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Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Enthusiasts will lick their lips when they read the Audi RS4 Avant performance figures. This car is blisteringly quick. The 448bhp (7% increase on the previous model in the power stakes) 4.2-litre V8 engine will get you from zero to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. This third generation of the Audi RS4 Avant has shaved 0.2 of a second off the 0-62mph benchmark sprint but if you want more you can get the limiter taken off and this will increase the top speed to a staggering 174mph.

In a straight line the Audi RS4 Avant is epic: it feels fast and it sounds glorious. The seven-speed DSG gearbox is smooth and the paddles located behind the steering wheel allow the driver to change gears with their hands on the wheel at all times. Enthusiasts will have a smile from ear to ear thanks to this very vocal V8. The exhaust note is enhanced when you up- and downshift - the pops and bangs when you change gear become somewhat addictive.

You could play with this car all day long and not get bored as you sear through the countryside. This makes the RS4 Avant one of the most entertaining cars in its class for driver interaction. Unlike its main rival, the C63 AMG Mercedes-Benz, the RS4 is all about getting the traction and the Audi is a master at this.

The Audi RS4 Avant handling characteristics can be altered by the driver at the flick of a switch though Audi’s drive select system. It is responsible for the operating characteristics of the sports differential, the weighting of the steering, the shift pattern of the S tronic transmission and the response of the throttle. The sound of the exhaust system is also altered when downshifting in dynamic mode to give a burbling sound that should attract the driving enthusiasts.

There are four driving modes: auto, comfort, individual and dynamic, and in all four handling on the Audi RS4 Avant is very good. The grip levels are phenomenal. It takes a lot to get this car out of shape or to fluster the all-wheel-drive technology and the only minor criticism is that it’s just short of a little bit of steering feel. It is good, but could do with a little bit more.

The car has been lowered by 20mm compared to a standard A4 Avant and this lowered stance makes cornering great fun while there is almost no body-roll.