There are few cars on the market that offer the space and practicality of a station wagon while delivering genuine supercar performance. I would imagine owning an Audi RS4 Avant would be like having a personal assistant that will fetch the kids from school in record time, collect furniture and gardening equipment on the weekend and then casually enter a boxing tournament, defeating everyone while doing some light calculus between rounds. And also happens to be a lingerie model. The latest Avant from Audi is an extremely capable and beautiful machine. Here’s why.
Audi RS4 Avant review by Ciro De SienaEngine Capability
The Audi RS4 Avant borrows the same naturally aspirated 4.2 litre V8 petrol engine from its coupe sibling, the RS5. Audi has decided to keep the RS4 free of superchargers and/or turbochargers, for enhanced driving experience. This is about as close to a racing engine for the road as Audi will sell you, and the feel of a naturally aspirated engine is sought after in this segment of the market. Additionally its closest rivals, the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG, both feature naturally breathing engines. There is no M3 wagon in SA, but there is a C63 AMG wagon available.
Redlining at a rather incredible 8500rpm, and providing 331kW and 430Nm, the Audi RS4 Avant is a little light on torque compared to the C63 AMG, but has more power than the outgoing M3. The moderate torque means you have to work the engine to get the most out of it.
However, the dual clutch gearbox (the only option on this model) is particularly talented at always being in the right gear for the conditions, especially in Sport mode, and rapid-fire flappy paddles are at your disposal for manual shifts. Downshifts are a particular highlight; the throttle is blipped on each shift (manual or auto) resulting in an angry but incredibly enjoyable bark from the exhausts.
Audi design has always been accused of being a little too subtle. The last RS4 looked the part, but felt a little shoulderless next to its rivals. The latest generation looks fantastic. Uniquely flared wheel arches give it an incredibly muscular stance, while also setting it apart from lesser Avants in the range. The car sits lower, and features a lower and unique front air dam, giving it a more aggressive head on appearance.
I personally love a station wagon’s appearance, and there is no wagon quite like the Audi RS4 Avant. The whole car emanates athleticism, even while it’s parked. Just staring at it feels like watching an Olympic athlete warming up for a race. With standard 19 inch rims or optional 20’s, the RS4 Avant manages to be as visually exciting as the driving experience it delivers.
Interior styling is modern yet classic German sports saloon affair. The thick, flat-bottomed RS leather steering wheel has been carefully designed to instantly make you feel like you’re about to drive something quite special. The front seats are extremely sporting, making use of Audi’s one piece design philosophy, and decked out in an alcantara/leather combo, they look superb. The centre console is perhaps a little dated now, but all controls have been refreshed and are well thought out and positioned.
Audi’s human interface system, MMI, is one of the easiest to use on the market, and owners will get to grips with it in no time at all. The rear seats fold almost completely flat, resulting in massive load space. With the rear seats up, owners can easily fit all sorts of canines and/or luggage back there. The sound system is superb and should handle all the latest music devices, although they have done away with the traditional Aux jack. Audi’s WAN system turns your car into a WiFi hotspot; simply slip a SIM card into the dash the car turns into the world’s fastest internet café.
Featuring an array of airbags, the Audi RS4 Avant also features new Sideguard© technology, which deploys head and torso level airbags in side-impact collisions. The vehicle features Anti slip regulation, ABS and EBD, to manage traction at all speeds and in all conditions. On each outer rear seat, ISOFix child seat anchors are standard. The performance braking system is designed to handle frequent heavy use.
There are faster cars on the market than the Audi RS4 Avant, but they either say Porsche on the back or feature a prancing horse on the front. There’s not much out there that would run away from an RS4, and it’s for one fairly simple reason, the way this car corners defies both the laws of physics and the law of the land. To get anywhere near the limit, you have to be brave and throw the car into corners at silly speeds. Very few cars provide this level of confidence to the average driver, and in the real world on real roads, I would say the RS4 is one of the quickest cars money can buy.
That high revving V8 provides a constant soundtrack of angry bellows, sporting snorts and barking downshifts. Pushing the engine to the red line in every gear is guaranteed to provide goosebumps every time; just ensure that you have a lot of road ahead of you. 0 – 100km/h takes just 4.7 seconds, and the next 100km/h doesn’t take much longer than that.
The speed is intoxicating and much like when you’re having fun and accidentally run up a massive tab at the bar, enjoying yourself in the Audi will hurt your wallet. On one particularly quick run the car averaged 20.6 litres/100km – that’s Range Rover territory. Behaving and locking in Eco-mode will help achieve its claimed figures, but in a car with this much power, Eco-mode feels very boring indeed.
The Audi RS4 Avant - ConclusionDriving the Audi RS4 Avant makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. The car offers equal parts practicality and genuine supercar performance, at a fraction of the price of a supercar. In that sense it’s a bargain. In fact the only thing wrong with the Audi RS4 Avant is that it is so capable, it doesn’t provide any drama until you are at aeroplane speeds. If you want a hairier and scarier drive, look to its rivals. But if you want comfort, safety, performance and real world pace, this is a very unique proposition from the four ringed brand.
Audi RS4 Avant - PriceAudi RS4 Avant - R875 500
- Emissions tax: Approximately R17 500
- View the Audi RS4: New / Used
- Competitors worth checking out:
- Intoxicating power, high revving V8 makes you feel like you’re participating in Le Mans. Excellent gearbox with supercar-like downshifts
- Practicality, interior space
- Looks and design – there’s no cooler wagon on earth
- Fuel consumption
|Audi RS4 Avant – Quick Specs|
|Engine||4.2 litre petrol V8 naturally aspirated|
|Transmission||S-Tronic dual clutch|
|Fuel Efficiency||10.7 litres/100km (claimed)|
|0 – 100km/h||4.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||250km/h limited|