Nice as it is, the Audi SQ5 TDI you saw this morning was just the appetiser – here’s the main meal. This is the third-generation Audi RS4 Avant, and like the two before, it’s one of the most desirable wagons in production now. Ingolstadt doesn’t even call it a wagon – the RS4 Avant is billed as a sports car for everyday use.

Audi and the VW Group is a major proponent of turbocharging, and have been doing the downsizing thing before everyone else hooked on to the idea. But this special car gets a special engine, a naturally aspirated, high revving V8 unit. The 4.2 litre FSI engine makes 450 hp at 8,250 rpm and 430 Nm of twist between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm.

This is enough for the fastest Avant to go from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds. Top speed is as usual limited to 250 km/h but can be increased to 280 km/h upon request. Launch Control manages starts with optimal traction at the push of a button.

As with every RS model, the engine’s power flows to all four wheels via quattro permanent AWD – the latest version sporting a self-locking crown gear centre differential and torque vectoring. Audi also offers the optional sport differential, which actively distributes the power between the rear wheels.

Average fuel consumption is a mere 10.7 litres of petrol per 100 km, 26% less than the previous model. With its long top gear, the standard seven-speed S tronic gearbox contributes to the good fuel economy. Also responsible is a new electromechanical power steering that is claimed to be highly efficient with excellent road feedback.

The suspension of the Audi RS4 Avant is made largely of aluminum. The body is lowered by 20 mm compared to the standard Avant.

Audi drive select dynamic is standard. Dynamic steering, the sport differential and the sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) are available as options. The latter is a purely hydraulic system without any lag, whose damping can be switched between three characteristics – comfort, auto and dynamic via Audi drive select.

The electronic stabilisation control (ESC) has a Sport mode and can be deactivated entirely, if necessary.

The exterior is muscular yet subtle. You can spot an RS4 Avant by its hexagonal single-frame grille with a matte aluminum-look finish; its honeycomb insert in high-gloss anthracite and adorned with an RS4 badge. The aggressive bumper tapers into a splitter edge and the low centre air inlet is divided into three small openings.

From the side, there are chiseled side sill caps and flared wheel wells. The flared side elements have sharp horizontal upper edges, a small tribute to that legend from 1980, the Audi quattro. The side mirror housings and trim strips again have a matte aluminum finish, and an extended roof spoiler with a recessed middle part increases rear downforce.

The red car you see here is in Misano Red. Other colours include Suzuka Gray, Daytona Gray, Phantom Black and Sepang Blue – the latter named after our F1 circuit.

I have a dream…