Ever since its launch, I’ve been itching to get my hands on the new Audi RS4 Avant. Here we have an estate car that packs a real punch, thanks to a power output of 444bhp. The new model is lighter and sleeker compared to the last model, plus it has ditched the naturally aspirated V8 engine in favour for a turbocharged V6. So does that mean it’s lost its edge?
Strong First Impressions
To look at, the RS4 is a striking, powerful looking car, that boasts a strong road presence. It looks mean and aggressive from just about every angle, helping to separate this model from the more sedate examples in the range. The body is swollen, it sits on big alloys, it has a mean grille at the front and at the back it has exhaust pipes that are capable of waking the dead. Stabbing the accelerator upon start up soon stirs up excitement in a petrolhead’s soul.
Despite all this clout, you get an interior that is extremely civilised and refined, but then again what else would you expect from a flagship Audi? There are plenty of premium materials, including carbon fibre, leather and alcantara, making the inside an extremely nice place to be in. The leather sports seats are comfortable yet supportive and the model tested had the optional panoramic roof, helping to give the cabin an airy feel. You’ve also got plenty of gadgets including a large touchscreen as well as Audi’s stunning Virutal Cockpit.
Forget the interior, let’s talk about the power
As much as I could talk about the interior until the cows come home, what you’re really here for is the power. The new model has ditched the 4.2 litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, and in its place is a 2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol. It may not be any powerful when it comes to bhp – it’s the same as the previous model – but where the gains really come in to play is in the torque department. You see, the V8 produced a respectable 430Nm, but the smaller V6 offers a whopping 600Nm.
How does that calculate in the real world though? The previous car, is able to hit 62mph in 4.7 seconds, whereas the new model is able to do the same sprint in just 4.1 seconds. Staggering for a car that is almost 1,800kg and is able to transport 5 people and a decent amount of luggage. The top speed is limited to 155mph however, but that can be lifted to 174mph if you pay the lovely people a fee of £1,450.
This Germanic grunt is fed to all four wheels courtesy of Audi’s famous Quattro system via an 8-speed tipronic automatic gearbox. There are of course different driving modes on offer, but for my short and sweet drive, I decided to leave the car in Dynamic – I mean, why wouldn’t you? Let’s talk about that power; not only is it linear, but it’s also brutal and unrelenting. The mere prod of the throttle opens up 6 cylinders of fury, pinning you back in your seat in the process.
However, that’s not the most impressive aspect of this car. That lies in the way it keeps its four corners on the blacktop. You expect it to be grippy, especially as the Quattro system, but my word, this is something else. The fact that the tarmac was warm was another help as well of course, but the amount of speed the RS4 is able to through the corners is almost other worldly. It feels like you’re defying phyics, and that you feel like you should be appearing in some of comic strip.
What about understeer though? This is a problem that has plagued many a fast Audi. However, in my short drive in the RS4, I couldn’t detect any worth noting. In fact, I even got the back end to wag a little bit thanks to a bit of trail braking. People say that the RS4 is a bit too cold and clinical, and that it lacks personality. Yes, I can sort of see where they are coming from, but the RS4 is such a capable machine that I feel as if that wouldn’t matter to me if I were to own one.
The grip and engine are strong performers, but what about that 8-speed tiptronic? Like the rest of the car, it works away with such a precision that even the most pedantic, demanding German would be happy with its efficiency. The changes are sharp and crisp, whether you have it in manual mode or left to its devices, which is great both when you want to get a move on, or when you want to simply cruise.
And that’s the joy of the RS4, I feel like it’s a car that allows you to have your cake and eat it. On one hand, it’s a fire breathing performance car, but on the other, it’s a refined estate car that offers a big boot and plenty of room for 5 occupants. Could it be the ultimate daily? It could well be. Yes, I know at a price of £62,215 it’s far from cheap – especially once you add options – but my word you get a a lot of car for the money.
The RS4 is fast, stylish, premium, spacious, and comfortable – it really is the full package if you ask me.