It’s hard to fault the current Audi RS4 Avant for… anything, really. It’s so good at everything it does that it’s hard to find a need for improvement in any area. However, that doesn’t stop any car manufacturer from giving any car mid-cycle updates. So despite its overall excellence, the RS4 needed a facelift. But has it actually made it worse?
The mid-cycle facelift for the Audi RS4 Avant brings a slightly new face; with new headlights, a new grille and some new hood vents; and a new engine exhaust particulate filter for improved emissions. That last bit is the important bit, as that new emissions filter — which is now required by European regulations — actually makes the car ever-so-slightly worse.
How does it make it slightly worse? Well, it’s actually a bit slower now, getting from 0-60 mph in an as-tested (by Carwow) 3.6 seconds rather than 3.5 seconds. Obviously, that’s not enough to make a noticeable difference but it’s still slower after the facelift. Worse than that, though, the new filter ruins the noise. While the RS4’s 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6, making 450 horsepower and 443 lb-ft, was never the most sonorous of engines, it sounded far better prior to the facelift. In a sports car, engine and exhaust noises are important and this one now sounds worse.
It does get better inside, though. Audi’s new Touch Response MMI system and updated Virtual Cockpit make it more modern and easier to live with. Personally, I still like the old rotary wheel MMI controller better than touchscreens but the old graphics and functionality were starting to really become too dated and the new tech is welcome.
Having said that, it’s still a brilliant all-around performance car that can also double as a daily driver. It’s still brutally fast, handles remarkably well for what it is and is practical enough to carry five people, a dog and some luggage. So, as far as daily performance cars go, it’s still among the best cars on the planet. Just maybe get a used pre-facelift model for its better looking face and nicer exhaust.