Audi's quite a greedy company when you think about it. Not only has it cornered the market on four-wheel-drive fun, but it's also got the whole "subtle brutality" thing down as well. The new RS 4 is a perfect combination of both.
Audi's got form when it comes to fast estates -- 1994's RS 2 was the firm's first, and it was pretty cool. Developed with Porsche, it could hit 30 mph faster than a McLaren F1.
That's quite something, isn't it?
From then on Audi's portfolio of RS cars has been pretty impressive. The first generation RS 4 came around the turn of the century, while its follow-up appeared (in saloon, convertible AND estate forms) in the middle of the decade. Both RS 4s were celebrated for being incredibly practical, and entertaining to drive -- as such they hold their value irritatingly well.
This latest RS 4 is, like its grandfathers, chuffing brilliant. Some have criticised it for being a touch too aggressive, but they forget that most people won't notice its angry looks. They'll pass it off as "another German car" or simply not notice at all. Well, that is until it moves because the noise it puts out is simply incredible.
Its 4.2-litre V-8 sounds, frankly, filthy. Unencumbered by turbochargers and other torque-boosting, MPG-stroking toys, it's a work of sheer mechanical brilliance. Its 444 bhp pours out of it and hurls you from zero to 62 mph in just 4.7 seconds. That kind of acceleration from a car that looks comparatively sedate is a little disconcerting. With the optional top speed restriction increase, you can set the RS 4's top speed to 174 mph. That's a thing that simply shouldn't be. But I'm glad it is. Especially when you throw in some rather entertaining handling.
The RS 4 and cars of its ilk are wonderful examples of car companies doing things because...why not? Audi has a 444 bhp V-8 -- why not stuff it under the hood of a small family estate? What's the worst that could happen? People don't want to combine the banality of every day driving with a massive engine!? Do you honestly think that will ever happen? I don't. Neither, thankfully, does Audi.
Long live the RS cars and their ridiculousness. Long live silly power in subtle(ish) packages. Long live Germans having fun.