There's a tangible difference between when you accelerate in a car that's fast and one that's really fast.

Though there may be only a difference of a few kilowatts or fractions of a second getting to 100km/h, you immediately know when you're in the latter when you take off: you're pinned to the seat that little bit harder, eyes open a fraction wider and pulse races a few bpm faster.

The Audi RS6 Avant gives you that feeling. It's seriously quick - 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds - but it's how it gets there that makes it stand out.

Though you can hear its twin- turbo V8 do its thing as you accelerate hard, with the requisite gunshots from the exhaust as the DSG goes through the gears, this isn't a car to over-embellish what's going on by making things louder than they need to be.

It gets up to speed with a brutal efficiency. It's relentless, almost Terminator-like as the needle flies upward; the test car was even T-800-grey, and German too (yes, I know Arnold's from Austria but work with me here).

And yet to look at, the RS6 doesn't really let on as to the lean, mean, machine it is, particularly given its wagon guise. Comfort? Luxury? Sure. But telling friends it was a) more expensive and b) a lot quicker than the Porsche 911 I had the previous weeks drew more than a few surprised responses.

But the refinement hinted at by its appearance isn't a lie; the RS6 Avant is equally adept as a luxury cruiser as it is tarmac-scorching beast. Fitted with digital TV and radio to complement the usual infotainment suspects and with masses of interior room - it's 21mm shy of 5m long - there's space for everyone and their gear.

The suspension is also great; it might be made for silky smooth German highways but the RS 6 can easily handle the rougher elements of Australian roads.

So yes, it has the cruising down pat . . . but that quiet cabin might be a tad too sedate for some buyers looking to drop a quarter of a mill or so on a performance car.

Its cylinder-on-demand technology may help keep fuel down to a claimed 9.8L/100km but only having four of the eight pots firing unless you increase the load means you have to give it a bit to get it to burble properly around town. This means you can feel a tad too constrained on public roads and will also see you use more fuel than the claimed figure.

Personally, I loved every second in the RS6. Its speed and agility are gobsmacking and the sheer rate at which it moves should overcome the desire for loud noises to satiate any speed lust.

It's every bit the upper- class Euro wagon it appears but the RS6 is an absolute hell-raiser at heart.

Model TFSI quattro
Price $225,000
Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Outputs 412kW/700Nm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Thirst 9.8L/100km

Model 63 AMG S
Price $265,145
Engine 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 petrol
Outputs 430kW/800Nm
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Thirst 10.3L/100km

Model 4 AWD
Price $213,500
Engine 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol
Outputs 228kW/400Nm
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Thirst 8.7L/100km

Model M6
Price $299,145
Engine 4.4-litre twin-turbo eight-cylinder petrol
Outputs 412kW/680Nm
Transmission Seven-speed automatic
Thirst 9.9L/100km

The West Australian

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