat, the wastegates wuffle between shifts and your corneas come perilously close to meeting your retinas. On the autobahn, it was pulling with this ferocity at 225 km/h.
The RS6 does not drive like the lithe 420 hp V8 RS4. It's big, it's front heavy, the steering is a bit numb but it does have more grip than you'll ever use on public roads. Most of all, it's just stupid, laughably fast.
And they say the Germans don't have a sense of humour.