RS4 Avant combines Porsche-chasing performance with enough room for the labradors. Picture: SUPPLIED
RS4 Avant combines Porsche-chasing performance with enough room for the labradors. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Audi Sport portfolio in SA has gained two new high-performance members in the form of the Audi RS 4 Avant and RS 5 Sportback.

Since the launch of the Audi Sport sub-brand in SA in 2016, the range of high-performance vehicles has seen a notable growth in sales. In 2018 the brand increased sales of R8 and RS models by 28% compared to 2017.

The fourth-generation Audi RS4 Avant makes its local debut powered by a 2.9 TFSI engine with outputs of 331kW and 600Nm of torque, placing it top of the pile in the A4 family. Quattro drive distributes the power of the V6 twin-turbo engine across all four wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission with optimised shift times for high-adrenaline driving.

Audi claims a 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.1 seconds, along with the usual governed 250km/h top speed — but this can be increased to 280km/h with the optional RS dynamic package.

The design includes a front with solid air intakes in a honeycomb structure and a wide, flat single-frame grille. Flared wheel arches emphasise the sporting stance and at the rear the RS-specific diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and the RS roof spoiler make a bold statement.

Cornering ability is ensured by the RS sports suspension that makes the RS 4 Avant crouch 7mm lower than the S4. The RS sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes and RS-specific dynamic steering are available as optional extras. Drivers can create their own personal driving experience using the Audi drive-select dynamic handling system, which is fitted as standard.

The Quattro permanent all-wheel drive is a rear-weighted setup that by default sends 60% of the torque to the rear axle — but when the wheels start losing traction, up to 70% can be transferred to the front and up to 85% to the rear.

Wheel-selective torque control and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) also contribute to keeping this speedy Audi pointing in the right direction.

All this sporting prowess comes packaged in a practical car with a spacious 505l  boot that expands to 1,510l with the rear seats flipped down. The luggage compartment lid can be opened with gesture control.

The RS 5 Sportback is even quicker than the RS 4 Avant, but with less boot space. Picture: SUPPLIED
The RS 5 Sportback is even quicker than the RS 4 Avant, but with less boot space. Picture: SUPPLIED

Inside, the car’s athletic vibe is presented in two-tone Audi Sport entry lights and illuminated sill panel strips with an RS 4 logo. LED light guides trace the contours of the doors and the centre console, with the standard contour/ambiance lighting package coming in 30 colours.

RS sports seats in Fine Nappa leather with diamond stitching, black headlining, a flat-bottomed RS multifunction sports steering wheel and stainless steel pedals complete the athletic look.

Along with a fully digital instrument panel (“virtual cockpit” in Audi-speak) and navigation, the RS 4 Avant has a special RS screen to complement the infotainment and classic displays. This places the tachometer with an integrated digital display for speed in central focus. The driver can configure other displays around this, such as the torque, power, tyre pressure and G-forces. A lap timer records up to 99 laps and compares the times against each other.

The RS 4 Avant is delivered with an extensive range of standard equipment, including LED headlights and rear lights, 20-inch aluminium-forged alloy wheels, RS exhaust system and the Audi drive-select dynamic handling system.

If you can live with 30l less boot space, Audi has also launched the RS 5 Sportback, which is hustled along by the same V6 twin-turbo engine and Quattro drivetrain, but is even quicker from 0-100km/h, taking just 3.9 seconds.

Pricing (including five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway Plan):

Audi RS 4 Avant quattro tiptronic — R1,211,500

Audi RS 5 Sportback quattro tiptronic — R1,312,000