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Audi RS4 Avant Review

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Audi RS4

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Audi RS4

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Audi RS4

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Performance
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Sports and family car combined

Best bits

  • Incredible potential performance, mated to a surefooted four-wheel drive system
  •  Lighter than its predecessor, and more economical, too
  • Audi remains the class leader when it comes to interiors, and the RS4 exemplifies this even further

Not so great

  • Yes, it’s fast and enormously capable, but all that’s achieved without a huge amount of fun
  • Audi is cheeky making you pay extra for the RS Sports Exhaust 
  • The standard suspension is a bit too taut around town, but the optional set-up too loose in the bends 

Read by

Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Front

Overall verdict

Audi RS4 Avant Interior

On the inside

Audi RS4 Avant Driving

Driving

Audi RS4 Avant Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Side

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Think fast estates and it’s impossible not to think of Audi, and its RS4. The company almost single-handedly, created the rocketship fast family hauler, and it remains inextricably linked to them."

Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Front

The RS4 uses big power, 450PS to be exact with quattro four-wheel drive to exploit it. And it’s all wrapped up in a sensible estate car body that's based on the Audi A4 Avant. That sensible part is relative, here, as for all the RS4’s practicality, it’s quite obviously not a 1.6 turbodiesel powered A4. Indeed, the RS4 is almost comically proportioned with swollen wheel arches filled with 19- or 20-inch alloys, a front bumper with intakes in it big enough to swallow oncoming traffic, while the exhaust pipe finishers round the back are the diameter of storm drains. 


There have been a few RS4s to get us to this current one. Previous models all doing the same thing - speed and space - though Audi hasn’t stuck to an engine type, with the genre having everything from an in-line 5-cylinder turbo, 2.7-litre twin turbo V6, 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 and, thanks to emissions and economy regulations, a 2.9-litre twin turbo today. It was launched back in 2018, though late 2019 saw the RS4 revised for the 2020 model year onwards. 


The current car gained no new sheet metal, but the bumpers swelled in their proportions and bold, functional style front and back, while the RS4 adopted the A4’s most recent head and tail lights. Inside nothing much changed, save for some updates to the infotainment system, while Audi removed some weight and tweaked the engine and transmission to produce better economy and emissions figures. It did so without changing the 450PS output, or the 600Nm of torque that 2.9-litre twin turbo V6 engine develops. It’s an engine, which serendipitously, has a link to that RS2, because it’s an engine that’s used by Porsche, in the Panamera.  


Audi’s usual attention to detail inside is apparent the second you get in it. Few companies do interiors with such fine materials and design, it all beautiful to look at and operate. Direct rivals are few, BMW has never offered is 3-Series performance flagship M3 in estate guise, while Alfa Romeo doesn’t currently make an estate version of its Quadrifoglio, leaving only Mercedes-AMG with the C63S estate and Alpina with the B3 Touring to rock up to a RS4 triple test with any chance of taking on the RS4. 


Other, indirect, rivals could be any number of high performance SUVs, though the RS4 does seem to appeal to the type of driver who’s wedded to the idea of estate cars over the idea of SUVs, and, driving the RS4, it’s difficult not to agree with them. 


Ready to get your top quality Audi RS4?

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Audi RS4

RS 4 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic

  • 2020
  • 1,743 miles
  • Bedford Audi
  • Bedford, MK429XE
Price (ex VAT):£63,990
PCP: £887.41/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £887.41, Customer Deposit: £9,598.00, Total Deposit: £9,598.50, Optional Final Payment: £32,072.50, Total Charge For Credit: £8,740.35, Total Amount Payable: £72,730.35, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 15.58ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Audi RS4

RS 4 TFSI Quattro Vorsprung 5dr S Tronic

  • 2020
  • 4,475 miles
  • Cambridge Audi
  • Cambridgeshire, CB223AY
Price (ex VAT):£74,990
PCP: £968.29/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £968.29, Customer Deposit: £11,248.00, Total Deposit: £11,248.50, Optional Final Payment: £40,361.25, Total Charge For Credit: £10,509.90, Total Amount Payable: £85,499.90, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 15.58ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Audi RS4 right for you?

You’ll read everywhere that the RS4 is the perfect all-round car for a family in a hurry, but you don’t actually have to have any children for it to make perfect sense. Indeed, if you’ve a busy life and want to keep the miles off your super or sports car, then an RS4 is quite possibly the perfect choice. Fast and incredibly surefooted, it’s an all-weather weapon that’ll carry everything you could possibly want it to, without having to hire a van with an afterburner. 


It might have slightly overt looks, but it’s still a fairly stealthy way of having a mega performance car, without necessarily shouting about it. People will look and think ‘sensible estate’ leaving only the well-informed knowing its real potential. Take the badges off it, order it in a sober colour and go with the standard 19-inch wheels and you’ll increase that effect even further. If you’re even reading this, then the RS4 is almost certainly a car you should consider. 


What’s the best Audi RS4 model/engine to choose ?

As the range-topping car in the A4 range, the RS4 only comes with a single engine and transmission choice. That’s a 450hp, 2.9-litre twin turbo V6, which allows it a 4.1 second 0-62mph time and a 174mph potential top speed – if you’ve paid Audi to up the electronic speed limiter from the normal 155mph limit. 


There are different choices within the RS4 line-up though, the standard car, the RS4 Avant (that’s estate in Audi speak – no saloon available with any RS4) followed by the Carbon Black, which, unsurprisingly, adds some black carbon outside and in, and covers all the brightwork on the standard RS4 and paints it black. 


That’s a £6000 lift in price over the circa £65,000 price of the ‘entry’ RS4. If you’re the type of buyer who wants absolutely everything, and, let’s face it, a lot of RS4 buyers will fall into this category, there’s the Vorsprung (advancement, roughly translated from German) which is a tech-laden RS4. 


None of the Vorsprung’s extra equipment would be a deal-breaker for us over the standard RS4, and certainly not enough to justify the near £20,000 price difference. Add the optional sports exhaust to the standard car, though, it’s a must-have, likewise the Comfort and Sound Package.  


What other cars are similar to the Audi RS4?

Audi has pretty much had this marketplace to itself for a long time, but that’s not to say there aren’t rivals, there just aren’t that many of them. The most obvious is the Mercedes-AMG C63/C63S Estate, which is powered by a turbocharged V8 engine, with even more power than the RS4. It’s a lot more of a handful to drive, thanks to rear-wheel drive only. 


The only other direct competitor is the Alpina B3 Touring, the small firm’s BMW-based machines are coveted by car enthusiasts, the B3 being based on the BMW 3 Series. Like the RS4, the B3 Touring is powered by a turbo charged six-cylinder (straight, not V6) engine, and features four-wheel drive. There’s not a great deal of choice then, but what choices there are, are all rather appealing.  


In a nutshell

Few cars offer the rounded capability of the Audi RS4, there’s near supercar pace, all-weather capability and practicality. It really is a one car fits all machine. Throw in a beautiful interior and it’s a compelling buy, though for all its pace and performance, it’s a little bit lacking in driver engagement.  It does everything, is capable of shocking pace, but for all of that it’s a bit lacking in charm. 


Learn more

Audi RS4 Avant Interior

On the inside

Audi RS4 Avant Driving

Driving

Audi RS4 Avant Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Side

Prices, versions and specification