Here is the latest version of Audi’s RS4 Avant. It’s lighter, faster and more powerful than before, and - trying to avoid the cliché - it really is a car that does everything.
The engine has been downsized from the old V8 to a twin-turbocharged V6 engine. It’s not as if you would notice, though, as you have 443bhp underneath your right foot to play with.
Economy and practicality are also both improved, making it perfect for family drivers who don’t want to sacrifice performance for the purpose of practicality.
The looks have also been greatly enhanced, with a wider and more muscular stance than the old version. On the inside, Audi has installed its Virtual Cockpit – a driver-focused infotainment system. It’s all very modern, classy and luxurious.
The new RS4 Avant is powered by a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. It produces 443bhp and 600Nm of torque, allowing it to get from 0-60mph in a blistering 3.9 seconds.
An eight-speed single-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels, and allows for superb traction in nearly every weather.
The turbochargers have also been mounted inside of the ‘V’ in the engine. This allows for a sharper power delivery as well as better fuel economy.
Ride and handling
With 443bhp to play with, the RS4 is hugely exhilarating to drive. It’s easy to drive fast, too, thanks to a smooth power delivery.
For a single-clutch gearbox, the gearshift changes are incredibly smooth in automatic mode, and sharp when you stick it in manual. The quattro all-wheel-drive system also allows for excellent traction.
The negative with the RS4 Avant is the ride. In regular guise, it is just far too firm to use on UK roads. We also had a go in a car fitted with the optional dynamic chassis, and it’s certainly a box that is worth ticking. It transforms the RS4 Avant, making it more user-friendly, and, more to the point, pleasant to use on British roads.
Interior and equipment
As with any Audi, the interior of the Avant impresses. The RS4 is no exception. All interior surfaces are finished in high quality materials, and it’s very well put together. Even the sports seats are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of adjustment, while you sit low in the seats.
It’s still spacious, too, thanks to good rear legroom and even a sloping roofline doesn’t seem to impede on headroom. The boot is also very spacious, and is really a big part of what makes up a fast estate. Yet, despite its monstrous performance, the RS4 is perfectly comfortable and spacious to cover long journeys in.
On the equipment front, the RS4 comes as standard with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system, a 10-speaker sound system and sports seats trimmed in nappa leather. It’s very well-equipped, although you would hope for a £60,000 fast estate.
The RS4 is not a cheap car, starting at £62,175 for even a ‘basic’ car. Tick a few boxes, though, and this price will soon start shooting up. One option we would definitely go for is the previously mentioned Dynamic Chassis Control, although it is pricey as a £2,000 option.
Audi is also releasing a Carbon Edition model, that costs £72,175. It includes matrix LED headlights, an RS sports exhaust and a raft of carbon-fibre styling extras.
As for running costs, the RS4 Avant is thirsty, but not as bad on fuel as you might expect for a 440bhp petrol estate car. Downsizing the engine has improved the running costs, managing 32.1mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 200g/km.
The new RS4 remains true to Audi’s philosophy for a performance estate. It is fast, hugely practical and very well built. It combines supercar pace with everyday usability, in an extremely good-looking and luxurious package.
It’s a bit expensive, though, and it’s annoying that you have to choose options to get the spec it should have been when it came out of the factory – the optional ride mainly. But otherwise, it is one of the best everyday sports cars currently on the market.