Three-up and crammed with Kenny P's camera gear, the RS4 slipped out of France and cruised across Belgium before blasting along the autobahnen, recording 24mpg in the process. I mention this mundane fact only because a couple of people have written to say how thirsty my 'practically perfect' Audi is, one mentioning single-figure economy when all the performance is used. Well, even on the Nordschleife the trip computer showed an average of 14mpg, and I can't ever imagine driving in the UK with the throttle pretty much nailed for almost 14 miles at a time...
As it was a bank holiday weekend, the car park at the 'Ring was packed, so I was surprised by how much attention the RS4 attracted amongst the interesting machinery supplementing the usual ranks of 911s and 3-series BMWs. A throaty-sounding, low-slung 350Z with black wheels looked cool, as did not one but two bright orange, caged 635CSis in evocative Jägermeister livery.
Even the access roads were choked with parked cars, but a lot of people must have come just to look around because there was surprisingly little traffic out on track. Then again, this may also have been because the circuit was wet initially. Not that this stopped me venturing out in the RS4, which felt absolutely superb, inspiring great confidence with its exceptional wheel control and unflappable poise. Total traction meant I could use all 414bhp without a worry, while the steering was precise and keen, the brakes strong. Everyone who bagged a ride was amazed by its pace and composure, its uncanny ability to smooth out the bumps and carry speed where other cars would be getting nervous. It's very flattering, yet also engaging and entertaining.
What's more remarkable is that for most of the time there were three people on board and the boot was still loaded with gear! After our final lap we simply drove straight for the autobahn and home, the brakes and tyres untroubled by the experience. I can't wait for another excuse to go back soon.