Please, fire up the qu­at­tro....

Good­bye Audi RS4

Top Gear (UK) - - GARAGE | AWARDS 2018 - JACK RIX

Whoa, that went fast. Six months is up and the RS4 is no more. But if I’m hon­est, it’s left me more than a lit­tle bit con­flicted. You see, I’m go­ing to miss it ter­ri­bly – as rapid, fuss-free fam­ily wheels go, it’s an ab­so­lute blinder – but it might also be the de­fin­i­tive fast car for peo­ple who don’t like fast cars very much. As some­one who likes them a lot, so much so that I’ve pur­sued a ca­reer writ­ing about the damn things, you can see my in­ter­nal cri­sis.

For me, a true RS, AMG, M, SVR, etc – one that will stand the test of time – has to have a cer­tain level of com­pro­mise, a mod­icum of ev­ery­day us­abil­ity sac­ri­ficed at the al­tar of speed. It’s not that I par­tic­u­larly like winc­ing over traf­fic humps or not be­ing able to hear my pod­cast prop­erly on the M1, it’s just that these are en­tirely ac­cept­able when a car is ca­pa­ble of in­cred­i­ble poise, agility and fire­works when you take it for a proper drive.

With the RS4, it ap­pears Audi has placed com­fort and re­fine­ment to match the A4 Avant 2.0-litre diesel at the top of its wish list, and worked from there. As a re­sult, it rides per­fectly well at low speeds, even on its span­gly 20-inch alu­minium wheels, and de­vours huge dis­tances with ease. But on the flip­side, when you want it to re­ally let rip, the deficit is too much to make up. Flick into Dy­namic and the gar­gling V6 sounds the part, if a lit­tle syn­thetic, but the chas­sis and steer­ing can’t quite keep pace. It can never hide its mass and rid it­self of wal­low in the sus­pen­sion, de­spite be­ing quite shock­ingly fast on the straight bits.

This may well be ex­actly how Audi in­tended it and pre­cisely what its cus­tomers were ask­ing for, but this cus­tomer would pre­fer the dial turned up a bit – oth­er­wise you might as well save your­self £25,000 and buy an S4 Avant in­stead.

That said, from the quilted seats to its an­gry face, it’s a beau­ti­ful ob­ject to touch and be­hold – and one that met with uni­ver­sal ap­proval from friends and fam­ily... sug­gest­ing I’m prob­a­bly read­ing into this too much and should just ap­pre­ci­ate it for what it is: a straight­line mis­sile with a use­fully sen­si­ble side.

Fast Audis have al­ways been cool. Mr Rix, not so much

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