There’s something thoroughly enticing about a wagon able to out-accelerate a Porsche and top 250km/h.
Practicality and pace packed into a German thoroughbred which can also scurry around corners nicely, too.
Welcome to life in Audi’s RS4, which has just been updated during the busiest year ever for the RS sub-brand, with every model updated or a new arrival joining the family.
Technically, Audi’s RS4 is an Avant (marketing speak), rather than a plain old wagon.
But if you only want two doors or a sleeker four-door look there’s a pair of mechanically identical RS5 models for a mid-sized feast to rival BMW’s M3/M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C 63.
Audi’s hot-shot trio has been updated for the 2021 model year arrival, the final piece of the RS’ hectic 2020.
Key changes include a meaner look.
The frame around the grille has been deleted for a cleaner blend between bumper, bonnet and gaping mesh intakes.
With black highlights, it’s a menacing look.
Pressing the start button unleashes a throaty roar in keeping with the image.
The 2.9-litre V6 nestles a couple of turbos in its V in an effort to reduce lag when you press the accelerator.
It’s not long until the full 600Nm surge is pumping hard, the RS4 lunging towards the horizon with enthusiasm.
As revs pass 5000rpm the restrained burble takes on a muted snarl, the full 331kW a fitting crescendo.
Driving through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system means no wheel-spin and very little fuss.
Broad 275mm-wide 20-inch tyres provide the stickiness for equally competent cornering.
There’s lashings of grip and a forgiveness which will outdo the bravery of most drivers.
That it manages to quell all but the largest of bumps adeptly — at least if you avoid the stiffer Dynamic mode — reinforces the talent.
Potent brakes complete with point-and-shoot driving flair.
The front-end points assertively but is not overly sensitive.
More liveliness to the steering feedback would boost the character, something the RS4 lags against its hot-shot rivals.
The RS5 addresses that slightly with a tauter feel and weightier steering, albeit at the expense of practicality.
Prices have receded about 3 per cent, though at $147,900 the RS4 is still plenty expensive for a family wagon.
The RS5 gets the sportier look — complete with frameless side windows — for $150,900.
A 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and 10.1-inch touch screen atop the dash headline the long list of equipment, that incorporates sports seats clad in Nappa leather, three-zone ventilation, sunroof, smart key entry and a suite of crash-avoidance tech.
Rather than regular LEDs with a matrix system for blanking out other drivers — as used in the RS4 — the RS5 gets laser high beams to double their useable distance.
But it’s the sensible size and choice of models that make the refreshed RS4 and RS5s a stand-out at the top of the Audi line-up.
Check back later this week when we review the all-new RS Q8 SUV.
2021 AUDI RS4/RS5 SPECIFICATIONS
Prices $147,900; $150,900
Engine 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy 9.4-9.5L/100km