Audi RS4 VS Audi RS6
- Immense traction
- Easy to drive fast
- Practical, too
- Steering not perfect
- Missing one or two things
- S4 makes better financial sense
- Obscene option prices
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Likes a drink
Think about the word ‘functional'. You might notice that there are three letters at the start of the word that people don't often associate with station wagons. That's not the case for the 2018 Audi RS 4.
This isn't your everyday station wagon. It's a hyperbole-generating monster - a family-friendly estate with a licence to punish. Audi goes as far as to suggest that it offers "supercar performance and everyday practicality".
And why wouldn't it? With a bolshie engine, all-wheel drive and more grunt than a pair of conjoined twin hot-hatches, it's a model that has little to prove... especially to those people who appreciate what those precious first three letters can do to improve a drab drive in city traffic.
But there's something that can't be understated about this new-generation RS 4: it isn't like the model that came before it. There's no V8 engine under that shapely bonnet, because of the the new RS 4 isn't like the old one. The V8 is gone... and yes, when I first read that Audi had done the unthinkable and pulled the bahnstorming eight-cylinder screamer in favour of a downsized twin-turbo six I was shocked and horrified.
Without its star attraction, could it still be fun? I don't want to spoil the story, so be sure to read on to find out...
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The La Rhin was a French merchant cargo ship, built in 1920, that for two decades quietly carried goods around the Mediterranean from its home port of Marseille. In 1940, during World War II, it was turned over to the British Royal Navy (it's a long story) and commissioned as HMS Fidelity.
In a short but tumultuous military career it served in the British Channel, presenting as an easy kill for German U-boats focused on cutting off supply lines to the UK. But Fidelity was a 'Q-ship', that under its unassuming exterior, was now armed with four fast-loading 4.0-inch guns, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and carried two Kingfisher floatplanes, a motor torpedo boat and a pair of landing craft.
In other words, underestimating the firepower lurking behind its relatively modest façade could prove to be a big mistake. And Audi's RS 6 Avant parallels the concept, except this time we're talking about a five-seat wagon that wouldn't raise an eyebrow in the Woolies car park, packing a 445kW twin-turbo V8 capable of blasting this two-tonne beast from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds. That's faster than a Lexus LFA, Ferrari F50, or Pagani Zonda C12 S. Wow!
So, what's it like to live with this ultimate Q-car; a heavy-hitting grocery-getter packing supercar performance and a $250k price tag?
|Engine Type||4.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
There is no doubting that the all-new Audi RS 4 is a pragmatic option, probably more so now than ever before. It does the dual-personality thing better than the model that came before it, and perhaps better than anything else at this price point, too.
If you want a practical family wagon that just also happens to be punishingly fast, and you have the budget to consider something like the new Audi RS 4, it should be on your shopping list. And probably towards the top, too.
Are you a fan of fast station wagons? Let us know in the comments section below.
Driving the Audi RS 6 Avant Performance is like discovering your mild-mannered accountant is a karate black belt who likes to go base jumping... after midnight. Surprising.
It's supercar fast and capable, yet practical and comfortable enough to serve as day-to-day family transport. It's not cheap (and neither are the options), but the thrills are huge.
Is the Audi RS 6 Avant Performance your kind of family truckster? Tell us in the comments below.
If you like wagons, you'll totally get it. If you're a hater, or even ambivalent, then you'll probably still get it.
Admittedly it could look even more aggressive, but it has to balance practicality with pouncing killy animal aggression. Even so, I think there's a lot to like here, from the squared-off front and rear quarter panels, the broad (even broader than the regular A4 range, in fact) 'single-frame' grille, and the bejewelled looking LED headlights.
It looks even better from behind, with the broad rear haunches really hunkering it down, and the wide tail-lights and sneaky little fake vents on the side adding extra back-end bulk. Note: the rear light-edge vents may be fake, but the front ones actually work to channel air to cool the brakes.
There are 20-inch wheels in a few different designs, but my personal choice would be the milled aluminium single-piece ones you see on the blue car in these images. They're gorgeous, even if they cost more. And I couldn't not have the signature Nogaro Blue Pearl, which was the same colour as the RS 2 wagon that started the hot wagon thing for Audi... again, at a high price.
Thankfully, I wouldn't need to spend an extra cent inside, because the interior is lush. There are all the typically Audi finishes - it's a high-end and luxurious environment, but with lashings of sporty elements that help it feel almost like a leather tracksuit. Take a look at the pictures of the interior to make up your own mind.
Compared with, say, a regular A4 Avant, the RS 4 Avant is bigger in every way except height. It measures 4781mm long (up 56mm), 1886mm wide (up 44mm) and 1404mm tall (down 30mm). It's quite heavy, too, weighing in at 1800kg, which is about 150kg more than the entry-level wagon.
As good as it looks, I just can't help but think maybe it could have been even more aggressive. The last model certainly had muscle and more macho with its even more angular guards. But maybe the world has moved on a bit, and I'm just not ready for it.
Seriously, if it wasn't for our test example's 'Vegas Yellow' paint finish (a $6250 'Audi Exclusive' option) most punters would walk straight past the RS 6.
Yes, Audi Design boss, Marc Lichte has injected greater emotion, and driven differentiation between more recent models (witness the Q2), but the mid-size A6 range sits on of Audi's older platforms, and still broadly conforms to the brand's pre-existing design language. The new-generation A6 is expected in Australia later in 2018.
On the outside that means the signature 'single frame grille', sharply raked and angular (Matrix LED) headlights, strong, unbroken character lines running down the flanks, broad rocker panels, and simple LED tail-lights emitting a familiar, T-shaped pattern, all delivered with minimal decoration.
But for sharp-eyed car-spotters the RS 6 offers up clear hints to its performance potential. Beyond the RS badges front and rear, the most obvious attribute is the car's girth. Fully 62mm wider than the A6 sedan, this wagon features pumped up guards and wider track measurements front (+32mm) and rear (+37mm). The rear three-quarter view especially highlights the car's intimidating stance.
To further dial up this understated air of menace, the RS 6 Avant Performance features a 'Titanium look' finish on the grille, front spoiler and air intakes, mirror caps, window surrounds and rear diffuser.
Our test car went a step further, with an optional 'Black Styling Package' ($2200) turning the air intake duct (with 'quattro' logo), radiator grille and its surround, mirrors, roof rails, front spoiler, and side windows an even darker shade. Plus, the (no-cost) optional 21-inch, twin spoke rims fitted to our test car were finished in gloss 'Anthracite Black'.
The drive towards Teutonic reserve and subtle symmetry continues inside, with a simple, gently sweeping dash incorporating a subtle rise over the instrument binnacle, housing conventional gauges (rather than Audi's more recent 'Virtual Cockpit' digital display) with a configurable info screen between the main dials.
The emergence of an 8.0-inch retractable 'MMI' multimedia screen adds a touch of theatre on start-up, and racy carbon-fibre trim pieces bring extra drama to the dash, broad centre console and door tops.
Our test car featured the 'Audi exclusive controls package' ($1700) which translates to genuine (black) suede leather on the flat-bottom sports steering wheel, with the same material applied to the gear knob. It looks and feels special, although it would be interesting to revisit the car in a year or two to assess the impact of a succession of sweaty palms. Maybe an option box best ticked by glove wearing track day warriors.
The 'RS' sports seats live up to their name, with elegantly sculpted bolsters on the cushion and backrest, ours being trimmed in 'Audi exclusive Valcona leather with honeycomb quilting' ($9000). And by the way, optional yellow seat belts, as fitted to our car, will set you back no less than $3400. Yee-ouch!
Searingly expensive options aside, the overwhelming impression is of attention to design detail and close to flawless execution in terms of fit and finish.
Don't get me wrong, it's still a very, very pleasant place to be. Typically Teutonic, typecast technical Audi, but with some sporty flourishes. The hard-backed sport bucket seats up front offer a great amount of adjustment (though the driver's seat base is a little too high), and depending on what interior trim you opt for, you may see aluminium or carbon finishes throughout.
The quilted leather is lovely, and the materials are all superb - so is the fit and finish. One of the cars I drove had an optional pack with Alcantara trim, with that material covering the shifter and steering wheel - the latter of which I love, because it's smooth yet grippy. I'm not so sold on manual steering adjustment for a car at this price point, however.
With the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital screen spreading 12.3-inches in front of the driver, there's no shortage of info to choose from. It's been around a few years now, but I still love the look of Google Maps in front of me.
There's also Audi's MMI touch system, a rotary dial with a touchpad on top that is pretty simple to use, and it links up to a high-resolution 8.3-inch screen on the dash top. All the connectivity stuff you'd expect is included - Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio, DAB+ digital radio, and an inbuilt hard-drive for your own music storage. You won't be left wanting for entertainment.
There are reasonably good sized cup holders up front, a covered centre console, some loose-item storage areas and adequate bottle holders in all four doors. The back seat has mesh map pockets (set on hard plastic seatbacks - good for limited damage to fabric if you have children who like to kick the seat) and a flip-down armrest with cupholders.
Space in the rear is easily good enough for a six-foot (183cm) tall adult like myself to slot behind someone of the same size, with ample kneeroom, good toe room and enough headroom to ensure no hairs were out of place. The width is surprisingly decent, too.
There are dual ISOFIX child-seat anchor points, and three top-tether attachments as well. And parents (and children alike) will appreciate the rear air vents, and three-zone climate control system that allows a seperate temperature in the back.
The boot is a good size, with 505 litres of capacity up to the multifunctional luggage cover (which includes an integrated mesh cargo barrier and operates electronically in conjunction with the boot lid). It also has a reversible floor section - carpet one side, plastic on the other - perfect for tying down wet clothes (using the included mesh elasticated web net) or even performing potentially messy nappy changes. The boot expands to 1510L with the seats down.
At just under five metres long, close to two metres wide, and a touch under 1.5 metres high, the RS 6 Avant Performance is a sizeable machine, and despite the fire and brimstone lurking under the bonnet, it's also a comfortable and hugely practical wagon.
No surprise there's plenty of room up front, and the electrically-adjustable front seats (plus memory) are easy to slip in and out of despite the pronounced sculpting.
Storage has been well thought through, with lots of useful space on offer, including a pair of cupholders, generous door pockets, an oddments tray in front of the gear shift (hidden under a sleek carbon cover), a lidded box between the seats (with a two-level lid), and a useful glovebox.
Connectivity runs all the way from two USB ports, to an 'aux-in' socket, a pair of SD slots, a SIM card input, and a 12-volt outlet.
Big rear doors open to reveal easy access to a broad back seat with sculpting for the two outer positions, and what's realistically an occasional position in between. Sitting behind the driver's seat set for my (183cm) position I had heaps of head and legroom.
A large fold-down armrest houses pop-out dual cupholders and lined box (with a first aid kit inside), while the standard four-zone climate control means there's dual adjustment of temp and flow for back seaters, and a 12-volt outlet and cigarette lighter (naughty) are provided. USB ports are MIA.
The cargo compartment is a masterclass in efficiency and safety. With the rear seat upright there's 565 litres of storage space on offer, enough to swallow our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres) or the carsguide pram with ease.
With the 60/40 split-folding backrest down that figure increases to no less than 1680 litres (to roof height). A ski-port door opens to further enhance flexibility, but it's the post and rail retaining system that stands this wagon apart.
Metal channels running down each side of the load space accept sliding bollards at the end of solid, expanding barriers, or retaining straps, or both. There are also anchor points for the standard cargo net or additional straps.
Throw in expanding straps on the passenger side wall, well located handles to release the rear seatbacks, a pair of shopping bag hooks, a netted area behind the driver's side wheel tub, usefully bright lighting, an auto-extending load cover, plus an electric tailgate, and just about every base is covered.
Towing capacity is 2100kg for a braked trailer, and 750kg unbraked, plus the roof rails are rated to carry 100kg. But there isn't a spare tyre of any description on-board, a repair kit is your only puncture option.
Price and features
The new twin-turbo V6 model is priced at $152,900 plus on-road costs, which represents a slight hike over its V8-powered predecessor, but Audi claims to have added $22,000 of extra equipment.
Standard inclusions offered in the RS4 consist of 20-inch alloy wheels, red RS brake calipers, an adjustable sports exhaust system, Audi's sport differential, adaptive sports suspension, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, adaptive rear LED indicators and tinted rear windows with acoustic front glass.
Standard interior kit includes Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit' 12.3-inch driver info screen with configurable RS display mode, an 8.3-inch tablet media screen with sat nav, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring, DAB+ digital radio, and a stonking 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system.
The front sports seats with Nappa leather trim and honeycomb quilting (which apparently mirrors the design of the grille mesh) also feature bolster adjustment, massage function, memory settings for the driver's seat and electric adjustment and heating for both sides. There is an ambient-lighting system with 30 different colour options, too.
A panoramic sunroof is fitted as standard, but for hot areas of the country it can be deleted if the buyer so chooses. Smart key entry and push-button start is standard, and there's an auto tailgate with gesture control.
Even though that list is long, there are still option boxes you can choose to tick. Things like the carbon and black styling pack ($11,900), the 'Technik Pack' (with head-up display, Matrix LED headlights, wireless phone charging - $3900) and other style-focused extras like the 20-inch milled aluminium wheels ($1600). There are several colour options to choose, including the Misano Red pearl finish ($1846), or the brilliant 'Nogaro Blue Pearl' ($5450)... but not all the colours cost money, with a selection available at no cost.
See below for the extensive safety kit list - because it's hugely lengthy!
As for where the competitors sit, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S wagon lists a little higher, at $159,711 plus on-roads. There's no BMW M3 wagon, but the sedan version is $141,610 plus costs... and it's the only one with manual or auto to choose from. There's no Lexus, Infiniti or Volvo equivalent model. But I guess you could consider the S4 a good alternative at $50,000 less, and it's available as a sedan or a wagon...
If you want to join the Audi RS 6 Avant Performance club you're staring down the barrel of a $246,411 (before on-road costs) membership fee. And despite the quarter of a mill' price tag it's tricky to line up direct competitors.
So, that's top-shelf territory and aside from its imposing driveline and leading-edge safety tech, detailed a little later, the standard features list is impressive.
Included on the specification sheet: 'RS Adaptive air suspension', 'RS Sport exhaust system', 21-inch '5-twin spoke design' alloy wheels (in 'Matt Titanium-look') shod with Pirelli P Zero rubber, 'Parking system plus' (with park assist and 360-degree camera), adaptive cruise control (with 'Stop & Go' function), a head-up display, a huge panoramic glass sunroof, metallic or pearl effect paint, an electric tailgate, plus 'Matrix beam' LED headlights (with dynamic indicators front and rear).
Leather trim not only covers the seats, but the multi-function, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, gearshift, and door armrests. The front seats are electrically-adjustable and heated, there's copious amounts of carbon-fibre trim around the cabin, entry and start is keyless, and ambient interior lighting sets a sophisticated tone.
You can also expect four-zone climate control, the 'Audi drive select' vehicle management system, BOSE surround sound (14 speakers, 12-channel amp, 600 watts total output), and 'MMI navigation plus' managed via the retractable 8.0-inch monitor (including live traffic updates and a CD/DVD player). Amazingly, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though.
Which means this Q-car packs more than enough standard fruit to sit confidently in the upper-luxury stratosphere, and just to top that, our test example was fitted with an RS 3 Sportback Quattro's worth of options. Okay, the RS 3 is $80,611, and the options added up to $79,490, but who's going to quibble over a measly grand or so?
In order of financial magnitude, the options list ran as follows: 'Dynamic package plus' (ceramic brakes, 'Dynamic steering', 'RS sport suspension plus' with 'Dynamic Ride Control', electronic regulation of top speed at 305 km/h) - $25,840, Audi Sport titanium exhaust system - $17,000, Bang & Olufsen Advance Sound System (15 speakers, plus 15-channel, 1200 watt amp) - $12,000, 'Audi exclusive leather trim' - $9000, 'Audi exclusive exterior paint finish' - $6250, 'Audi exclusive seat belts' - $3400, 'Black styling package' - $2200, 'Audi exclusive controls package' (in black suede) - $1700, privacy glass - $1100, and 21-inch '5-twin spoke design' alloy wheels (in 'Anthracite Black') - no-cost. Phew!
Engine & trans
This isn't the first time the Audi RS 4 has had a twin-turbo V6 engine under its bonnet. Back in 2000, the very first RS 4 launched with a 2.7-litre biturbo engine.
This all-new model has a 2.9-litre twin-turbo unit, which shares much with the Audi S4 and S5 models (they run a 3.0-litre turbo - the engine in the RS 4 is a smaller capacity and has a shorter stroke, but adds a turbo over the lesser S models).
It's no V8, however. The most recent model before this one had a 4.2-litre naturally aspirated unit with 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque.
This new version carries over the same power output - 331kW - but it hits between 5700-6700rpm, not at 8250rpm like the old V8. And torque has seen a substantial kick up the behind, now rated at 600Nm.
Not only has torque increased by about 45 per cent, it's also across a broader rev range - now it spans 1900-5000rpm, where it was not only lower but shorter-lived and less usable in the V8 (4000-6000rpm).
And the all important 0-100km/h time? It's now at 4.1 seconds, where it used to be 4.7sec. The top speed remains identical - 250km/h.
What about the sound, though? Read the driving section below... or better yet, watch the video!
It might feel like a compact nuclear reactor resides under the bonnet, but the RS 6 Avant's prodigious power is actually produced by a 4.0-litre, all-alloy, twin-turbo V8 featuring direct injection and variable cam timing on the intake side.
The turbos are located in the engine's hot vee to minimise lag by creating the shortest possible path for exiting gases from exhaust, to turbo, to inlet, and outputs are immense – 445kW (597hp) from 6100-6800rpm, and 700Nm (750Nm on overboost) from just 1750rpm all the way up to 6000rpm (ready for peak power to take over).
Drive passes through an eight-speed 'Tiptronic' auto transmission (with wheel-mounted shift paddles) to a tailored version of Audi's 'quattro' all-wheel drive system, with a 'quattro sports' self-locking centre differential continuously adjusting drive distribution across the rear axle.
Fuel consumption for the 2018 Audi RS 4 is rated at 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres, which is fairly good for a vehicle with this much propulsion potential. CO2 emissions are rated at 202g/km.
Both of those are big improvements over the V8 that preceded it - the claimed consumption was 10.7L/100km and emissions were 249g/km.
But it's worth noting that Mercedes-AMG has the C63 wagon with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that has more power (375kW) and torque (700Nm) yet uses less fuel (8.7L/100km).
Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 9.7L/100km, emitting 226g/km of CO2 in the process. That number is helped by the engine's Cylinder on Demand (CoD) tech that shuts down four of the eight cylinders under light loads.
Over close to 350km of city, suburban and freeway running we averaged 15.4L/100km at the bowser, which isn't as bad as it sounds given the car's performance potential and our regular exploitation of it.
Required fuel is 98 RON premium unleaded, and you'll need 75 litres of it to fill the tank.
It only took three corners for me to feel 100 per cent comfortable with the controls of the Audi RS 4. Some cars may take a few minutes before you become accustomed to how the throttle, brakes and steering want to be used, but it was mere seconds in this case.
That's because of the outright predictability of the RS 4 - it's hard to set a foot wrong, with excellent throttle response, strong but progressive braking, and better steering than I've experience in any Audi outside of the R8. It's not perfect - there's still a little bit of deadness or stickiness on centre - but I like the way it helps you pivot the car and apply lock at pace, thanks to nice weighting and resistance. The steering is light when you want it, and hefty when you need it.
The adaptive dampers and 20-inch wheels can't totally divorce the road surface from the bodies of the occupants in the cabin, and over patchy surfaces the ride can be a little pitchy, even in the Comfort setting.
But those dampers help stiffen the chassis up in Sport mode, negating body roll brilliantly. That, combined with the traction of the excellent quattro all-wheel drive system with a self-locking centre differential, and the grip of the Continental tyres makes for a really enjoyable way to cut through a series of corners.
Of course there are electronic helpers underneath, including a torque-vectoring-by-braking system and torque-splitting rear differential that pushes load to where it's needed most - but unless you had a screen in front of you telling when they were being used you wouldn't know. It all just feels really natural in the way it handles itself.
Now, that engine.
No, it isn't a V8, but what it is is a powerhouse weapon. It's still rev-happy, and the transmission allows it to be that way: in Dynamic mode with the shifter in S (not D) there is a brilliant willingness to the way it hangs on to gears - through a series of sweeping corners, getting on and off the throttle and brake pedal respectively, it had incredible intuition - third gear was the most usable, and gave the most, too.
The engine's sound isn't as visceral as the V8 of its predecessor, but it isn't what I'd call dull. There's a nice bit of chortle on the overrun, and it sounds pretty menacing when you punch the go pedal.
In normal driving, too, it's well suited to regular duties. It just so happens that its great at going fast, which is what you want from an RS model.
Ever ridden a rollercoaster with your kids and caught a glimpse of them as you take the first big drop? Well, that terrified expression is identical to the one etched on the faces of our youngest two when they first experienced the RS 6 Avant under full thrust.
Acceleration from step-off is brutal, and the optional Audi Sport titanium exhaust system ($17,000) fitted to our car delivers a ferocious acoustic accompaniment.
With maximum torque available from just 1750rpm this Bavarian wolf in (bright yellow) sheep's clothing is properly fast, and you know it would have no trouble blasting up to its 305km/h (electronically-limited!) maximum velocity. Pity that's around 200km/h more than is required for this market.
Shifts from the eight-speed Tiptronic auto are sharp, especially in manual mode using the wheel-mounted paddles, and even tipping the scales at just under two tonnes the RS 6 feels taut and responsive.
The Audi 'drive select' system adjusts transmission, engine, steering, suspension and throttle calibrations to offer 'Comfort', 'Dynamic', 'Auto', 'Efficiency' and a configurable 'Individual' setting.
Suspension is double-wishbone front, trapezoidal-link axle with wishbone rear, and an air set-up normally in support. But the optional Dynamic Ride Control system replaces the latter with a hydraulic, diagonal link between the front and rear dampers.
Resulting ride quality (particularly in the Comfort setting) is exceptional, despite the standard 21-inch rims shod with hi-performance 285/30 tyres.
The sports front seats present a perfect blend of comfort and grippy stability, and the electrically-assisted variable-rate 'Dynamic steering' delivers a light touch at parking speeds with agreeably tactile road feel and accurate response as the pace increases. The optional suede-covered steering wheel feels amazing.
This RS 6 remains composed and responsive in the corners with the quattro system seamlessly directing drive to the wheels that can use it most. The big body remains beautifully buttoned down, and when it comes to arresting this heavy hauler's progress the standard 483mm ventilated discs front and rear feature a 'wave' design to better distribute and dissipate heat.
But if you're going to lift the top speed into the 300km/h zone and head off for a maximum attack track session our car's optional, 500mm carbon ceramic rotors, with massive six-piston calipers up front make a lot of sense (even if the price doesn't).
At around town speeds the Audi pulls in its horns and assumes a perfectly civilised personality, with the exhaust pulling back to a neighbour and occupant-friendly tone and volume. A split-personality of the most welcome kind.
There is no model-specific Audi RS 4 Avant crash-test rating, but the Audi A4 (four-cylinder) range managed the maximum five-star EuroNCAP / ANCAP test score in 2015.
Rest assured, though, the RS 4 has a lot of standard equipment.
The standard safety equipment list includes Audi's pre-sense front system with auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (which works up to 85km/h), plus a 360-degree camera with reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors. Plus the traffic-jam assist system, which debuted in 2015 on the Q7 and uses two radars to read the road ahead - even scanning in front of the car directly in front of you.
There's active lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, turn assist (which will stop you from driving through an intersection if the car doesn't think you'll make it), auto high-beam lights, rear cross-traffic alert (with audible, visual and physical notification - it can jolt the brakes if you aren't paying attention), multi-collision braking (which will stop the car if you have an accident to prevent further mishap).
There's also Audi's clever "exit warning system" that will flash the ambient lights if an occupant is about to open their door into the path of oncoming cars or cyclists.
The RS 4 has eight airbags (dual front, front side, rear side and full-length curtains).
With great power comes great responsibility, and the RS 6 Avant's suite of active safety tech is suitably impressive.
The expected boxes are ticked, including ABS, EBD, ESC, ASR, an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and hydraulic Brake Assist.
On top of that there's a tyre pressure monitoring system, active lane assist & side assist, adaptive cruise control (with Stop & Go function) and 'Parking system plus' (with park assist and 360-degree camera).
Then 'Audi pre sense plus' incorporates sensors in the front, side and rear to trigger visual, physical and aural collision warnings. It moves through four phases of crash preparation; an upsurge of brake pressure, seat belt pre-tensioning, partial braking and sunroof and window preparation.
In severe cases, the system will activate Auto Emergency Braking, but if a crash in unavoidable there are airbags for the driver and front passenger, side airbags (seat-mounted) for front and rear passengers, and curtain airbags covering both rows.
There are three top tethers for child seats across the back row, with ISOFIX anchors in the two outer positions, and the entire A6 range scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was assessed in 2011.
Audi covers all of its models with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which, by market standards is starting to look a little low, but in the premium part of the market, not many brands do much better.
As for servicing costs, it's a bit of a guessing game. The entire RS model range, as well as the R8 supercar, isn't covered by the same Audi Genuine Care pre-purchase setup you can get on a regular (non RS) model. That plan covers three years/45,000km of maintenance, and in the case of the A4/S4, the cost is $1620. Expect more than that for the RS 4.
Audi offers a three year/unlimited km warranty, with 24-hour roadside assistance included for the duration. There's also three-year warranty cover for the paint and 12 years for rust perforation.
Recommended service interval is 12 months/15,000km, but the 'Audi Genuine Care Service Plan' (capped price on scheduled servicing for three years/45,000km) available on most Audis is not applicable for RS models.