Every German car company has their performance tuning arm and Audi is no different. The "S" badging has come to mean something special for Audi fans and the current line of S models compete with the likes of Mercedes AMG and BMW M models. Throughout the past 5 years or so, the automotive industry, especially this high end sector, has seen a never ending horsepower and performance war. And now that Mercedes has officially dropped the C63 Black Series, Audi had to do something to respond to that challenge. And they did: the company has announced the launch of the third generation RS4 Avant. The new RS4 combines potent performance with a high level of everyday practicality.
The original model was a muscle car in a tight suit producing 414hp from a 4.2-liter V8 that was stuffed in the small engine compartment. This, in addition to a tightened suspension, bigger brakes, and a six-speed manual, made the car very hard to compete with. But the new generation is even better. Audi is now utilizing a new 4.2 liter V8 engine - borrowed from the RS5 - that delivers a total of 450 HP. This engine sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds - an impressive number for a station wagon model.
UPDATE 02/15/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images.
UPDATE 06/14/2012: Audi has unveiled a new set of high res images for the new RS4 Avant, but also three new video presenting the car in action, plus details on the car’s exterior and interior. Enjoy!
The new generation RS4 Avant will be immediately recognized as an RS thanks to its hexagonal single-frame grille with a matte aluminum-look finish and its honeycomb insert finished in a high-gloss anthracite. At the front of the vehicle are LED daytime running lights encircling the xenon plus units like a clasp, large openings in the air flows, and a distinctive bumper featuring a splitter edge like on a race car.
The sporty appearance continues throughout the side of the RS4 Avant with chiseled side sill caps and flared wheels with sharp horizontal upper edges - a reminder of the 1980 Audi Quattro. The exterior mirror housings are also panted in a matte aluminum-look finish.
At the rear, there is a discrete roof spoiler, as well as a dual exhaust system with two oval tailpipe caps. Just like the front of the vehicle, the rear has elegant light strips adorning the LED rear lights.
The new RS4 will be offered with standard new, polished 19-inch, ten-spoke forged aluminum wheels, but a new set of 20-inch wheels with 265/30-series tires will be offered as an option. Customers will also have the options of choosing between eight colors: one solid and one metallic finish, four pearl-effect colors, and the two specially pigmented crystal-effect colors, Prism Silver and Panther Black.
The aggressiveness of the exterior has been combined with the elegance and luxury of the interior. The RS4 will be offered with a completely black interior combined with a Moon Silver roofliner and different chrome elements. Customers will get carbon inlays as standard, but brushed matte aluminum, Aluminum Race, black piano finish, or a light stainless steel mesh are available as options.
The front sports seats will be offered in a combination of standard black leather and Alcantara, but fine Nappa leather in either Black or Moon Silver accentuated with Stone Gray piping is available as an option, as are bucket seats or luxurious, climate-controlled deluxe seats with a ventilation function. The pedals, the footrest, the air vents, the shift paddles on the steering wheel, the MMI buttons, and other controls shine in an aluminum-look finish. while aluminum inserts adorn the door sill trims, which are accentuated with RS4 badges.
The driver will also enjoy a leather multifunction sport steering wheel with the shift paddles mounted on the back. They will also be able to get necessary information from an RS menu with a lap timer and an oil thermometer.
The options continue with a high-grade leather package that includes honeycomb quilting for the RS 4 bucket seats and a broad range of state-of-the-art driver assistance and communication systems, including the Bluetooth online car phone that connects the RS 4 Avant with the Internet.
The Audi RS4 Avant is powered by the same engine as in the RS5: a 4.2 liter V8 that delivers a total of 450 HP at 8,250 rpm and a peak torque of 317.15 lb-ft available from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm. This power is just enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 155 mph. Audi is willing to remove the top speed limiter for customers who request it, increasing the top speed to an impressive 174 mph. These impressive performance numbers will still give way to a fuel economy of 21.38 U.S. mpg.
The engine will be mated to a standard seven-speed S tronic combined with a quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Deliveries of the Audi RS 4 Avant are scheduled to begin in Fall 2012 at a base price of €76,600 in Germany ($100,100 at the current exchange rates). No sedan version will be offered.
The list of competitors for the new RS4 Avant include models like the b>Mercedes C63 AMG and the Cadillac CTS-V. The C63 AMG is powered by 6.2 liter V8 engine producing 457 HP - an extra 7 HP over the RS4. The CTS-V Wagon is powered by a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 engine that delivers a total of 556 hp and 551 lb.-ft. of torque. It is priced at only $62,990.
New, more powerful engine
Highly equipped interior
Kind of expensive