There’s not many cars around like the 2014 Audi RS4 Avant, well perhaps there is one, the 2014 Audi RS6 Avant. Of course there is the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake, but its range topping variant has a much larger V8 and will take a much larger hack out of your wallet than the RS4 will, so I don’t really consider it a competitor. I hoped Jaguar were going to enter the market when they unveiled the XF RS Shooting Brake in Geneva this year but apparently there’s no market for it here which means Jaguar aren’t delivering any to Australian shores. So Audi continue to laugh like sharks with a car that is essentially in a league of its own and quite possibly the greatest all rounder on the road (disregarding the RS6 of course).
I’ve always been a fan of wagons, my first car was a Subaru Impreza, my second a Liberty, now I spend most of my time in a Skoda Octavia RS. There’s something so relaxing about a wagon’s practicality, the ability to be able to drop the seats and fit a bunch of surfboards or your entire bedroom when you move house. Some people argue that they’re a nuisance to park – those people are just uncomfortable reverse parking. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time in the RS4 Avant and parked it in the centre of the city for weeks, and there isn’t a single thing that frustrated me while driving it – quite the opposite in fact.
In earlier years the RS4 was offered in both a Sedan and a wagon however if you want a modern day RS4 the only option is the wagon. The All Wheel Drive wagon modified by Audi’s performance offshoot Quattro GmbH features a glorious 4.2L naturally aspirated V8 which produces 444bhp and sprints to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. The car utilises a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox which offers the perfect balance of comfort and sport focused driving.
Within the first 5 minutes of driving the RS4 Avant it’s clear the car is far more than a glorified family wagon. The lack of a USB port to charge my phone and the manually controlled seat both surprised me, as did the ride. The 19inch alloys and suspension upgrades make for a seriously stiff ride and unless you’re on the racetrack there’s really no need (or desire) to engage the car’s Dynamic mode as the Comfort mode is already sharp enough. But the lack of an electronic seat and USB port is easily forgiven because this car is about performance and noise. Pulling the gear stick back pops it into Sport offering you the medley of orgasmic sounds without the super stiff racing suspension. Sport mode however, does have its downsides – it pines for your right foot, to a point that is almost criminal.
Even before I had the pleasure of being in the RS4 on a track I knew the car was lightening quick. As a daily driver it’s a savage beast, capable of extracting your license from your wallet, and then your pocket, like Apollo Robins on a bad day. The temptation, or frustration, brought on by a Sunday driver puts the RS4 in its element and snapping the gear stick back and planting the foot is a feeling that’s very very hard to beat.
Pop a helmet on and steer it onto the bitumen at Sydney Motorsport Park and you’ve got an unbelievably capable track machine, one that will humble you when driven by the right person. Bolster up the front seats and settle in for the ride because the grip is nothing short of astounding. There’s not a lot more to do then sit there and laugh, knowing that only a few hours ago you had four mates and their golf bags in the car.
If you gave me $150k to spend on a car there’s nothing else I would buy. In terms of its all round ability it’s one of the most unassuming and awe inspiring vehicles on the road – reserved when you need it to be, ferocious when you want it to be. The RS4 Avant is a car you could live with for the rest of your life offering you the practicality of a family wagon and performance levels that will haunt you in your sleep.
If you’d like the chance to spend a weekend with our RS4, head to our competition page here!