An utterly beguiling car. And it feels so relevant today – its performance hasn’t been hugely outstripped, it’s still good to drive, and the interior is laid out in a way that doesn’t feel its age.
When the first Audi RS6 launched in 2002, the RS badge was in its infancy. Just two cars had worn it previously – the RS2 and RS4, both sold only as estates.
The ‘C5’ RS6 was sold as both a saloon and Avant, though fast Audis have always been intrinsically linked with the latter body style. In this model’s case, you can possibly thank pre-Bond Daniel Craig in Layer Cake for that.
It was a perfect bit of car casting for a cool gangster type, a hugely characterful and quite naughty car clothed in a crisp, subtle body. A whole 17 years after its introduction, we’d argue this RS6 is more appealing than ever.
And with prices of good C5s starting at £10,000 – about the same as speccing ceramic brakes on a current Audi RS6 – it looks temptingly attainable, too.
The RS6 launched with a twin-turbo 4.2-litre V8, co-developed with Cosworth in the UK, producing 444bhp. That was enough for a 4.9-second 0-62mph time and the de rigueur 155mph limited top speed so associated with German performance cars.