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First drive: Audi RS4 – on sale now



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The Audi RS4, while unmistakably a member of the A4 family, is far from a mainstream business car thanks to its gloriously high-revving 4.2-litre V8 and quattro four-wheel-drive system.

Sure, it’ll cart four adults and their bags in comfort on business trips, but RS4 reserves the ability to frighten them silly on the return journey.

It is performance that sells this car. The V8 smoothly produces 420bhp and 317lb-ft of torque from 2,250rpm to 7,600rpm, and its six-speed transmission makes every gearchange a dream.

The handling will impress customers, too. Sitting 30mm lower than a standard A4, with a wider front and rear track, and a new evolution of the quattro system with a 40:60 front-rear torque split, RS4 feels extremely secure and takes any bend in its stride.

RS4 does not sacrifice refinement for performance. Its front bucket seats are covered in leather and have inflatable bolster cushions, and the interior trim makes extensive use of aluminium.

Audi’s most powerful ever medium saloon is a potent plaything for the company director who doesn’t want to have to hop from his prestige saloon into a sports car in order to enjoy a drive.

Price: £50,930
Engine: 4.2-litre V8 petrol, 420bhp
Performance: 0-62mph 4.8sec; top speed 155mph (limited)
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 4wd
Efficiency: 20.9mpg, 324g/km CO2
Rivals: BMW M3, Mercedes C55 AMG
Strengths: Driving experience, versatility, exclusivity
Weaknesses: Fuel economy
Opportunity Builds on Audi’s growing reputation for performance cars
Threat: Emissions
USP: A car for all occasions

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