Where do I start? I entered the ‘Weekend with the #TVGRS4U’ competition on a whim at work. Never thinking I had a chance of winning, I didn’t even bother checking to see the result. But, on Thursday afternoon I received an SMS that would lead to my greatest driving experience and one of the best weekends ever. James from TVG wanted to know if I could get to Audi Centre Sydney to collect the RS4 Avant. What a question!
I spent the rest of Thursday day dreaming and planning my driving weekend. Friday I would spend scaring friends and family with the Audi’s awesome acceleration and brakes that slap Newton in the face. Saturday and Sunday I would take the girlfriend and discover the Hunter Valley region. Top Gear’s ‘Australia’s Best Driving Roads’ article suggested Thunderbolts Way north of the Hunter and work mates suggested Putty Road as a route between Windsor and NSW’s Wine Region. So with my trip all planned, I headed to Audi expecting to have fun in a fast car, but once I got behind the wheel all those expectations went out the window. I could never have imagined how great a driving machine the RS4 is.
The RS4 Avant is a bold car built on the understated body of the standard A4, but exaggerating and expanding lines and arches create strong impressions of power and ability. In the flesh it’s a stunning beast and when I pressed unlock for the first time the xenon headlights flashed on waking animal from its slumber. Sitting in the cabin is (almost) half the fun, leather everywhere and carbon fibre trimmings. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is surreal, so much so that a number of times I noticed background singers and instruments in songs I’d never noticed before (on a related note, I now have a new found appreciation for The Chemical Brothers). There are acres of space for back seat passengers and the boot is more than you need for day to day. In case you ever forget what you’re sitting in the RS badge is splashed around the cabin to remind you. And, in the car’s ‘Comfort’ mode this is easier to forget than you might expect.
Driving in this mode the cabin is quiet, the suspension soft and the handling is light. The car is at its tamest, and this is the mode I would spend most of my city driving in if I owned this car and drove it every day. But, I only had the car for just over 48 hours. Not nearly enough time to test the practicalities of the car, I’m sure they’re great, but I was not interested in these practicalities. I was much more interested in the RennSport (translates to Racing Sport) part of the RS4 Avant. So ‘Dynamic’ mode it was to be then. Once engaged, the engine rumbles louder and deeper, a not-so-subliminal message urging you to press your foot down. The steering stiffens and the ride hardens. I caved pretty quickly and pressed my foot down vaulting the car forward. It roared into life and confirmed my suspicions. It’s quick, seriously quick, like from zero-to-lose-your-licence-in-less-than-4-seconds quick.
It was pretty interesting to learn how my friends and family deal with the exhilaration that comes in the cabin of a high revving 331kW beast of a machine. Most screamed, some went deathly quiet, a few made weird guttural noises I’ve never heard a human make before, but all left the car with an ear to ear smile. Even if Mum’s was because she was glad to still be alive.
Sydney city is not the place to enjoy the engineering feats under the hood of this car and so Saturday afternoon I set off to the Hunter to learn what the car is capable of. Capable is actually a great way to describe the car. At all times it feels capable. Want to go faster, it’s capable of that. Want to go around that twist and then follow it up with a sharp turn, capable of that. Want to stop on a dime, capable of that. It does what you ask when you ask it and until I experienced it for myself I had no idea that cars were capable of performing in such a way. Putty road and Thunderbolts way were fantastic. Long stretches of straights coupled with sections of tight bends on steep inclines and declines coupled with some awe inspiring Australian landscape. Breaks were few and far between, I was addicted. Every time I stopped I felt like I was losing time, so we only stopped for essentials (food, water and bathroom breaks) and the few we took were rushed. It was like having my own personal rollercoaster and the smile did not leave my face for the entire weekend.
Taking the RS4 Avant back on the Monday was the only part I did not enjoy. I drove around the Zetland a few times trying to delay the inevitable. But, all good things in life must come to an end and I did eventually return it. However, it’s a weekend that will live long in my memory. A weekend in which I enjoyed every high octane fuelled second.
Many thanks to lads at The Versatile Gent for providing me with such a good thing and such an experience.
– Mitch Ross.
Keen to spend a weekend with the #TVGRS4U? Head to over to our Facebook comp and get involved. Next winner will be drawn Monday the 29th of September to experience the car for the October long weekend!