Some time ago, when on assignment for this publication covering the launch of the then-new Audi A3 sedan, I wandered away from the pack and happened upon a flock of unicorns. They were spectacular, each a wondrous sight to behold: a pugnacious little A1 hatchback, an even-more-pugnacious A1 Quattro (just 333 made and bearing the signature of Stig Blomqvist) and a Nogaro Blue RS4 Avant.
It’s the last that really frosts my keister – why in the seven hells don’t we get fast Audi wagons over here any more? It’s not like there isn’t any demand; any time either the standard sedan or a crossover is mentioned, there’ll be an Audi fan or two raising their hand in the comments section: “I’d buy one!” But no, instead it’s either the SQ5 – not a bad ride, but not quite the same thing – or the Allroad. Which is definitely not the same thing. At all.
Audi pretty much invented the hot wagon segment with the original RS2, a machine I’m lucky enough to have driven in a previous Final Drive. Relatively rare, it’s the sort of thing that’s always popping up in internet lists like Jalopnik’s “10 Cars We’d Go To Prison For,” or what-have-you. Gents, you don’t need to go to prison, you just need to visit Canada; our grey market rules mean you can stop dreaming and start importing.
However, one-off importations aside, fans of the four-ring circus did actually have the option of buying a fast Audi wagon right off the shelf up until 2007. After that, the A6 could be optioned in an Avant with the supercharged V6 for at least a partially interesting drive, but what we’ve got here today is something a little more rare and exciting. It’s a 2006 S4 Avant: all-wheel drive, hatchback practicality, V8 power, manual transmission.
Oh yes. That last part – you had my curiosity little Audi, but now you have my attention.
This one is a well-kept example that’s just come through the doors at The Urban Garage, a small boutique-style dealership in the heart of West Vancouver. Pinched between Burrard inlet and the North Shore mountains, West Vancouver is a well-to-do community and their driveways often display this wealth. Toss a rock in any direction and you’ll hit a Tesla Model S, but not before said rock has bounced off at least two Range Rovers.