Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The way your Audi RS4 Avant will drive depends entirely on the trim level you go for. However, as we'll explain, no version manages to be quite the all-rounder it ought to be.
With range-topping Vorsprung trim, you get Dynamic Ride Control, which is a clever active suspension system. It’s a similar system to that used on high-end McLaren sports cars, promising outstanding low-speed comfort with excellent body control in corners. And it certainly delivers on that first claim.
So the choice is to buy an entry-level RS4 that’s reasonably agile but too firm on the standard set-up, or spend money to add Dynamic Ride Control and end up with a comfortable car, but one that’s pricier and not as enjoyable to drive. By contrast, while the BMW Alpina B3 Touring also has a firm ride, it still rounds off most bumps in a more composed manner than the RS4 Avant, while the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo feels far better suited to battered British roads and is altogether more comfortable.
Further complicating matters is that the lower RS4 trim levels have better steering. Vorsprung comes with Dynamic Steering, which matches its weight and how many turns of the wheel it takes to get from lock to lock to your speed. It sounds good in theory, and helps you get around tighter turns more easily. However, in practice, the system removes any sense of connection with the front wheels, robbing you of confidence when cornering.
Keener drivers are better off with the standard system, which is more accurate with a more natural weight, even if it doesn’t key you into the road anywhere near as well as the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s or the B3 Touring’s.
Still, with the standard steering, it’s easy to place the front of the RS4 on entry to a corner, and with quattro (the Audi four-wheel-drive system) fitted as standard, traction out of the corners is mesmerising. There’s none of the adjustability you’ll find in the rear-wheel-drive Giulia Quadrifoglio or the M3, but it will get you, your family and your ski gear up a snowy mountain in St Moritz more easily.