2017 Audi RS4 Avant first drive: Absurdly rapid daily driver

The performance subsidiary of Audi has had a rebrand, changing its name from Quattro GmbH to Audi Sport and broadening its field of play accordingly. Fear not, because fast, four-wheel-drive vehicles will continue to remain core to the range and the all-new Audi RS4 Avant represents the latest in absurdly rapid daily drivers.

Estate cars may have experienced a serious loss of potency in the UK, as new car buyers switch camps to the all-conquering SUV – but the RS4 Avant proves the cult of the performance wagon is still alive and kicking.

2017 Audi RS4 Avant
2017 Audi RS4 Avant
2017 Audi RS4 Avant

First impressions

This is the fourth iteration of the Audi RS4 Avant since the original version was unveiled in 1999. It loses the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 of its predecessor (the B8 RS4), returning to its V6 twin-turbocharged roots (the B5 RS4) with an all-new 2.9-litre TFSI petrol engine. Compared to the previous RS4, it develops an identical 444bhp, but offers a whopping 442lb ft of torque – that’s an increase of 125lb ft.

It’s incredibly mean and purposeful to look at. That is, of course, if you know what you’re looking at. To the uninitiated, the RS4 Avant could just as well be another posh estate with a split-folding three-seat rear bench, a 505-litre boot and a power operated tailgate. Yet for those in the know, they’ll spot the 7mm lower ride height, double-take those twin oval exhausts and silver-capped (or, in our test car’s case, black-capped) door mirrors, or dream of 1980s rallying Quattro dominance when ogling aroun...