The first time the world heard the name RS6 was back in 2002 when Audi took its second-generation A6 and squeezed a 4.2-litre, biturbo V8 under the bonnet to produce a 444bhp stealth weapon in estate form. But for the true genesis of what has become the king of the über-estate we need to go back to the launch of the legendary RS2. Born of a co-development project between Audi and future VAG bedmates Porsche, the RS2 was the first time the RennSport (literally racing sport) name had been attached to an Audi and the 311bhp wagon set a precedent for everything to come. While the RS2 was based on the Audi 80 – the predecessor to the A4 – rather than the 100, that first fast wagon can truly be seen as the godfather of the current RS range and especially for those for which its iconic letters are attached to a silly fast estate.
The RS6 would join the increasing arms race of fast luxury barges, battling the M5 and Mercedes’ E55 and 63 as power levels began flying up and up. In the process, the RS6 would find itself powered at one point by a twin-turbo version of the 5.0-litre V10 from Lamborghini’s Gallardo, before returning to the familiar V8 with the age of downsizing. While the RS6 name made its way onto a pair of saloons in its first two eras, after the current generation arrived in 2013, the RS6 became estate-only.