FRANKFURT, Germany – The Audi RS4 Avant is set to return to certain global markets after an unveiling of the fourth-generation model by Audi Sport boss, Stephan Winkelmann, at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show.
The new model, which once again will be denied to North American buyers, builds on the developments brought to the RS5 Coupe earlier this year with the adoption of a turbocharged 2.9L gasoline V-6 partially co-developed with Porsche.
With 444 hp and 443 lb.-ft. (601 Nm) of torque, the new unit delivers the same amount of power but a significant 125 lb.-ft. (169 Nm) more torque than the third-generation RS4 Avant’s naturally aspirated 4.2L gasoline V-8.
It also is a considerable 95 hp and 74 lb.-ft. (100 Nm) more than that delivered by the supercharged 3.0L V-6 used by the latest S4 Avant.
With a curb weight of 3,946 lbs. (1,790 kg), this endows the RS4 Avant with a weight-to-power ratio of 8.9 lbs. (4 kg) per hp.
The new engine is combined with a standard 8-speed automatic gearbox with remote steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and a quattro all-wheel drive system to provide the ’18 RS4 Avant with a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.1 seconds, making it 0.6 seconds faster to the traditional performance benchmark than its predecessor.
Top speed is nominally limited to 155 mph (249 km/h), though buyers can order the new Audi Sport model with an optional RS dynamic package that raises it to 174 mph (280 km/h).
Along with the increase in performance, the new RS4 Avant also boasts a significant reduction in fuel consumption at a claimed 26.7 mpg (8.8 L/100 km) in the U.S. By comparison, the old model was rated at 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km) on the European test cycle.
“The RS4 is our icon,” says Winkelmann. “It blends power with utility.”
Setting the new RS4 Avant apart 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 new front bumper featuring large air vents both left and right and a smaller aperture underneath the new car’s reworked single-frame grille as well as widened front fenders featuring vertical vents along the outer edge of the LED headlamps and pronounced blisters over the front wheel arches.
Further back, the RS4 receives new exterior mirror housings, beefed up sills underneath the doors and widened rear fenders featuring even more pronounced blisters over the rear wheel arches than those seen up front and small vents mimicking the look of those up front alongside the outer edges of the LED taillamps.
The extrovert look continues at the rear, with a spoiler atop the hatch as well as a re-profiled bumper housing a substantial diffuser element and a pair of large oval tailpipes finished in black.
A standard RS sport suspension lowers the ride height 0.3 ins. (7.6 mm) beyond that of the standard 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 multi-function steering wheel, unique shift gate trim and illuminated door sills. Standard specification for the RS4 Avant also includes specific digital gauges, a head-up display and readouts for g-force, tire pressures and torque.
The new RS4 Avant is priced at €79,800 ($95,461) in Germany.