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Audi RS4 — long-term review
SUVs are fast becoming the default replacement for saloons and hatches and estates. They are the Swiss Army knives of the car world that also happen to be bang on trend. Fortunately, not everyone wants a ‘command’ driving position or to sacrifice their centre of gravity just to keep up with the neighbours.
If you need space but also speed, an estate is just so much better-looking, so much better to drive and so much cooler than a lumpy SUV. Or at least that’s what I have engrained on my brain. The question is, will it be a matter of weeks before I’m yearning for the SQ7 back? Or is the fast estate still king? Extra spice comes in the fact that it recently lost a twin test with the ruder AMG C63 estate, and I can see why. It’s not as exciting as the Merc on first hand shake, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion this one could be a slow burner…
I should declare now that I have previous with the RS4. Way back when I made a mean tea round at Autocar magazine, my first proper paid assignment was driving the 2006 V8 RS4 from London to Malaga, to meet the new V8-engined M3, and back. It was quite an adventure, mainly because I didn’t realise you had to input the country you were in on the satnav, and drove most of the way with a broadsheet atlas of Europe on my lap… but I digress. The trip burned a deep affection into me for the RS4’s crushing straight-line pace and continent-devouring abilities, and it’s never really left. The chance to live with one properly, then, is more than a little bit exciting.
So, our car. A resplendent Nardo grey Carbon Edition (carbon front spoiler, sill extensions, diffuser and 20in aluminium five-spoke wheels saving 2kg per corner – total weight saving 60kg, although at 1,730kg it’s still a porker). Choice options include heated front and rear seats (£300), a heated steering wheel (£175), the Driver Assistance Pack (£1,250), RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (£2,000) and a wireless charging dock for my phone (£325). Here we go then, RS4 ‘ownership’. Pinch myself time.