Audi RS4 Avant estate
- Everyday practicality
- Four-wheel-drive grip
- Impressive engine power
- Weight blunts handling
- Running costs very high
- Optional extras bump up price
"The Audi RS4 Avant mixes immense performance with a practical estate bodystyle, making it one of the fastest family cars money can buy."
With the arrival of the Audi RS5 coupe and convertibles, the latest Audi RS4 only comes as an estate, or Avant in Audi terminology. Like the RS5, the RS4 Avant is only available with a 444bhp 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine, a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. However, its estate body adds useful extra practicality for buyers who want performance and space, making it a clear rival for the Mercedes C63 AMG estate.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Buying and running an RS4 Avant is a pricey proposition
As it’s a little bigger and heavier than the RS5, the RS4 Avant uses more fuel and emits more CO2 than the coupe, returning 26.4mpg and emitting 249g/km respectively. The latter means the car costs £490 a year to tax. The engine doesn’t have fuel-saving technology like stop-start, either, making city driving even more pricey. Servicing, tyres and replacement parts don’t come cheap, either.
Engines, drive & performance
Incredible grip matches the impressively powerful V8 engine
The RS4 Avant doesn’t quite offer the last word in driver excitement, but its fantastic engine, slick seven-speed S tronic gearbox and clever four-wheel-drive system make it incredibly easy to drive at speed, whatever the conditions. You can also fine-tune the throttle, steering and exhaust settings using the Audi Drive Select system. A launch-control system catapults the RS4 from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds – two tenths slower than the RS5 Coupe.
Interior & comfort
Despite large wheels and sports suspension, the RS4 is reasonably comfortable
The RS4 Avant features a very upmarket interior, with comfortable seats. Whether you sit in the front or the back, there’s plenty of space, making this a much more practical proposition than the RS5 Coupe, which only has space for children in the back. Engine noise only infiltrates the cabin when you accelerate hard, while tyre noise is well suppressed, even on the motorway, making long-distance drives stress-free.
Practicality & boot space
Sports pedigree doesn’t affect estate’s well shaped and sizeable boot
The RS4 is only available as an estate, which means that as well as performance, buyers get plenty of luggage space. With the rear seats up, the boot can hold 490 litres. For larger loads, the rear seats fold flat, boosting capacity to 1,430 litres. Elsewhere in the cabin, the front and rear seats offer plenty of leg, shoulder and headroom. You can choose optional sports seats for more body-hugging support, although their larger seat backs impinge on rear legroom.
Reliability & safety
Good reputation for quality and proven mechanicals a bonus
From the moment you open the door, the RS4 impresses with its feeling of quality and solidity. The interior is based on the standard Audi A4 Avant's, albeit with some extra carbon-fibre trim and sportier seats. It’s beautifully made from quality materials. Wide tyres and huge brakes mean that grip and stopping power are easily a match for the powerful engine.
Price, value for money & options
The RS4 is well equipped, but enticing options add to the price
The RS4 Avant comes with a decent amount of standard equipment, including 19-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and a DVD-based sat-nav system. However, there’s plenty of scope to add options, including ceramic front brakes, front bucket seats and a sports package that includes 20-inch alloy wheels plus a sports exhaust.