For fam­i­lies on the go

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

PLAY­ERS on the left, spec­ta­tors on the right. Be tempted by Audi’s RS4 but be pre­pared to play hard— the Ger­man V8 will test your nerve, your arm mus­cles, your reflexes and your bank bal­ance.

The sta­tion wagon— Avant in Audi-speak— does a great im­pres­sion of be­ing civilised. But it can bite. The abrupt ex­haust bark on start-up is the clue. It’s as ef­fec­tive as a dober­man’s snarl on day­dream­ing passersby. It isn’t just a sta­tion wagon with big wheels but a sports ma­chine on the up­per level of the food chain.

Lit­tle comes close to the adrenalin surge pro­voked by the RS4’s open-baf­fled ex­haust — ex­cept the shove of ac­cel­er­a­tion that fol­lows.

VALUE

At $149,400, it’s good value for what you get— a su­perbly crafted, five-seat wagon that goes like stink yet has such driv­e­train flex­i­bil­ity that it copes with the race­track as read­ily as a crowded city street.

But you have to spend more to get the best out of the car. The dy­namic sports package ($7200) in­cludes ride con­trol and 20-inch al­loys. Sports ex­haust, at $2300, is a cheap way to an­nounce your­self. Heated seats are $800 (though should be in­cluded) and sexy RS seats are $4700— but you lose the side airbags.

‘‘ Free’’ stuff in­cludes Nappa leather up­hol­stery, 19-inch al­loys, elec­tric tail­gate, xenon head­lights with cor­ner­ing lights plus LED tail-lights, 180W 10-speaker au­dio, sat­nav and me­tal­lic or pearl-ef­fect paint.

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