In the grander scheme of things within the Audi family, the RS4 is the odd one out. While the S6, S8, the RS6 and RS7 gets the 4.0 L bi-turbo V8, the boastfully booming fuel-efficient engine, the RS4 uses the 4.2 L Quattro V8 to drive its metal – the very heart that till recently beat for the Audi R8 and the A8.
UPSIDE: Ample power, Handles well in dynamic mode, Superior practicality of a station wagon, snazzy colour and presence
FLIPSIDE: Bumpy dynamic mode, delay in unleashing full power, braking could be harder, temperamental steering
THE PRICE: Starts at AED 290,000; Test car with black styling package and side assist AED 327,000
Bang for the buck: 4.2L engine with S tronic 7-Speed transmission, 450 hp @ 8250 rpm, 430 Nm @ 4000-6000, Top speed 280 kmph, Acceleration 0-100 kmph in 4.7 sec, Coz emissions 249 g/km
What qualifies the glorified estate for the RS badge is the unquestionably powerful engine with its V8 growl, producing 450 hp and 430 Newton metres of torque. But the performance keeps you waiting till you really open out the throttle and the tacho is some where close to 3000 rpms. So in the Comfort mode, the car doesn’t really give you a taste of the power that otherwise takes you from 0 to 100 in 4.7 seconds.
Well, that glory is only a flick of your wrist away. Shift to the Dynamic mode and the car gets more powerful and responsive. More importantly, that’s when the chassis stiffens itself enough to rule over bends and corners like a true RS, without the distinct understeer felt during normal drives. The exhaust even offers some ‘bang’ for the buck, literally. But then, there is a flipside to enjoying the real prowess of the car in its Dynamic mode – it turns almost as bumpy as a bouncy castle. The good news is that the brutal bumpiness disappears with higher speeds and higher rpms. But if you wish to just stick to Comfort mode and live with the lag, you won’t be blamed for being too soft or sissy!
The Sport automatic is the more pleasurable drive in the RS4, with its 7-speed transmission. The manual is 6-speed and the paddle shift actually shifts up and down on its own. The braking came across as too soft and soppy for an RS badge-bearer; I would expect it to be much more effective and quicker, especially at high speeds.
Overall it’s a good drive but there was something funny about the RS4 steering. Footloose and freewheeling in parking lot canters, it got too stiff to rein in as the car picked up pace in the Dynamic mode.
The Audi RS4 Avant has a gleaming presence in Java green, no doubt. It even looks aggressive with the air dams, imposing grille, 20” alloy wheels and the dual exhausts. Still, the RS4 shares more with a hatchback than Audi’s other Avant version the RS6 ever did with its extremely sporty presence. Inside, fine Nappaa leather, a bit of carbon fibre on the console and the premium looking rubber and other material in the accents and trims give the RS4 its share of ‘premium’ but falls short of what you find in the RS6 and 7.
As station wagons go, the RS4 would actually be a boon for a family. Especially if they were minding their own farmhouse, the boot would ensure that they won’t have to go twice to the market to sell the whole week’s produce. The hatch has an electric lid and a convenient load through facility with a removable ski bag.
The rear leg room is pretty reasonable too, along with comfortable seat adjustments and arrangements. But the extravagance of modern design has affected the RS4 too, with four people enjoying all the comfort and the centre seat fit for a child at best!
Nevertheless, those few inside will be impressed by the Bang & Olufsen entertainment and the panoramic sunroof. The RS4 is one sports hatch that Moms would love to own for all the above reasons, as also the Audi MMI Navigation Plus complete with a rear view camera.
The Essential Audi RS4 Avant
With a huge boot, reasonable cabin space and the usual Audi arrangements, along with a family-friendly Comfort mode, the RS4 Avant do tick boxes as an Estate. But as the custodian of the stunning RS badge, it falls short of living up to the halo when compared with its talented siblings – Audi RS6 and RS7. That said, if you really want an RS badge, probably this is the one most people could afford because it starts at AED 290,000. My test car took the price to 327,000.
I should own up that after driving almost a dozen Audi models, I couldn’t find the button to move around the driver information on the RS4. So the fuel efficiency still remains a secret.
Drive Courtesy: AVME
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy