Ever since I saw Jeremy Clarkson race an RS4 to the top of a French mountain, against 2 of the worlds best climbers, I have always wanted to drive this car! On that particular sunny day in the French mountains, Jeremy Clarkson found the car astonishing. The balance of power, and comfort coupled with precision steering and a level of driving engagement, made him think of the cars main rival, a BMW M3. But he went a step further, suggesting, it could it be even better! This was a huge declaration, but one made firmly and confidently over and above the roar of that V8 engine as it howled up the mountain side. So if this car could make Jeremy Clarkson excited, a veteran car enthusiast from BBC Top Gear, I have always been fascinated to know how it would make me feel!
My weekend sojourn with the RS4 generously facilitated by the Versatile Gent, did not feature me driving up a Tour De France style French mountain. Instead my wife and I chose to take the car on a civilized and leisurely drive down through the heartland of the Victorian wine region, for a spot of brunch. This particular winery was my personal favourite (10 minutes by Tractor), nestled in the temperate Mornington Peninsula region & surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns, blue stone paths and freshly pruned hedges. It produces one of the best Pinot Noir around.
After consulting with the Versatile Gent, I chose an ensemble suitably dapper yet functional. I went with the classic blue jeans and simple white T. With my sartorial pedigree established, I jumped into the garish red RS4, and ignited the engine. The V8 purred to life, a deep throaty warble, that tickles something primal within. I giggled stupidly for a moment. It was like that boyish laugh I used to get when I raced recklessly down a far to steep hill in a billy cart with my brothers laughing their asses off at me in anticipation of the train wreck to come. The promise of speed from that sound, took me back to that state of mind. How long had it been since I felt that?! .. decades perhaps.
Off we went, my wife as always, by my side, into the hills. It was a glorious day, made even more so by the car. Yes the car was fast, fun and everything else you would expect from $180,000 worth of performance kit. The way the engine barked, spluttered and growled when you put it in dynamic mode and planted the foot, really was special. But something else stood out that day. It was the way the car made you feel you along the way, even when just cruising at normal speed. I am not talking about the tactile things, but rather the more subtle psychological ones. I am talking about the little things, like the glances you see from other drivers. The double takes, people take when you park the car, when they think you are not looking. It reminds me of when I take my wife out to dinner and she is looking glamorous. People would look, most of the time in a subtle manner, but they would notice her. This car, reminded me of that. Those wistful glances, those reflective gazes and occasional good old fashioned gawk. I loved that about this car as much as I loved the surge of adrenaline I got every time I accelerated, that howling, testosterone spiking, savagery of that magnificent V8. I loved the way the car made me feel confident. I had a bogun tail gate me up the highway at some point, edging me on, daring me to accelerate beyond the speed limit. But I didn’t need to respond. I was the lion and he, in his little SS Holden, was the sheep bleating at my 20″ Pirelli shod heels. He and his car were full of bluster, he waved his tattooed arms, shook his heat and muttered to himself repeatedly and eventually changed lanes. All the while I smiled to myself. No matter how the wind blows and howls, the mountain remains unmoved. I had nothing to prove in this car. It was a statement unto itself. It looked faster parked, than that Holden ever could racing.
As I write this I sigh, I have gone back to my practical 2 litre diesel car, which until that weekend I thought fulfilled all I needed in a car. Now I know otherwise. Now I know the journey can truly be as important as the destination. I had forgotten that after years of my beige diesel driving.
Thank you TVG.
Thanks to everyone who entered the competition and to Mitchell, Brody and Matt for three great stories about their weekends with the car!