Calling F1 drivers at heart
AUDI engineers are so proud of their new RS4 Avant that the Red Bull race track in Spielberg, Austria, was chosen for the launch of their latest model. It is when you get behind the wheel of this powerful hi-tech motor that the reason becomes clear.
Powered by a naturally aspired V8 4.2-litre engine, the take-off is incredibly fast, 0-100km in 4.7 seconds. Audi has built in a launch control system which manages the clutch engagement to cut out wheel spin for those who want an explosive start.
The top speed from this 480 bhp power unit is governed down to 250kmh as beneath the red-painted cylinder covers, the engine pumps out 430 Nm of torque between 4,000-6,000 rpm. Drivers get raw power by using the steering mounted paddles behind the steering wheel or can opt for the relatively more sedate driving through the dual clutch transmission that shifts automatically.
A big surprise is the claim that the RS4 can return 10.7L/100km (25.7mpg) in mix-ed driving which prompts Irish managing director Andrew Doyle to point out that the new arrival is so cleverly engineered and packaged that "it is a sports car for everyday use".
"It is a powerful car but has the lowest fuel consumption and emission figures in its field of competitors," he boasts. So, two for the price of one! It would need to be as this particular package costs almost €103,000 on the road. Not the fault of Audi, as between VAT and VRT, the Government's take is in the region of €47,000 added to the eventual price tag.
Few will get the opportunity to fully exploit the full potential of the awesome power unless they hire time on a race track. The 7-speed transmission is lightning fast and quattro permanent all-wheel-drive will keep you out of trouble in high speed driving. It is engineered to distribute power between the front and rear axles in a blink. High speed cornering is on tap which in most other vehicles would be considered reckless.
Harking back to Mr Doyle's "sports car for everyday use" promise, this Audi has a select driving dynamics system which allows the driver to select comfort, auto or dynamic modes. And just to impress the neighbours, the driver can even select the sound from the exhaust system. For improved handling there is an electromechanical power steering, along with a host of safety features.
The exterior design is just as impressive. The wedge-shaped LED headlights, single frame grille, large air inlets, 19-inch wheels, sharp creases that divide the bonnet line, flared wheel arches -- all make a strong statement. Inside the cabin is entirely in black with the exception of the roof. Sports seats and a full range of infotainment equipment is on board with a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth and sat/nav screen.