Every Audi fan’s favourite Avant is finally making its rounds in Singapore. Like the seminal Porsche-fettled RS 2, the latest B8 RS 4 will only be available in Avant (Audi-speak for estate), in contrast to its most recent predecessor’s (and six-speed manual-only) sedan and estate variants.
Considering how most of its rivals have shifted focus to turbocharging, we reckon this could well be one of the last applications for the venerable naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre V8 (up 30bhp to 450bhp in this version of the RS 4), which continues to belt out one of the most soulful tunes in stock form. At a whisker under $500k (with the latest ARF measures and CEVS penalty), that’s an eye-watering amount of money for the car, but considering it could possibly fulfil the role of “many cars to one household”, we reckon some might find its price-tag a snip.
Despite the rather congested traffic and short sample drive (for now), the acceleration from standstill to stop is explosive without recourse to Launch Control, which surprised us considering how the last generation took awhile to get into its long strides.
We thought we’d miss stirring a stick-shift, but the ratios of the seven-speed S tronic’s (Audi-speak for its dual-clutch transmission) are bang-on-the-money for the driver to exploit the naturally-aspirated V8’s power-band for a flying lap, yet as today’s route demonstrated, proved usably tractable when stuck in a line of soccer moms out on a school-run. Not only are the shift-shocks impressively in keeping for that racing feel, but there’s the requisite aural accompaniment with up- and down-shifts as well. We left steering, gearbox and engine in Dynamic and kept only the suspension settings in Comfort – for what it’s worth, there’s adequate feel and decent ride pliancy in this suspension mode.
There’s a sense of lightness and agility to the new RS 4 that we found lacking on its predecessor. Instead of going nuts in the horsepower and bigger-rims-are-better arms race, this Audi is shod in decently fender-filling 19-inch rims and adopts the more holistic approach by shedding kilogrammes, with the use of aluminium for chassis elements and brake rotor design among the various measures. It drives a lot smaller than its 1.8-tonne kilogrammes kerbweight may otherwise suggest (even though it’s up almost 100kg from the B7), with DRC (Dynamic Ride Control) carried over from the last car for better body control during high-g cornering. – DK
|Transmission||Seven-speed S Tronic|
|Top speed||250 km/h|
|Fuel economy||10.7 L / 100 km|
|Price as tested||$486,450 w/ COE|