Audi RS4 Avant £21,000
Few cars have had bigger shoes to fill than the RS4 Avant: those of the RS2 Avant, the hot estate with Porsche genes that cemented Audi’s performance credentials.
The first RS4 hit the road in 1999, four years after production of the original RS road car ended. Like the regular A4, it was based on the Volkswagen Group’s B5 platform, but its design was considerably different.
The RS2’s wrap-around rear lights were ditched for a more traditional arrangement, while wider arches, bulkier bumpers and a rear spoiler came from the more restrained S4.
On paper, the RS4 certainly had what it took to improve on its predecessor. A twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 (developed and built in the UK by Cosworth and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox) made a staggering 375bhp, propelling the 1620kg estate from 0-62mph in 4.9sec – quicker than Aston Martin’s DB7 and not far behind the Chevrolet Corvette.
Top speed was pegged at 155mph, while Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system returned to plant the RS4 on the road and give it effortless traction, supported by a Torsen differential for even torque distribution between the front and rear axles.
Inside, the RS4 was plush and practical. It was equipped as standard with cruise control, heated front seats, climate control, electric windows and a leather sports steering wheel.
Some used examples will have the optional 5.0in infotainment display and sat-nav, too.
The boot offered 390 litres of space or 1250 litres with the rear seats down – far less than in today’s larger RS4 (505 litres) but still more than enough room for Fido and a few suitcases.