The RS 4 Avant isn’t just the fastest model in the Audi A4 range. It’s also an icon across all its previous generations. The latest model, with a 450hp 2.9-litre twin turbo V6 and rear-biased quattro all-wheel drive, is faster, more fuel-efficient and more rewarding to drive than ever. After a sales pause while the RS4 Avant was certified for the new WLTP emissions and economy figures, it’s back in the UK showrooms as a limited edition of 250.
The RS 4 Avant is based on the same bodyshell as the A4 Avant, but sits lower and wider, with the wheel arches extended by 30mm with quattro-style blisters. The front is distinguished by the Audi singleframe grille in black honeycomb pattern flanked by massive air intakes. At the rear you’ll find oval tailpipes, a bespoke diffuser and a roof-mounted spoiler. The powered tailgate opens to reveal 505 litres of luggage space that expands to 1,510 litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats all down. Distinguishing features of the RS Sport Edition include black gloss exterior brightware, 20” twin-spoke alloy wheels in Anthracite, an RS Sport exhaust system with black tailpipes and privacy glass. Inside, the RS Super Sports seats are in Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching and have a massage function.
The RS4 Avant’s TFSI 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 develops 450 metric horsepower and 600Nm of torque. This power reaches the road via quattro all-wheel drive with an eight-speed auto transmission and a rear sports differential. It’ll hit 62mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds, and what makes this car such a unique proposition is that it can dish out performance to embarrass a supercar in all conditions, four-up and with luggage on board.
The RS 4 Avant Sport Edition comes with a long list of standard equipment, including LED headlights with high beam assist, keyless go, parking assistance, voice control, 3D Navigation and Audi’s MMI touch control interface. Audi’s acclaimed 12.3” Virtual Cockpit, which allows the driver to select the specific layout and data he or she requires, is bespoke for this model and can include virtual gauges for torque and g-force.
The RS4 Avant includes Audi Connect Safety and Service (3-year subscription), Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) including ABS, ASR and EDL, multi-collision brake assist, a pop-up bonnet for pedestrian protection in the event of an accident, and City Pre-Sense to avoid it happening in the first place. In 2015 the latest A4 gained a full EuroNCAP five-star rating.
Verdict:The RS 4 Avant offers supercar performance, comfortable accommodation for five and an immensely practical load bay. It’s well equipped, beautifully appointed and can cover entire countries swiftly and without fatigue to its occupants. This is a modern-day masterclass in grand touring, and the limited-edition RS Sport also has the cachet of exclusivity. Don’t leave it too long before talking to your dealership sales team.
The RS 4 Avant is available in different versions, known as trim levels. These allow you to choose a version that reflects your preferred styling, driving experience and equipment level. Standard equipment and the choice of options both vary by trim.