4 Avant Black Edition
lucky person I know owns
an RS4 Avant
due to its estate
capabilities, she affectionally calls
And as hers is the go-
faster 174mph Vorsprung version,
that must make it the fastest van
in the country...
AUDI'S 'WICKED WAGON' RS4 MODELS are prized for their barnstorming performance
and stonking V8 engines. So, something of a surprise then that the latest generation
RS4's engine bay is now home to six-cylinders rather than eight not a
problem, though, given that the biturbo 2.9-litre V6 punches out a hardcore
444bhp backed up by a stump-pulling 443lb ft of torque.
This V6 powerplant also emits 25 per cent less CO2 emissions and, considering
its 4.1-second 0-62mph sprint and 155mph top speed, is far more economical than
it has any right to be. The official 'combined' figure is given at 28.5mpg
that noted, a week's enthusiastic driving in our Black Edition RS 4 saw us record
a test average of 31mpg. Sure, drive everywhere at ten-tenths and you'll put
a big dent it that number, but the beauty of the RS 4 is that you don't have
to drive like a demon to savour its adrenaline hit.
RS 4's exterior is deliciously understated, so much so that even wearing an
eye-catchingly stand-out shade of blue only makes it looker sleeker and not
a jot showier. Even its wheelarch blisters seem restrained; they're not just
for show, either, wrapped tightly as they are over 20-inch alloy wheels shod
with meaty 275/30 rubber.
RS 4s 444bhp,
backed up by an equally
potent 434lb ft of torque,
endows it with power
as well as fury.
If its firepower you crave
the RS 4 will slate your
thirst. Whatever the revs,
this 2.9-litre biturboed
V6 is up for mischief,
scooting off like the
proverbial scalded cat.
And its characterful,
bassy soundtrack is an
added incentive to
prod the pedal...
The multi-spoke wheels are finished in high-gloss black to match the black door
mirrors, roof rails, and the black grille. Matrix LED headlamps with distinctive
LED daytime running lights define each front corner, bookending Audi's iconic
singleframe honeycomb mesh grille and further emphasises this über-estate's
low-riding, take-me-to-a-track attitude. Photographs can't really do the RS
4 justice = in the metal it gives off palpable presence, projecting a Savile
Row-suited brawniness that alone justifies its £77K price tag.
Despite its well-earned high-performance halo, its cabin contributes an equal
share to the RS 4's unique appeal the RS 4's 'cockpit' is a place
you'll want to spend time. Lots of it. Along with much more space than you might
have been expecting, the RS 4's cockpit is much like a fighter jet's in that
everything you need is close to hand and easily within your vision. Best of
all are the fabulous, firmly plump Super Sport front seats finished in fine
Nappa leather with honeycomb design quilted centre panels.
And they adjust every which way for a truly bespoke fit: there's power adjustment
for everything from the lumbar support and usual seat movements, plus you can
also adjust the seat base and backrest bolstering in/out for a perfect fit.
Additionally there are three massage programs, and with the integrated headrests
and shoulder 'wings' the seats provide superb support. Oh, yes, you also get
manual adjustment for the extending front edge to set the most comfortable degree
of under-knee support. And it's all made even more accessible by a powered easy-entry
You would expect such fabulous seats to me matched to an equally appealing wheel
and, naturally, you get one: the RS sports steering wheel, with
perforated work areas and heated rim, is rewarding to grip and use; its multifunction
controls are obvious, and all clearly marked. From behind the three-spoker the
driver enjoys a unimpeded view down the bonnet so placing the RS 4 couldn't
be easier. Pity the poor supercar owners with their swoopy bodystyling and restricted
vision. A bonus is that what's coming up behind the RS 4 is equally easily seen.
and wheel aside, the RS 4's cabin is a haven of good taste and premium quality
with lavish use of carbon fibre trim (the real McCoy) and meticulous attention
to detail. Sitting tall, top dead centre of the dash, is a high-def 10.1-inch
screen that's home to the SatNav and comprehensive infotainment including DAB
radio and smartphone interfacing (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). Below it
sits a panel containing conventional, and foolproof, buttons and knurled rotary
knobs controlling the three-zone climate still the best set-up
for drivers on the move.
the RS 4s cabin
contributes an equal
share to its unique
appeal the RS 4s
cockpit is a place youll
want to spend time.
Lots of it.
Along with much more
space than you might
have been expecting, the
RS 4s cockpit is much
like a fighter jets in
that everything you need
is close to hand and
easily within your vision.
Best of all are the
fabulous, firmly plump
Super Sport front seats
finished in fine Nappa
leather with honeycomb
design quilted centre
comms are essential in such a fast-charging machine as the RS 4 and here Audi
delivers yet again with its RS-specific Virtual Cockpit system fronted by a
12.3-inch TFT instrument panel. Offering multiple driver-selected views ranging
from full-coverage 3D mapping, 'trad' dials, posted speed limits and actual
road speed to trackday data such as boost pressure, power and torque output,
and even G-force levels (not that you'll have time to look but a brave front
Of course, if you specify the option head-up display you'll have all the most
important information right in front of your eyes and no excuse to take your
eyes off the road: road speed, posted limits, and graphic navigation prompts
are all there, pin-sharp on the lower windscreen.
Making life easier still is an excellent voice control system that enables Google
search as well as direct control of the navigation and media, etc. Not that
reversing and parking the RS 4 is ever a problem due to its regular corners
and first-rate visibility but included in the package is a brilliant BW 360-degree
camera (that, in addition to a bird's-eye view can also show the front, side,
rear and corner aspects). Finally, should you need it, there's a Safety and
Service e-call facility.
Although there are some tempting options listed, the penultimate Black Edition
trim includes everything you are likely to want. In addition to items mentioned
elsewhere (such as the Virtual Cockpit, navigation and infotainment system,
leather-clad cabin, and massage seats) there's keyless entry and start, three-zone
climate control, a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, stainless steel pedals, ambient
LED interior lighting, four one-shot windows, powerfolding heated and auto-dimming
door mirrors, privacy glass, heat-insulating and privacy glass, auto-dimming
frameless rearview mirror, electric parking brake with auto-hold, Drive Select,
RS Sport suspension, and a set of twenty-inch alloy wheels.
Safety items include automatic emergency braking, quattro all-wheel drive with
Sports diff, adaptive matrix LED headlights, automatic dip/main beam switching,
headlight washers, cruise control, speed limiter, Parking Assistance with Side
Assist plus side and corner proximity warning, hill hold, tyre pressure monitoring,
and dynamic indicators front and rear.
Externally the RS 4 stakes out a 4.7 by 1.8 metre rectangle of blacktop, a space
its cabin makes maximum use of it. Rear seats, even token 2+2 pseudo seats,
are rarely found in cars with the RS 4's searing levels of performance. That
noted, two grown-ups can travel extremely comfortably in the RS 4's beautifully
quilted and supportive outer rear seats.
even room for a third between them, should another passenger be invited to join
them. Backrest angles are relaxing, plus leg and head room (a fist of it, no
less, in spite of sitting higher than in the front) all unexpectedly good, even
for taller travellers.
your pilot to
drive in Comfort mode
ride along just
on the bulk of
British roads, this
setting serves up an
amazingly good ride, the
ironing out lumps and
bumps and smoothing
over tatty tarmac with
For such a hard-charging
driving machine the
RS 4 can deliver a truly
plush ride quality that
Other benefits include child seat anchorages (incidentally, the front passenger
seat also has them), stretchy seatback pouches, large wine bottle-holding door
bins, a made-to-share, drop-down centre armrest with a built-in lidded storage
tray (for tablets and smartphones) and pop-out cupholders, as well as dedicated
'third zone' air vents with independent controls.
your pilot to drive in Comfort mode and you'll ride along just dandy
on the bulk of British roads, this 'softest' Drive Select setting serves up
an amazingly good ride, the RS 4's suspension ironing out lumps and bumps and
smoothing over tatty tarmac with aplomb. For such a hard-charging driving machine
the RS 4 can deliver a truly plush ride quality that you wouldn't believe until
you've lived it. Impressive!
Bypass all the dynamic tech stuff and the heart of any sizzling performance
car is its engine. And the RS 4 has the heart of a lion. Its 444bhp, backed
up by an equally potent 434lb ft of torque, endows it with power as well as
fury. If its firepower you crave the RS 4 will slate your thirst. Whatever the
revs, this 2.9-litre biturboed V6 is up for mischief, taking off like the proverbial
And its characterful, bassy soundtrack is an added incentive to prod the pedal;
if you've ticked the box for the optional RS Sport exhaust system, which plays
to the gallery on full-bore upshifts, howling like a banshee as the eight-speed
tiptronic autobox fires unerringly through the ratios, then one thing's for
sure: you'll be spending a lot of time in Dynamic mode loving the RS 4's spine-tingling
voice as it sings while it zings while it works.
And while it will fire you off the line to hit 62mph in a sizzling 4.1 seconds,
it so much more than a sharp sprinter keep your right foot planted
and you won't stop accelerating until the limiter calls time at 155mph. Whenever
you fancy playing master and commander you can use the autobox's
by the way, it's a torque converter auto as opposed to a dual-clutch item (and
better for it!) selector lever in Manual mode or finger-flick
shifts on demand using the paddle-shifters on the soo-tactile wheel.
Needless to say, its effortless power has benefits even pootling around town,
where you barely notice the up/down shifting or the V6's mechanical musings.
Cruising motorways, the RS 4 delights as an almost soundless mile-eater. Even
climbing and descending Alpine-grade slopes, fully laden, the tiptronic can
be trusted to always be in the right gear and respond instantly. Plus the deliciously
thick-rimmed sports steering wheel shares a decent amount of 'feel', welcome
everything focused dynamically is Audi's quattro all-wheel drive, dishing out
all the traction you can stand. While the weather is fair it generally sends
40 per cent of the driving torque to the front wheels and rest to the tail.
However, if it needs to it can shunt as much as 85 per cent to the front or,
alternatively, seventy per cent to the rear.
fact that, on such a
fast car, theres
left over in the boot for
even a large dog
is rather amazing.
A handsfree-op powered
tailgate, wide boot
aperture and low,
sill make using the
boot a chore youll
happy to do for yourself.
495 litres even
with a full set of
drop the 40:20:40-split
rear seatbacks and the
loadbay, all 1,495 litres
of it, is ready
Another element in the RS 4's polished road-handling repertoire is torque vectoring
by braking, adding a congratulatory thrill as you set-up, cleanly slice through,
then rocket cleanly out. The brakes also deserve high praise: feelsome and easy
to modulate, they deliver pretty awesome stopping power thanks to hefty drilled
and ventilated discs.
Seriously low-pro 275/30 Continental Sport Contact rubber adds extra 'stickiness'
to all-roads-all-weather capability. Few mesmerizingly quick cars manage what
the RS 4 does; even fewer manage it with the Audi's aplomb, rewarding you for
driving quickly but then when you back off the pace, remain almost as satisfying.
fact that, on such a fast car, there's room left over in the boot for real-life
luggage and even a large dog is rather amazing.
A handsfree-op powered tailgate, wide boot aperture and low, minimal-lipped
loading sill make using the RS 4's regular shaped boot a chore you'll be happy
to do for yourself. There's 495 litres even with a full set of passengers aboard;
drop the 40:20:40-split rear seatbacks (a quick pull on the levers close to
the tailgate) and the resulting seamless loadbay, all 1,495 litres of it, is
ready to go.
Whichever cargo mode you choose, the roller blind luggage cover lifts up as
the tailgate rises (and self closes when you're done). You'll also find a sturdy
dog guard built in behind the rear backrests; it takes but seconds to raise
to keep your just-walked four-legged friend from jumping all over the cabin.
The multi-section rear seatbacks are a definite plus, offering, as they do,
plenty of flexibility should you need to move goods and cargo around together.
Other well considered features include a reversible luggage compartment floor,
pop-out bag hooks, a striplight each side, 12v socket, and two side pocket in
the wings. Another very pleasant surprise is that the RS 4 will tow a braked
2,100kg. You won't find a supercar that can do that!
Spend £77K on an RS 4 and you'll have something pretty unique
one of the very few super-fast estate cars on the planet. Plump for the flagship
Vorsprung model that's good for 174mph if you must, but the 'regular' 155mph
will, along with the bonus of genuine 'wagon' capabilities, do everything most
supercars can do, and in all weathers. Warning: Highly Addictive! ~ MotorBar
Audi RS 4 Avant Black Edition
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 4.1 seconds | Test Average: 31mpg
Power: 444bhp | Torque: 443lb ft | CO2: 225g/km