As ever, Audi has been wily enough to leave on the RS4’s options list a handful of items that are desirable enough to be considered compulsory orders on most cars. You get 19in alloy wheels, LED headlights, Audi’s electronically controlled active sport rear differential, heated seats in nappa leather, three-zone climate control, an MMI Navigation Plus 8.3in infotainment system and Virtual Cockpit digital instruments for no extra cost.
But you’ll probably want Dynamic Ride Control adaptive damping (£2000), dynamic active-ratio steering (£950) and Audi’s switchable sports exhaust (£1200) as well – and there’s a good chance you may want carbon-ceramic brakes (£6000) too. And although Audi has packaged some options together in a Carbon Edition, the bundle doesn’t actually include most of that lot and doesn’t seem like brilliant value.
Still, even if it costs you more up front than one or two of its opponents might, the RS4 should still be a canny purchase, with our market experts suggesting that it’ll retain 5% more of its showroom price after three years and 36,000 miles than a C63 S Estate.
The switch from V8 to V6 turbocharged power has delivered a sizeable gain in cruising economy for the RS4 Avant. We recorded 36.7mpg for the car on our touring test schedule, which the RS4’s predecessor would never have approached – although as your driving style becomes enthusiastic and the engine temperature rises, the motor’s economy becomes significantly less impressive.