The Audi RS4 Avant continues the tradition of being the fastest A4 in the model range, solely available in the more practical estate body.
This fourth-generation model aims to improve on its predecessor by going on a diet, improving driving dynamics and increasing both its performance and efficiency.
So now, it’s 80kg lighter, the new engine produces 170Nm more torque, CO2 levels are down 25% to 199g/km and it now claims to achieve 5.7mpg more than the V8 engine it replaces.
Downsizing to a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 plays a large part in this. Power remains the same at 450hp but the combination of increased torque and the slight drop in weight means this RS4 has more accessible power compared with its high-revving, naturally-aspirated predecessor. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is fitted and the 0-62mph time drops from 4.7 seconds to 4.1 seconds.
We managed to hit an indicated 30mpg in Comfort mode on motorway runs, but start driving more vigorously and those numbers tumble right back down into the low teens.
Is it any good?
Yes and no. All models we drove had the adaptive suspension fitted, which helped provide a supple ride in Comfort mode. Factor in the more supportive seats and this car rides slightly better than even the V6 diesel S Line on optional RS wheels. In this respect, the RS4 makes a better everyday proposition than before.
Audi RS4 Avant: Gripes?
The gearbox is slow to engage at low speeds, making manoeuvres a slight pain and while the previous V8-engined model didn’t drive as well as this generation, the engine was at least its USP.
Now though, it all seems a bit too closely-related to the other models in the range. The V6 twin-turbocharged engine might hark back to the original RS4 in 2000, but you can’t help feel there’s not enough disparity between the S4 and RS4.
The whole ethos of an RS-badged Audi is to combine practicality, performance and exclusivity, but does the RS4 deliver?