Audi is a brand I have a slightly on/off relationship with. On a good, day, however, Audi's ability to make completely mad cars appear like utterly sensible and rational purchases remains utterly beguiling. And in its RS Avant models it's stuck consistently to a combination of bonkers power clothed in bodies with just enough visual muscle to make them stand out from the rest of the range. Without attracting the wrong sort of attention. These cars have been very forward thinking too, adopting downsized, twin-turbo V6 and V8 engines to spectacular effect decades before such engines became the industry norm. See also the clever interlinked, roll cancelling DRC damping system, ESP-based 'locking' differentials and dedication to fitting suitably massive brakes up to the job of reining it all in when required.
So I'm looking forward to my turn with the latest RS6. And, inevitably, it's got me browsing the classifieds for old ones. Incredible to see there are examples of the bruising 5.0-litre twin-turbo V10 of the previous generation for just £25K or so. Is there a cheaper way to get a 571bhp (580PS) car on your driveway?
But I like V8s. And the 4.2-litre example in the original C5 RS6 is an interesting one, not just for its 444bhp (450PS) output and thunderous noise. Launched in 2002, and like the twin-turbo V6 RS4, its engine was developed with help from Cosworth, the technology arm of which VW kept after selling the motorsport side back to Ford. Cosworth's proprietary casting technology was used for the intake manifolds and turbo installation, this little-known British connection adding a little geeky garnish on top of the RS6's already appealing combination of ingredients.