First drive: Litchfield’s tuned, 750bhp Audi RS6

What is it?

An Audi RS6.

I can see that. What more is it?

It’s an Audi RS6 that has been lightly modified by a British firm called Litchfield to liberate more horsepower from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Because 552bhp and 516lb ft clearly wasn’t enough.

When you say lightly modified…?

Just an engine management tweak and an exhaust. Which means 750bhp and 700lb ft. That’s right, Ferrari F12-beating horsepower and more torque than either a LaFerrari or McLaren P1.

Or put another way, an additional 198bhp and 184lb ft from nothing more than a fiddle with the ECU and a freer breathing exhaust. Not bad, eh?

How is this even possible?

Iain Litchfield reckons the 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo is one massively over-engineered engine because of the range of products the VW Group uses it in – everything from Bentleys and Audis to – we expect – the Lamborghini Urus SUV.

It’s their go-to big bhp performance engine, so a lot of work has been put into its development. It uses very strong components, such as the pistons and conrods, that will cope with a lot more power than the RS6 produces as standard. And this extends to the gearbox and Quattro drivetrain, too. Neither has been altered at all.

Oh, and Litchfield claims that 750bhp is nowhere near the limit. “I reckon we could take it beyond 800bhp’, he tells me, “but actually where it is now is far enough”.

What? We could have more than 750bhp? I demand more!

You don’t need more. You really don’t. A 750bhp RS6 is utterly ludicrous. Audi claims the standard car does 0-62mph in 3.9secs, but it doesn’t. I ran a long termer last year and just before it went back, nicely run in with 26,000 miles on the clock, it hit 60mph in 3.4secs and 100mph in 7.9secs.

So I took the test gear along and stuck it on the Litchfield. It was a damp December day and yet the RS6 hit 60mph in 3.2secs and 100mph in 6.7secs. That’s 911 Turbo S fast. On a nice dry day I reckon it might well dip below three to 60mph.

Whew, that is fast. How does it feel?

Mighty. Ridiculous. Entirely ballistic. Unutterably savage. Much quicker and noisier than standard. It devours fourth or fifth gear as easily as the standard one munches through third.

There’s no additional lag, you just apply throttle and the engine note deepens, the rear end squats and then you’re much further up the road, probably arriving at the next corner wishing you’d specified the carbon ceramic brakes.

And because it’s 4wd you can use so much of the power, so much of the time. The fat tyres wrapped around the 21-inch wheels give stunning straight line traction and grip hard in corners, too, just be warned this is still a near two-ton motor, and will eventually run out of body control on a rough road. At which point you’ll discover just how fast you’re going…

How does it sound?

That, to a certain extent, is up to you. Just to expand for a moment, Litchfield offers three stages of RS6 conversion. The first is a simple engine management tweak that costs £600 and liberates an extra 100bhp. That looks ferociously good value.

Step up to Stage 2 and £2,637 buys you a new Milltek exhaust and 730bhp, or for £4,939 you can have this stage three kit with an even freer-breathing Milltek exhaust and 750bhp. Now, I suspect the pound signs have distracted you, but ignore the money for a second, because you can spend more by further upgrading the exhaust.

Ours had the top-end Akrapovic system which was more amplifier than gas discharge pipe. Put it this way – it makes a Jaguar F-Type sound positively declawed. Each gearchange is a thunderclap, each lift an artillery barrage. It’s comical. And silenceable (if that’s even a word) via the settings menu. There’s a short video in the gallery. That’ll show you what I mean. 

Sounds mighty…

It does, and best of all, when you back right off you’ll find there’s nothing demanding or intimidating about pootling around in it. It has the same soft, composed throttle response at low speeds and mooches about town very effortlessly, but unleashing hell? That’s just a twitch away.

If anything the power delivery is even sharper and less laggy, and the way the thrust builds and builds as the needle spins higher and higher is dizzying. It’s a very, very well integrated set-up.

You’re back talking about power again…

Of course I am. It’s the sheer unfathomable thrust of this RS6 that’s so bewildering. It’s one of those cars that no matter what else you drive – fast sports bike, F1 car – you’d get back in and be struck once again by how fast this family wagon is.

And £4,939? Well that’s less than Audi charges for the optional B&O sound system – and what matters more, watts or bhp? Sorry, rhetorical question.

Specs

3999cc V8 twin turbo, 750bhp @ 6200rpm, 700lb ft @ 3000rpm, 29.4mpg, 223g/km, 0-60mph in 3.2secs, 190mph+, £4,939 plus RS6 £79,089.