Even so this might not surprise too many of you used to reading about the exploits of motoring journalists in esoteric slices of automotive exotica whose titanium wheel nuts they could not afford, much less the cars themselves. But this car is not one of them. It’s a standard production Audi estate, called the RS6 Performance. And it really does have six hundred horsepower.
To me, a man whose love of cars was kindled in the 1970s, this seems almost incomprehensible. To see why, let’s take that figure and cut it into three, throw away two of the remaining chunks and leave ourselves with a mere 200bhp. In the 1970s that was a whole lot of power. It was more, for instance, than Ferrari could extract from the V6 in the back of the 246GT. No standard Porsche 911 got near 200bhp for the entire decade: you needed an RS, Carrera or Turbo for that.
By the time the 1980s were underway, 200bhp cars were far more common but, vast saloons aside, still the domain of proper performance cars. Audi made much of the fact that the original Quattro offered 200bhp, as well it might: in 1980 it was a number of which to be proud. And remember the original Ford Sierra Cosworth, that mighty, scary, bewinged monster that bestrode road and track in then 1980s? 204bhp. That’s all. Today Ford will sell you a showroom standard Fiesta that will produce 215bhp on overboost.