Audi RS4 Avant (2018) Review
Audi RS4 Avant (2018) At A Glance
On average it achieves 105% of the official MPG figure
Sensible, sober-suited Audi has a dark, high performance side, and that’s no better demonstrated by its RS models, and in particular the RS4. Introduced in 2018 and revised for 2020, the current RS4 isn’t immune to the creep of emissions regulations, so the V8 of the previous car is replaced here with a turbocharged V6. That allows the RS4 to retain the 450PS of the V8 it replaces yet improve on the performance, bot against the clock and in relation to economy.
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Audi blasted high performance practicality onto the covers of enthusiast car magazines in the mid-1990s with authority with its radical RS2 Avant.
Here was a car, which thanks to its quattro four-wheel drive traction, some assistance from Porsche and a 315PS turbocharged engine, that boasted acceleration to 30mph quicker than the mighty McLaren F1. It shocked and surprised, Audi, with the exception of the quattro a decade or so earlier, being a relatively staid manufacturer, making sensible premium models to appeal to company car buyers.
Audi has pretty much owned the fast estate marketplace ever since, the RS4 that RS2’s direct relation, separated by three RS4s before it. With the exception of the R8, and the RS4’s RS6 bigger brother – based on the A6 - no current Audi is so coveted by enthusiasts.
Rightly so, the RS4 always offering performance that’s able to mix it with sports and supercars, but one that allows you to bring the family along for the fun, too.
It’s grown ever more bold looking with each generation. Power has also swelled during the RS4’s timeline, too, though Audi’s never been too religious about what’s generated it, or its aspiration, with the RS2 a turbo five-cylinder, the a 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6, the next two getting a 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8. That fabulous V8 was dropped for this RS4 in favour of a 2.9-litre twin turbo V6.
Fret not, power remains the same 450PS of that final V8 before it, while the lighter weight of that engine, and Audi’s other weight savings elsewhere, does still bring sledgehammer performance, but now with the hope of pin hammer dynamics.
Broad wheel arches, filled with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, or optional 20-inch items, the RS4 might be based on the A4 Avant (estate), but its more muscular looks are full of menace. The front grille is huge, framed by intakes to cool the brakes, the rear view dominated by a pair of massive exhaust outlets.
A gloriously wild concept, with mega performance wrapped in a practical package, there are few true rivals, Alfa Romeo not making an estate version of its Quadrifoglio and BMW doesn’t make an estate version of its M3, though Alpina makes a Touring (estate) version of its B3, leaving only Mercedes-AMG offering a direct, mainstream, alternative with its C63 AMG estate.
Other, indirect, but credible alternatives would be high performance SUVs, like BMW’s X3 M Competition or the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.
That AMG only sends its prodigious power to the rear wheels, the RS4 distributing its power to all four via its quattro four-wheel drive (like those SUV, actually), via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
A mild refresh for 2020 brought the RS4’s styling into line with the rest of the A4 range, changing the lights front and rear, though also gaining an even more confident front, as well as a few detailed revisions to the transmission, and even greater weight loses to help improve economy and emissions. If you like your estate cars quick and capable, then read on.