Running one of Audi’s most powerful estate cars at a time when fuel prices are rising faster than a child’s excitement levels on Christmas morning, could be seen as a somewhat foolish choice.
And you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying every minute behind the wheel of our brilliant primer grey Audi RS4.
Every time I drive the performance estate car I try to steal my glare away from the instant fuel consumption figure on the dashboard that, around town, often tells me I’m managing just 17mpg. Yes, 17.
That said, on longer journeys – and, since I’ve taken custody of the keys, there have been a few – it can actually achieve around 33mpg.
While that’s not exactly fuel-sipping, it’s pretty good for a car that’s got 444bhp and is capable of hitting 60mph in a smidge over four seconds.
What I’ve quickly come to realise is that this car is seriously fast. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine conjures up grunt throughout its rev range and it really is explosive off the line.
The power is combined with a ride quality that some might brand as too soft, but I can’t help but think it’s absolutely perfect. My long-term test car has the optional RS Sport Suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (£2,000) which I suspect is the reason for the plushness and an option I highly recommend.
The more I use the Audi the more I realise this is my ideal car. It’s got boot space to carry the truck loads of paraphernalia new babies come with, five seats and a beautiful interior. Plus, did I mention it’s really quite fast?
The driving position is close to perfect and the sports seats are superbly comfortable. On a recent six-hour journey to Leeds and back it never once caused an ache or pain – and this is coming from a man often labelled ‘a bit whiney’ that has sports therapy for a back problem once a week.
What I have realised, though, is that although it looks pretty big on the outside, inside the RS4 rapidly seems to run out of room.
Take our baby seat as an example. It’s one of these latest Isofix jobbies with a base that stays in the car, which makes it very easy to fix in place. But, once the young man is attached to his seat, the front seat passenger has to make good friends with their knees as they’re now so close to their face they’re impossible to ignore.
That said, the flexibility of being able to pop the rear seats down opens up far more carrying capacity – which is what an estate is all about. Recently, I needed to move a 2.5m inflatable boat around (don’t ask) and, once deflated, managed to squeeze the whole thing in the back.
I have very few complaints. The multimedia system is one of the simplest and most effective to use and I love the digital dashboard display that can be manipulated to suit your preferences – from a huge map to what music you’re listening to. And the ease with which it all works is brilliant.
I also love the way the RS4 looks – so much so that I’ve already treated it to two home valeting sessions from a local firm, Pure Correction, run by Rob Cotmore. He visits your home and cleans your car on your drive and his attention to detail is utterly impeccable. A colleague popped by the other day and didn’t believe I’d actually been driving the Audi as it was so clean.
I don’t want this to be all gushing praise, though, so I’ll end with one gripe.
Every time I get out of the car it plays a deep, bassy triple drumbeat noise, which I suspect Audi expected to sound like a beating heart, but all I fear is the neighbours thinking I’ve been listening to drum and bass. There’s probably a way to turn it off, if I remember to do it, I’ll try and report back if it’s possible next time.
Model: Audi RS4
Price as tested: £85,000
Engine: 3.0-litre twin turbo petrol
0-60mph: 4.1 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
MPG: 28.5mpg (combined)
Emissions: 225g/km CO2