The Audi RS4 Avant is back after the fourth-generation model was unveiled by Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkelmann at the Frankfurt motor show. Set for UK delivery during the second quarter of 2018, the hot new estate builds on the developments brought to the RS5 Coupe earlier this year. That means it adopts a turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine developed in a joint venture between Audi and Porsche. With 444bhp and 443lb ft, the new unit delivers the same amount of power but a significant 125lb ft more torque than the third-generation RS4 Avant’s naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine.
It is also 95bhp and 74lb ft more than that delivered by the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 used by the latest S4 Avant. With a kerb weight of 1790kg, the RS4 Avant has a power-to-weight ratio of 249bhp per tonne. The new engine drives through a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox with remote steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and a quattro four-wheel drive system. The result gives the RS4 Avant a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.1sec – some 0.6sec quicker than its predecessor.
Top speed is nominally limited to 155mph but buyers can order the model with an optional RS dynamic package that raises it to 174mph. Along with the increase in performance, the new RS4 Avant also brings a significant reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at a claimed 32.1mpg and 199g/km. The old model was rated at 26.4mpg and249g/km. “The RS4 is our icon,” said Winkelmann. “It blends power with superlative utility.” Setting the new RS4 Avant apart visually from the S4 Avant is a series of unique design touches Audi Sport says were inspired by the detailing of the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO race car.
They include a deep front bumper featuring large air vents, a smaller aperture underneath the car’s reworked single-frame grille and widened front wings with vertical vents along the outer edge of the LED headlights. The RS4 receives new door mirror housings, beefed-up sills beneath the doors and widened rear wings featuring even more pronounced blisters over the rear wheel arches than those at the front. There are also small vents, mimicking the look of the ones up front, alongside the outer edges of the LED tail-lights.
The extrovert look continues at the rear, with a spoiler atop the tailgate as well as a reprofiled bumper, which houses a substantial diffuser element and a pair of large oval tailpipes finished in black. Standard-fit RS sport suspension lowers the ride height 7mm below that of a regular A4 Avant with sport suspension. Options include a dynamic ride control system with adaptive damping, RS-specific steering and carbon-ceramic brake discs.
Inside, there are RS sport seats, a flat-bottomed RS multi-function steering wheel and illuminated RS door sill trims. Standard specification for the RS4 Avant also includes RS-specific digital instruments, a head-up display and readouts for g-force, tyre pressure and torque output. Audi has yet to announce UK pricing for the new RS4 Avant. The previous model cost £54,295 at the end of its production run in 2015.