Audi RS4 Avant: a capable family chariot with impressive power to boot
Audi reaffirms the benefits of the station wagon with its RS4 Avant
Is it a case of good sense or unmovable obstinance? While the Mercedes-AMG C63, Alfa Romeo Giulia QV and BMW M3 are all sold in traditional, three-box formats, Audi persisted with its wagon template for the latest RS4.
Just a note that the only car from this lot you cannot buy at present is the one from Munich, whose production run came to an end as the next-generation model nears completion.
This year, the interlinked circles brand finally opened the doors to new products in SA. So far in 2019 they have launched the RS5 Sportback, Q8 sport-utility coupé and this, the RS4 Avant.
Its obvious USP, versus the peers mentioned earlier, is practicality that positions it as a realistic family chariot. One that just happens to have a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 280km/h, when equipped with the optional RS Dynamic Package.
Blistering figures, without a doubt, but in the real world the RS4 proffers a texture that most are going to find quite subdued. A nature that complements the inherent prudence of an estate car; many will argue. Not everyone likes the straining-at-the-leash character innately part of something like the BMW M3, for example.
In its most docile setting, the RS4 might mislead you into thinking that you are ensconced behind the wheel of the burgundy-hued 1998 A6 2.4 that your grandfather had.
Flick the Drive Select toggle towards its liveliest choice and the 2,894cc, six-cylinder with its duo of turbochargers shows no reluctance in serving up its bountiful reserves of 331kW and 600Nm. In fast Audi fashion, this output is transferred to all four wheels and up to 85% of power can be sent to the rear axle.
Though the new model weighs 80kg less than the previous car, be mindful that it tips the scales at a substantial 1,790kg, which does little for its athletic aspirations. Manage your expectations, however, and all is fine in the RS4 Avant. The rapid Teuton delivers an experience that errs more on the tourer side of life, with its assured all-wheel-drive traction and general meekness in daily conditions.
As standard is a gesture-operated tailgate: give a little kicking movement in front of the motion detector and open sesame! And if lugging is a prerequisite to your buying decision, a trailer hitch can be specified, with the RS4 rated to pull up to 2,100kg.
The Audi RS4 Avant, then, is a fine machine for the mommies and daddies who enjoy swift acceleration while tending to their responsibilities. Expect to pay upwards of R1,211,500 for the privilege of ownership.