For families on the go
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.
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.