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Subtle visual changes and technology upgrades provide light enhancements to the Audi RS4 Avant's already captivating speedy wagon formula.

21 Nov 2020


If you wanted a car that was fast, practical, versatile and family-friendly, common wisdom nowadays says that you'd buy a fast SUV. Except of course, you shouldn't.

What you should do is buy a wagon. Something like this one - the updated Audi RS4 Avant.

Dare to flair

The wider Singleframe grille lends the RS4 Avant a sleeker look
Much like the Audi RS5 that we recently drove, the Audi RS4 Avant has received a number of updates for 2020.

The exterior is sleeker now, thanks to a wider and lower grille. It's still a sublimely handsome car, especially when viewed head on. Striding up to it in the carpark, the RS4 definitely makes you grin, and puts just a little extra pep in your step.

The head lights and taillights have been subtly redesigned with new digital details. The car also rides on big 20-inch wheels as standard, sitting within the flared wheel arches. Sweet.

There is now a new RS performance display mode for the Digital Cockpit
The interior receives the same changes as the RS5. On the steering wheel, you will find a new RS Mode button, as well as refinished gearshift paddles in aluminium.

The Digital Cockpit also has a new RS performance display mode. The heads-up display also presents new information.

As with all the new Audis, infotainment operation is conducted entirely via the 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, I again find it to be a tad ergonomically inconvenient (something I've highlighted in like the past four Audis I've driven).

With 495 litres of boot space, the RS4 Avant will easily meet all your hauling needs
Importantly, as this is a wagon, the RS4 Avant also delivers ample practicality. The 495-litre boot is not significantly less (10% less in fact) than what you'd find in a Q5, a X3 or a GLC (all have 550 litres of boot space). Boot space can also be expanded to 1,495 litres with the rear seats folded.

Forceful ease

On the road, the RS4 Avant delights with its ease of use. Steering is weighted but comfortable, the ride firm but surprisingly forgiving, power effortlessly on tap, and the car just demonstrates ample all-round capability. Of note, the ride on the updated RS4 Avant is a lot more forgiving than I remember the the previous model to be. 

The 2.9-litre V6 engine pumps out 444bhp and 600Nm of torque to deliver effortless acceleration
Oh, did I mention that it's blisteringly fast? With 444bhp and 600Nm of torque from the 2.9-litre V6 engine, the RS4 Avant completes the century sprint is just 4.1 seconds. It makes a good sound too. Deep and soulful, entertaining without being obnoxious.

Dynamically, the RS4 is reassuringly accessible. You can chuck it around without really worrying about things getting too out of hand. It stays planted through hard cornering, and there's always a sense of stability.

Is it the most exciting car to drive? No, it's not. But that's not its purpose. Instead, where the RS4 Avant excels is by delivering all-around capability and joy with shockingly little compromise. 

A strong suit

The RS4 Avant combines broad functionality with unique personality to create something rather special
Audi knows a thing or two about making fast wagons. The new RS4 continues to fly the flag of the modern wagon - understated, ever-dependable and just much more interesting and more characterful than the slew of quick SUVs on the road.

There's not denying the RS4 Avant's ability to stand out. Brightly coloured (usually), confidently mannered and deeply all-rounded, the RS4 Avant bleeds unique personality without being over-the-top.

Admittedly, the $404,075 (as of 6 November 2020) asking price for the RS4 Avant is, well, a lot. For that sort of money, you could instead opt for some big, fast SUVs like a Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport or a Mercedes-Benz GLC43.

You could. Most people probably would. But then, where's the fun in just being yet another face in the crowd?

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Car Information

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Audi RS4 Avant 2.9 TFSI qu Tip (A)
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Price

: POA

Engine Type

:

V6 Bi-Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2894cc

Horsepower

:

331kW (444 bhp) / 6700 rpm

Torque

:

600 Nm / 5000 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Tiptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.1sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

10.5 km/L

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audi  audi rs4  rs4  avant  rs4 avant  audi rs4 avant  rs4 facelift