Audi Sport’s station wagon supreme
So you are Darth Vader and you're married to Bat Woman and your kids are Thor, Zeus and Apollo. Here’s your car! Not sure why Audi is so smitten with station wagons strong enough to align the stars, but we really dig them and this RS4 is just the business. Again.
It really looks the part, turns heads and properly announces your arrival, Darth, but best of all is that Audi Sport has tossed the old gas-guzzler in favour of this one's state of the art biturbo 331kW 600Nm biturbo 2.9-litre TFSI V6 — a quantum shift ahead over the old atmo V8 at the same power, but a significant 170 more Newton-metres torquier.
Which means RS4 is now over a second quicker to 100km/h at a quite astounding 3.7 seconds (to make it the quickest wagon we have ever tested), more so over its sub-11-second quarter mile and significantly more efficient in overtaking as it saves a good few litres per hundred when driven economically. Not so sure how much it saves when those turbos are all spooled up though — push it and RS4 becomes a bit more like a miner with a platinum card on pay day.
Still, it’s a high tech piece of kit that makes a wonderful noise highlighted by the whine of those turbochargers sitting in the vee of the six. The V6 turns a shift optimised eight-speed auto and quattro permanent all-wheel drive in a 40:60 split front to rear through a self-locking central differential.
Add revised RS-tuned five-link front and rear suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, dynamic steering and ceramic brakes, while a 60kg lower kerb mass further contributes to both its performance and efficiency gains. RS4 rides splendidly in normal driving, but it also handles brilliantly, turns in precise and follows through beautifully when pushed, and while that all-wheel drive may rob it of a little deftness of feel, it certainly adds a certain sure-footedness to boost driver confidence.
RS4 stands furthest apart thanks to its wagon advantages. Some may say it's a hearse but don’t tell Darth that! It’s supremely equipped too and this unit’s optional Matrix LED headlights yet again proved a revelation as they take auto illumination to new levels — you can keep the lights on bright because they block out oncoming cars so those drivers are not dazzled.
That’s just one of a huge selection specification and safety kit, but RS4 does not yet get Audi's much-improved latest MMI multimedia interface and must make do with the older spec infotainment for now. Nothing wrong with that, but the new one is a definite step ahead.
The Audi RS4 is now one of a few top end station wagons out there, but for some reason this car certainly has an outer worldliness about its style and execution. So there you go Darth Vader — take Bat Woman home! - Michele Lupini
Images - Michele Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Audi RS4 Avant
Engine: 331kW 600Nm 2884cc biturbo petrol V6
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
0-60km/h: 1.73 sec
0-100km/h: 3.72 sec
0-160km/h: 8.48 sec
400m: 11.9 sec @ 186km/h
80-120km/h: 2.55 sec
120-160km/h: 3.63 sec
Fuel: 9.2 l/100km
CO2: 208 g/km
Warranty/Service: 1y Unl./5y 100Kkm
LIST PRICE: R1.2M