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Audi Sport’s flagship super-estate is now even more devastatingly fast, remorselessly purposeful and more incredible-looking than it ever has been. But while the RS6’s altogether more hawkish appearance might hint at a heightened capacity for engaging its driver, this impression isn’t fully in sync with the way it drives.

The RS6’s unflappable all-weather traction leaves you in awe of its ability to cover ground, but its tight-lipped steering still doesn’t do as much to really involve you in the process as rivals might. Meanwhile, the disparity between the slightly muted audible character of its V8 and the volcanic straight-line performance it affords can be puzzling.

Bigger on luxury and usability than rawness or involvement

The BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 S are both more thrilling devices for different reasons, although only the latter comes in estate form. But the Audi’s luxurious, practical cabin, well-judged ride and overall refinement give it a suitability for everyday use on imperfect roads that neither of its rivals can match.

Being the most usable all-rounder in the class doesn’t necessarily equate to class champion. Even so, the appeal of the RS6 remains impossible to deny.