Plowing down a final straight before a 90 degree right then a hairpin left, it’s easy to forget you’re behind the wheel of a practical family wagon.
The Audi RS4 has always been a slightly mad version of the standard A4, but to the untrained eye it looks like any other wagon.
It has a big boot and plenty of room in the back seats, so it can happily swallow your family and their belongings.
The subtly of the RS4 is one of its best qualities, but it's the details that give it away as something special. The bulging wheel arches, big wheels, drilled brakes and fat exhaust pipes.
Under the bonnet is a hand-built 4.2-litre V8 producing 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque. It’s enough to get this car from naught to 100 in 4.7 seconds.
Press the starter button and switch the Drive Select to “dynamic” and the big V8 makes it’s prescence known.
Thanks to Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive system, there’s so much grip off the line that you could match that in pretty much any scenario.
And you’ll want to rev it out to it’s red line past 8000rpm, the rich sound of the V8 engine only getting better as the revs rise..
Shift up with the split-second shifting 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and the aural feast begins again.
The exhaust purrs on every upshift and blips on the downshifts. There’s always something going on to make that engine sing.
Show it some corners and that all wheel drive system continues to pay dividends. In typical nose-heavy Audi fashion it will sooner fun wide, lacking the playful character of a rear driver, but its predictability inspires so much confidence that you spend less time arguing with the electronic nannies and more time punching out of corners.
In Dynamic mode the steering is quick but artificially heavy, best bet is to adjust the “Individual” setting to lighten it up.
In a car like this one equipped with the Dynamic Ride Control, the comfort setting for the suspension is a better choice on a rough country road too.
We’ve also got the optional bucket seats that hold you tight at the limit, but they’re too firm and high sided for the comfortable day to day use. I’d save your money.
At just under $150 grand without options it’s not what you’d call cheap, but if you want a sensible performance rocket that you can drive every day, the Audi RS4 Avant is the thinking man's choice.