‘ESTATE OF SPEED’
Added 22nd April, 2016
By Jonathan Crouch
Never mind the R8 supercar or the TT coupe, if you want to understand how brilliant Audi can be in building a sporting car, the RS4 is always the best barometer, especially in this third generation guise. With 450PS from a hand built 4.2-litre V8 that revs to 8,250rpm, it's obviously fast, but thanks to clever electronics, optimised weight distribution and a more rear-driven agenda, this generation version puts something on the menu that's sometimes been absent from Audi RS models: fun.
Is it perfect? No of course it isn't. The steering lacks a little feedback, the fuel tank is too small to match the engine's thirst and we can't afford one. Other than that, it's virtually flawless, which is impressive as it doesn't really have to be. After all, what other high-performance four-wheel drive estate car is there to challenge this one? An AMG Mercedes or an M Power BMW from this era wouldn't give you the all-round grip. A high performance SUV couldn't offer the pin-sharp handling.
Perhaps this MK3 RS4 needed to be this good to continue deterring rivals from making a challenge. Who knows? What's beyond debate is that if you love fast cars and need something with more than a little practicality and year-round capability, then this Audi stands head and shoulders above anything else remotely comparable. Drive it and you'll experience a slightly guilty thrill as if something this much fun really couldn't be legal. One day cars like this might well be legislated out of existence. In the meantime, enjoy this one while you can.