The Audi RS4, like a lot of Audi’s lineup, is rumoured to be going electric very soon. We test out the facelifted petrol model whilst we still can. By Ginny Weeks.
What is it? The RS4 Avant is Audi’s small performance estate car. Offering all the practicalities of the regular A4 Avant estate, but with an extremely powerful engine and a sportier look, it’s aimed at driving enthusiasts with a family in tow.
Smaller than the larger A6 model, the RS4 is now powered by a V6 petrol engine rather than the V8 of previous models. It features sporty styling details, such as a honeycomb grille, large air vents, wide wheel arches and oval exhaust pipes. Our car had the optional Sonoma Green metallic paintwork, a jade hue that really suits the angular design of this new model.
What does it drive like? With its twin-turbo, 2.9-litre V6 engine, the RS4 has 450 hp and goes from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds. It feels seriously quick to drive and the quattro four-wheel-drive system sticks the car to the road like glue. In all weathers and conditions, the steering and planted feel of the car feels confident and rock solid.
Unlike previous RS4 models, which lacked a bit of fun, this car is anything but boring. It has a few different driving modes – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. Pop it into Dynamic (sport) driving mode, find a country road and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear. The automatic gearbox is intuitive and lightning fast, so much so that you may hardly use the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. It’s not as rumbly as a V8, but the RS exhaust has an enjoyable soundtrack.
In town and on motorways, Comfort mode softens any bumps in the road and gear changes are silky smooth. It’s an easy car to drive around town and to park with a light cabin and good visibility. The only niggles we spotted were that the start/stop is over eager and comes on too quickly – we had to turn it off at times. On one occasion, sat stationery in traffic, the crash sensors came on accidentally, tightening the seatbelts and seats and warning us of a collision. Saying that, the car is not OTT on sensors or beeping warning systems – a good balance has been struck compared to similar cars.
We achieved 9.7 litre per 100km with a mixture of town and motorway driving.
What’s the interior like? Typical Audi – understated, stylish, with excellent build quality. Features include premium materials like soft leather, cold-to-the-touch metals, chunky buttons and an impressive entertainment system. The minimalist design is pretty much the same as the standard A4 but with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, gearshift paddles, leather sports seats and RS branding. You also get a high-resolution touch screen infotainment system with wireless phone charging and customisable profile options. And Virtual Cockpit Display. There’s plenty of room inside too – the seats are all spacious and rear passengers, even tall ones, will be cocooned in comfort. The market-leading boot size swallows up a myriad of cargo and dogs.
Verdict? One for the wish list – this car is really enjoyable to drive and to spend time in. If you want to take the boredom out of your daily drive, or family road trip, you’d be hard pressed to find a better all-round performance estate. Apart from, maybe, the RS6!
Audi RS6, BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63
Why you’ll buy one? Looks, performance, practicality
Why you won’t? Fuel consumption, price
Audi RS4 Avant
Price: Starting from €127,595
Engine: 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo
Power: 450 hp
0-100 km/h: 4.1 seconds
Economy: 10.1 – 9.8 litre per 100km
8th March 2022