Audi RS4 Avant 2.9 TFSI Qu Tiptronic Review
Jolly Green Giant Performance

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
25 Feb 2021
 

New to the car is a new ‘MS’ shift mode, which noticeably quickens up the gear shifts, allowing you to squeeze that little more out from the drivetrain. 

The Audi A4 range has recently gone through an extensive makeover. And while the A4 Sedan, and even their Avant has been visually softened up, their fire-breathing RS4 on the other hand hasn’t really been tweaked much externally.

This RS-badged Audi is really quite a special thing to behold, and I would say that the car in its pre-facelifted form was already a headturner. It is a treat for the eyes, with its proportionate and functional estate styling and big 20” metal, shod with 275/30 R20 shoes (my personal favourite is the optional Matte Bronze five-spoke design that is a $9,584 option), housed within blistered wheel arches. Those with a keen eye, would be able to spot unique RS-badged car features, like its quad exhaust pipes, shrouded two-each in elliptical finishers. 

Both the RS4 and RS6 Avant cars hold an important place in the heart of the Audi brand. The first vehicle use of the RS nameplate was in the mid-90s, with Audi fielded the Audi 80-based RS2 Avant (with a little help in development from their Porsche cousin), that car then, featured their then signature 5 cylinder turbocharged engine (oh how I love the sound of these), and of-course, their famous quattro all-wheel drive.

Spotting the restyled RS4 Avant would likely require a double take, since it really is a minor nose and tail job here. The headlamps have been simplified, and now feature digital details. The frame around the grill has been omitted, and Audi has, like in their facelifted A4 and A5 range, added a faux slotted air vent above the grill, paying homage to their legendary Audi Sport Quattro. Like the font headlamps, the rear also now features their new digital detail.

Inside

While most of the RS4’s interior remains unchanged, the infotainment system is an all-new MIB3 powered Multi Media Interface (MMI), which also displays RS-specific information. With the new and larger 10.1” touchscreen, Audi has also eliminated the control knob and button array in the centre console. You can still see where it used to be, where it is now a covered cubby hole (strangely, the A4 and related A5 Sportback does not come with a retractable lid). The new infotainment unit behaves in a similar user friendly and intuitive fashion as the previous system, and Audi has improved on connectivity and its search ability. One of the key features is its ability to quite easily recognise left-handed scribbles (well if you are a left-hander in this case, you wouldn’t know our right-handed struggle), as you doodle in your location.

Those in-front will benefit from the electrically adjustable bucket seats, complete with thigh bolsters to hold you in place. There is just one issue though, if you are driving alone, you will find that the catch for the passenger seat belt will often come into contact with the hard backing of the front seat, which can be quite annoying; and also, over a prolonged period, might cause some surface damage to the seatback itself. 

The signature quality of Audi car interiors is prevalent in the RS4 Avant, where you can expect quality surfaces, and very good fit and finish. For the RS-badged car, the rhombus-theme from the front grille, is brought into the interior through its seat stitchings.

Luggage capacity at 495 litres, trumps the sedan’s 460 litres, and with the rear seats folded, the Avant body is capable of lugging 1,495 litres, with cargo loaded to the roof. I particularly like how the cargo cover automatically retracts with the opening of the trunk lid, making access to the boot much easier. To secure your items and prevent them from rolling around, Audi has also included a cargo net.

The Drive

Like before, the RS-badged Audi receives its power from a 2.9 litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine, which is derived from the 3.0 V6 used in the Audi S4. Changes made to harness more performance like a shortened valve lift, larger crank main bearing and an aluminium-silicon alloy crankcase; coupled with a “hot-vee” placement of its turbochargers, translates to 444bhp and 600Nm. Compared to the V8 used in the previous generation RS4, the V6 is 31kg lighter, meaning not only that you are lugging less weight around, but also a front-end that potentially turns in a little quicker.

With the smaller engine, that V8 growl that we used to enjoy is no more. What you do get instead is a more muted experience, but acceleration is still rapid, with the Audi estate car reaching 100km/h in 4.1 seconds, with drive supplied to front and rear axles via an 8-speed ZF 8HP family transmission. What I do like is that even with the characteristics of modern-day turbocharged engines, where maximum torque is produced at significantly lower rpms, delivery in this V6 is somewhat linear, before torque peaks at 1,900rpm; meaning that the car does not feel sluggish when driven in start-stop city traffic, and delivery of the drive is pleasantly linear.

The RS mode button which is situated on the steering wheel allows drivers to call up two customised drive modes, making it easy to switch the car from say… a comfortable Sunday driver, to a white knuckled track weapon. In most driving situations, the RS4 Avant drives with a 60% rear-wheel bias; and it is able to transfer the bulk of its drive to either front (70%) or rear (85%) axles, when slippage occurs.

New to the car is a new ‘MS’ shift mode, which noticeably quickens up the gear shifts, allowing you to squeeze that little more out from the drivetrain. 

Being an estate, you might just occasionally feel that slightest extra weight at the rear as you pitch the car through a series of tight bends, but overall, the RS4 Avant bites into corners in predictable fashion; and if you know how to put that power down, it does deliver a satisfying drive, while staying so pleasantly planted.

The RS4 Avant, which already sits 7mm lower than its S4 sibling on standard springs, is also available with the RS Sport Suspension Plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), another $9,584 option. The system improves handling even further, with the help of an integrated roll and pitch stabiliser. However, without the performance suspension option, the RS-badged Audi does ride decently well, on its fixed springs. Even with its firmness, it allows for a little bit of play to cope with bumps on the road.

Our Thoughts

One of the things that Audi seems to love making, is a good wagon (not making love to a good wagon… they are two very different things). While it is a little left-of-field within our region, being a little bit of a rare breed here in my books, makes the RS4 Avant one of the coolest D Segment performance cars that money can buy.

If you are looking for a performance car that is raw and loud you might be slightly disappointed. While that V6 together with that splendid quad exhaust does have a pretty satisfying soundtrack, the RS4 Avant comes across as a little more “business suit” than “t-shirt and ripped jeans”.

In Summary

We Like

Performance. Well balanced. Unique wagon body style is one of my favorites. Build quality is hard to beat. MS drive mode a plus, bringing you even more responsive gear changes.

We Don't

Front seat belt when not in use, knocks onto the seat back throughout your drive. Infotainment screen a magnet for fingerprints.

Verdict

Fabulous performance in a wagon body is admittedly one of my favourite combinations, and the Audi RS4 Avant is as visually powerful to look at, as it is powerful a drive.

Car Loan Calculator - Audi RS4 Avant 2.9 TFSI Qu

SGD 357,623 (7 Jan 2021)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 2894cc Turbocharged
Engine Type V 6
Power 450bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 600Nm @ 1900rpm
Power to Weight 251.4 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 4.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Wagon
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4781 x 2022 x 1404) mm
Wheelbase 2826 mm
Kerb Weight 1790 kg
Boot Capacity 505 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 58 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs