The yellow car you see in our image is an original 2001 B5 Audi RS4 Avant, now part of that company’s heritage fleet. A couple of years ago and without even having to offer a cash bribe, Audi very kindly delivered this very car by special transporter for us to use for a day. It was a very great privilege. Since those early days the RS4 has gone from strength to strength. It is, without question, one of the best performance cars available at any price.
The 2018 Audi RS4 Avant was introduced at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and is now available later this month priced in the UK at £61,625. As with previous models this latest bearer of the RS badge combines tremendous everyday usability with exceptional performance from a V6 2.9L TFSI engine delivering 444bhp (450PS) and 600Nm of lovely torque via the standard quattro drive. Sadly, the V8 of old, with its robust, rumbling soundtrack, is no more, alas.
Rear Spoiler & Other Treats
The design takes the previous look and learns lessons from motorsport. Massive air inlets with typical RS honeycomb structure merge with the wide, flat single-frame grille to define the front end. Even without the badge it screams RS. The muscular wheel arches are given added emphasis by the quattro blisters.
Round the back, the RS diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the and the RS roof edge spoiler make for a distinctive look. The exterior colour of Nogaro blue with pearl is the one you want but it is an option. The Audi RS4 Avant rides on 19” forged aluminium wheels as standard; 20-inch wheels are available as an option. These will of course look fabulous but may impact on the already firm ride quality. It’s a personal choice.
The V6 bi-turbo engine renders the RS4 able to sprint from 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds which is pretty sharp for an estate car. The top speed is 155mph but by adding the optional (must have) RS dynamic package, the top speed increases to 174mph. Performance engines of the modern era are capable of some restraint in the fuel-consuming department. The RS4 Avant is able to return up to 32.1mpg while emitting a modest199g/km CO².
The power of the 2.9 TFSI biturbo is supplied to the permanent all-wheel drive via an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox with optimised ratios. Audi also offers a rear sport differential enabling torque division between the rear wheels for enhanced handling adjustability, and in the UK specification this feature is standard which is outstanding.
The standard-fit sport suspension sets the Audi RS 4 Avant another seven millimetres lower than the standard A4 with sport suspension and it’s available with Dynamic Ride Control as an option, as are ceramic brakes and RS-specific dynamic steering. Drivers can define their own individual personal driving experience using the standard dynamic handling system Audi drive select, common to all sporting Audi cars.
Standard Luxury Audi Interior
The black interior underscores the character of the Audi RS4 Avant. The RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern, the flat-bottomed RS leather multifunction sport steering wheel, the shift gate and the illuminated door sill trims are all rightly adorned with the RS emblem.
In the Audi virtual cockpit which is standard in the UK, RS-specific displays indicate the g-forces, tyre pressures and torque. The styling packages gloss black, carbon with aluminium attachments and carbon with black attachments provide further scope for customisation.
No doubt it is possible to grow the base price by a dip into the options list but it will be worth it. This car is a keeper.