Audi engineers are so proud of their new RS4 Avant that the Red Bull race track in Spielberg, Austria, was chosen for the world launch of their latest model, due in South Africa in the fourth quarter of December 2012.

It is when you get behind the wheel of this powerful hi-tech car that the reason becomes clear. Powered by a naturally aspired 4.2-litre V8, its take-off is incredibly fast - 0-100km in 4.7 seconds. Audi has built in a launch control system that manages the clutch engagement to cut out wheel spin for those who want an explosive start.


Top speed from this 331kW power unit is governed to 250kmh as beneath the red-painted cylinder covers, the engine pumps out 430Nm from 4000-6000rpm. Drivers get raw power by using the steering mounted paddles behind the steering wheel or can opt for the relatively more sedate driving through the dual-clutch transmission that shifts automatically.

A big surprise is the claim that the RS4 can return 10.7 litres per 100km; Audi staffers say the new arrival is so cleverly engineered and packaged that “it is a sports car for everyday use”.

“It is a powerful car but has the lowest fuel consumption and emission figures in its field of competitors,” they boast.

So, two for the price of one!

It would need to be as this particular package costs almost €103 000 (R1.04 million), whereas Audi SA say it will retail in South Africa at “well under a million”.

Few will get the opportunity to fully exploit the full potential of that awesome power unless they hire time on a race track. The seven-speed transmission is lightning fast and quattro permanent all-wheel-drive will keep you out of trouble in high speed driving. It is engineered to distribute power between the front and rear axles in a blink. High speed cornering is on tap which in most other vehicles would be considered reckless.

Harking back to Audi's “sports car for everyday use” promise, the RS4 has a select driving dynamics system which allows the driver to select comfort, auto or dynamic modes. And just to impress the neighbours, the driver can even select the sound from the exhaust system. For improved handling there is an electromechanical power steering, along with a host of safety features.

The exterior design is just as impressive. The wedge-shaped LED headlights, single frame grille, large air inlets, 19” alloys, sharp creases that divide the bonnet line, flared wheel arches - all make a strong statement. Inside the cabin is entirely in black with the exception of the roof. Sports seats and a full range of infotainment equipment is on board with a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth and satnav screen. - Sunday Independent