The force is definitely with Sydney Police, as a German V8 super-wagon is drafted into duty.
To glance in your rear-view mirror and see an ominous set of flashing blue and red lights is always a heart-in-mouth moment; to see them attached to the aggressive, wide-stance, front end of an Audi RS4 Avant could see you momentarily perplexed, as if you’ve shifted through the time-space continuum into some strange German-occupied parallel universe.
But relax, there may be no need to worry – it’s just the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command (LAC) of the New South Wales Police Force, and there’s every chance all the boys and girls in blue are interested in is a friendly chat.
Because that’s what the police claim is the core purpose for taking delivery of the blindingly fast German super-wagon – A$149,400 conversation-starter.
“Our use of the Audi RS4 will encourage people of all ages to introduce themselves to local police, using the car itself to help start up a conversation,” Superintendent Wayne Starling, Commander of Lake Illawarra LAC, told CarsGuide. “An exciting high-performance car such as this provides an engaging and visible platform for our community and youth engagement activities.”
It's about talking to car enthusiasts on their level and having them understand the technology we have available
Obviously it’s a strategy that has worked with great success previously: in the past, other Local Area Commands of the NSW police have used various Porsches, Jaguar’s XF sedan, hot Holden and Fords along with the mighty desert-racer-inspired F150 Raptor for similar community-engagement programs.
"It's about talking to car enthusiasts on their level and having them understand the technology we have available," says John Hartley, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner and Commander of Traffic and Highway Patrol.
And there’s no doubt the RS4 Avant has the credentials to appeal to enthusiasts. At its heart is a high-revving 4.2-litre V8 engine that produces a massive 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque. It’s teamed with a fast-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to allow the police piloting the RS4 Avant to sprint from rest to the open-road speed limit of 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds.
As for the burning up the police fuel budget, well, the RS4 actually delivers excellent fuel efficiency given its prodigious power output: its official combined-cycle consumption is 10.7 litres per 100km, although we know those police-issue boots are heavy bits of footwear, and we suspect that its real-world thirst may be a fair bit higher.
The RS4 Avant is on loan from Audi Australia to the Lake Illawarra LAC for a period of 12 months. “It’s hugely important for us to show our support of the NSW Police Force, and especially their youth engagement programs, as a way of giving back to the community,” says Andrew Doyle, Managing Director of Audi Australia. “Audi has been extraordinarily successful in Australia over the last decade, and so we are delighted to contribute in this way.”
As for the striking livery, it’s the product of Audi’s well-targeted and highly successful social media strategy to engage with fans of the brand. Back in June, almost 800 Audi Australia Facebook followers participated in a competition to choose a fitting design for the high-performance law-enforcer.
“The design chosen by our Audi Australia Facebook fans amplifies the RS4’s dynamic shape to round off what is a remarkably imposing stance,” says Andrew Doyle.
Community police work has shown to be most effective through engagement and communication with the people they serve, and anything that can break down an “us and them” attitude of young people towards police has got to be a positive step. A car as desirable as the Audi RS4 Avant will certainly provide some common ground over which to get a dialogue started.