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Audi RS4 review 2020

Find out more about the Audi RS4 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£40,360
Average Price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Very quick
  • Spacious and practical
  • Good looks

Cons

  • Not particularly economical
  • Not as involving to drive as some rivals
  • New engine isn’t as charismatic as the previous V8
  • MPG

    30 - 30

  • CO2

    210 - 211 g/km

Model review

The first generation RS4 was in production from 1999 to 2001. It acted as a successor to the famed RS2 Avant – a car which was jointly developed with none other than Porsche – and took over the mantle of Audi’s hot mid-sized estate model. 

 

The performance estate, dubbed the B5 – due to being built on Volkswagen’s Group B5 platform – featured a punchy 2.7-litre V6. Fun fact; the engine was developed and manufactured in the UK by Cosworth Technology.  

 

In 2006, the B7 RS4 began production, and this time Audi decided to expand on the line-up. Rather than just offering the model in estate form, for the B7 version the RS4 was also available as saloon and a cabriolet. As well as upping the number of bodystyles offered in the range, Audi also increased the car’s cylinder count from six to eight. 

 

The B8 iteration began production in 2012 and opted more for an evolutionary stance rather than a revolutionary one. You see, it still featured a rev-happy naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 and only slightly improved upon performance. That being said, we think it’s a stunner in the looks department. 

 

However, in 2018, the B9, current version of the model began production, ushering in some interesting changes. 

Current model

As mentioned before, the current RS4 Avant came about in 2018. This time around, like the majority of its rivals, Audi decided to downsize its engine to the disappointment of many B7 and B8 fans. Now a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6, it doesn’t quite pack the muscle car exhaust note of its predecessors, but on the flip side, the model puts out identical horsepower to the old V8 – 444bhp to be exact. 

 

Open the taps on the RS4 and its properly quick. We’ll talk figures more in the engine section of the review, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Audi RS cars are very rapid machines. Apart from the engine powering the hot estate car, the model’s performance is aided by the firm’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system and a quick-shifting transmission. 

 

Something also worthy of mention is that the model received a minor update, tweaking the car’s styling and engine (among other small alterations) to keep it feeling fresh and up to date. 

 

Value for money

New RS4 Avant models start at £64,600, which is roughly in-line with rivals. For example, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate is priced from £75,868, while the BMW M3 is available from £59,905 – keep in mind, however, that the latter is only offered in saloon form, not estate.  

 

On the used market, there are no shortage of examples to choose from throughout the generations. The B7 should be buyers cheapest port of call, although they are tending to hold their value well nowadays, going for around £10,500 for high-mileage ones. For a latest generation RS4, expect to pay upwards of around £54,000. 

 

Looks and image

While the B9 is more sleek than muscular compared to its butch predecessor, we believe it still looks pretty amazing. It’s not too flashy and obnoxious but is notably aggressive and sporty looking – just as a fast estate should be. While, personally, we prefer the styling of the B8 a tad more, the latest RS4 is still a very attractive car in our eyes – no complaints here.   

Space and practicality

The advantage of going for the RS4 over a dedicated sports coupe is increased practicality thanks to the estate bodystyle. In this department, the model really does deliver due to an airy cabin and capacious boot. Starting with the interior, headroom and legroom is generous throughout – this means that even tall passengers should be able to get comfortable.  

 

The RS4 Avant has one of the biggest boots in its class at a healthy 505 litres. The boot itself is a simple, usable space and the opening is nice and wide, making loading items a breeze.  

 

Engines

Just one engine is available with the RS4, but what an engine it is. The turbo V6, while lacking some of the charisma of the V8s which came before it, is packed full of addictive performance – with 444bhp, 0-60mph takes a mere 3.9 seconds. And to those worrying that downsized motor is short on chuff throughout the rev range compared to the larger V8s of previous versions, know that it pulls strong all the way to almost 7,000rpm.  

 

Running costs

Despite the RS4’s impressive performance, it aims at giving buyers relatively good economy – and for the most part, it succeeds. Yes, it isn’t ideal for those wanting to do plenty of motorway miles and get the most MPGs, but for a fast estate, it’s not too bad. Buyers can expect the model to return up to around 32.1mpg and emit 199g/km of CO2. This means that, while it isn’t massively cheap to run, the RS4 shouldn’t break the bank. 

Things to look out for

As the RS4 is packed full of tech – some good safety tech though, mind you – so there’s plenty of scope for electronical components to go wrong. Fortunately, there hasn’t been much outcry caused by glaring issues with the model and Audi usually isn’t scolded in the reliability surveys. With this in mind, buyers, for the most part, can rest assured knowing their RS4 should serve them well. 

 

Rivals

The RS4 faces a few rivals from the hot estate/saloon segment. Mainly, there’s the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate and BMW M3/M4 that it has to content with. But apart from that, buyers may also be interested in cars such as Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and, if you’re really thinking outside of the box, the Tesla Model 3. However, the Audi does make a good case for itself and has carved out its own niche within the segment.  

 

Depreciation

Usually, these sorts of cars from premium manufacturers would suffer from fairly harsh depreciation, but the RS4 has managed to not take too much of a hit as it’s become fairly desirable thanks to its impressive performance and practicality. This means that the model shouldn’t break the bank when it comes to selling it on – the RS4 offers a great all-round package, and that is something which seems to be in demand.   

Which RS4 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

RS 4 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Rs 4 Avant

Most MPG

RS 4 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Rs 4 Avant

Fastest Model (0-60)

RS 4 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Rs 4 Avant

Trims Explained

The RS4 is offered in three trim levels – RS 4, Carbon Black and Vorsprung.

'RS4'

This is the entry-level trim. It comes with kit such as matrix LED headlights with dynamic front and rear indicators, RS sports suspension, heated front RS super sports seats with massage function and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Priced from £64,600

'Carbon Black'

Carbon Black adds some sporty styling features like 20-inch alloy wheels in glossy black, front spoiler, sill extension inserts and diffuser insert in carbon, as well as carbon twin inlays.

Available from £71,000

'Vorsprung'

This is the range-topping trim level. Opting for it treats the RS4 to the Black Styling Pack – front lip spoiler, radiator grill frame and side window capping strips in high-gloss black – and inlays in piano finish, black.

Starts at £82,200

Summary

  1. The Audi RS4 is a performance estate car and the successor to the famed RS2 Avant
  2. The first generation was in production from 1999 to 2001
  3. The next two generations after featured a naturally aspirated V8
  4. The latest version of the model has a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6
  5. New RS4s start at £64,600
  6. Used examples go for as little as £10,500
  7. It’s a very attractive package
  8. The RS4 Avant is very practical
  9. With 444bhp, it’s very quick
  10. Three trim levels are offered with the car

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