• 2020 Audi RS4 Avant

The thrills of a hot sedan in a wagon avatar

LISTEN 15:28

At a time when wagons are slowly evolving from being family haulers to performance beasts, people in the U.S. are missing out on a lot of action. The Audi RS4 and the RS6 Avant give us the major #FOMO feels. Audi has told wagon-lovers in the U.S. not to give up hopes yet, as the company said, "We always look at potential new opportunities in the market. It’s a niche to explore. We keep holding discussions. Keep writing us letters.” That’s not a confirmation in any way, but it sounds like an assurance for the time being. Now, the company has finally unveiled the 2020 Audi RS4 Avant with aesthetic changes and a few changes inside the cabin. Is it better than the previous iteration?

Exterior

  • New ‘Singleframe’ grille looks swell
  • LED Matrix headlights available as an option
  • Wing mirrors placed on the doors
  • 19-inch forged aluminum wheels
  • Optional 20-inch five-arm wheels in matt bronze look stunning
  • Revised LED taillights with a lot more detailing
left right
The 2020 Audi RS4 Avant looks a lot more like its big brother this time around.

Upfront, the new honeycomb mesh grille is bigger than the preceding RS4 Avant’s grille, and it accommodates the four rings as well as the license plate. This way, the grille doesn’t look hideous despite being quite huge. This ‘Singleframe’ grille falls in line with the latest crop of cars from the German’s stable. Right above the grille is a slim slat that complements the design below the grille, too. Its rival needs to learn how to make big grilles look beautiful. Cough… BMW… Cough. The bumper features fog lamps on either side, which also seem to have a lot of intricate details around them.

For starters, the lamps are housed in a circular enclosure that is surrounded by the same honeycomb design as the grille. This gives the whole face a very sporty look. These fog lamp surrounds are again surrounded by a slight protrusion that’s part of the bumper itself and not an additional piece. The bottom of the bumper receives a flat, slim rubber piece that runs from one end to the other. It offers better aerodynamics on the wagon. As for the headlights, Audi couldn’t have gotten it any better, both aesthetically and functionally. The mean-looking LED headlights complement the overall appearance and justifies the ‘RS’ badge completely. Audi even offers the LED Matrix headlights as optional. Overall, the RS4 Avant still looks as menacing and aggressive as the current model, and we are happy that Audi did not try to mess up that pretty face.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior
- image 864641

When it comes to the side profile of a wagon, this generally makes or breaks the deal for folks who are into ‘looks’.

Audi, however, has excelled at making the profile of the RS4 Avant look absolutely fantastic.

There is a crease that runs from the tip of the headlight to the edge of the taillight. Other than this, there are no other cuts or creases on the body. A black stripe is present below the doors on the side skirts that breaks the otherwise monotonous-looking profile. The window sills, B-, and C-pillars receive the black treatment. Perhaps, even the A-pillar should’ve received it to give it a slightly sportier look; not that the 2020 RS4 Avant lacks any.

However, I didn’t like the placement of the wing mirrors. They are placed on the doors that poke out like a sore thumb on an otherwise plain-Jane profile. Lack of badges on the fenders make it worse. Since they’re finished in black, they literally stand-out. Not to mention, they are not as sturdy as they would be in the conventional placement at the edge of the window frame on the A-pillar. Coming to the wheels, Audi has nailed it in this department. The 2020 RS4 Avant rides on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in low profile 265/35 tires. The company also offers various 20-inch designs, including a new fully milled five-arm wheel, painted completely in matt bronze. That’s the one you see in the images, and it is wrapped in 275/30 tires. The 2020 RS4 Avant’s braking duties are taken care of by 12.8-inch discs in the front and 13-inch discs in the rear.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior
- image 864643
Move to the back, and you’ll see that the 2020 RS4 Avant now has revised LED taillights.

A slim chrome strip runs within the taillights. The detailing is a lot sharper this time around and looks much better in action. The RS4 Avant sits squat and looks sportier than a conventional wagon. Audi offers gloss black, matt aluminum, and carbon styling packages on the 2020 RS4 Avant that includes certain differentiating elements on the door sills, fenders, inlays, the Audi logo, ES logo, etc. The roof receives rails that are designed in matt black as standard. The only part with chrome elements is the set of oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system. The 2020 RS4 Avant also benefits from RS-specific roof edge spoiler and the diffuser insert, as well as the chrome tailpipes of the RS exhaust system, of which give the vehicle a distinct finish. A rectangular setup, in my opinion, would’ve looked smarter and in-line with the charisma of the sexy wagon.

Interior

  • Ambient Lighting Package comes with 30 lights
  • Red Contrast stitching on black Alcantara seats
  • Illuminated door sills with RS 4logo
  • New, bigger 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system
  • Audi has gotten rid of the Rotary button
  • Paddle Shifters behind the steering wheel
  • Head-up display on offer
2020 Audi RS4 Avant Interior
- image 864649

When we talk about Audi’s cabin, we can expect the fit and finesse second to none. In the 2020 RS4 Avant, Audi offers an ambient lighting package that comes with 30 colors that can light up the doors and center console.

The wagon comes with the RS variant seats, that’s coined as 'super sports' in other cars but doesn’t get mentioned here.

The black seats come with red contrast stitching. Imagine this matching up with the red ambient lighting! Throw the car around the corners, and the extra bolstering will keep you in place every time. However, you tend to sit ’in’ them, which may not be to everyone’s liking. We’re hoping Audi has addressed the issue this time and given it a slightly more upright position. It goes unsaid that there is no dearth of space whatsoever in here; be it the headroom, legroom, or the shoulder room, everything is aplenty.

The driver and front passenger are welcomed by the illuminated door sill trims that bear the RS4 logo. You can find the RS logo featured on the center console, the armrests, seat belts, and floor mats as well. It’s funny that Audi wants to remind you continuously that this is an RS and not the outside world because the company provides an option where the RS logos can be de-badged all around. The RS4 Avant wears a dark-theme on the inside, which is synonymous with ’sporty’ these days. The flat-bottomed steering is perfectly-sized and looks like a delight to hold. It also comes with paddle shifters that are bigger than the previous model. The door pads, selector lever, steering wheel, and knee pads are covered in Alcantara. The steering can be trimmed in leather as an option.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Interior
- image 864646
The biggest change here comes in the form of the bigger 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system.

The system is slightly tilted towards the driver, a practical trend that can be credited to Volvo. Remember there used to be a rotary button on the center console previously? Yeah, well that’s gone this time around. The automaker does not mention it, but there’s no doubt that it will come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The current 8.3-inch infotainment system includes DAB radio, DVD playback, ten gigs of onboard storage and online traffic information as standard. The system is user-friendly, unlike BMW’s iDrive, which needs a Ph.D. degree to be operated.

Below the screen are AC vents, followed by the AC controls, and drive control switches to round off the waterfall console. The stout gear lever comes with an electronic parking brake behind it. The 12.3-inch instrument cluster on the current RS4 Avant throws out performance-based information such as the tire pressure, G-forces, and torque. There is no reason for Audi to drop this in the new RS4 Avant, and fortunately, it didn’t. In the instrument cluster, or as Audi calls it “the Virtual Cockpit”, Audi offers a lot of details and options. Special RS displays provide information on tire pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, lap timings, acceleration measurements, and G-forces. The company also offers a head-up display also on the RS4 Avant.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Interior
- image 864648

The current RS4 Avant can haul 17.8 cubic-feet of luggage when all seats in place and 53.3 cubic-feet with the rear seats folded. This is larger than the Mercedes-AMG C63’s 17.3 cubic-feet. The specs for the 2020 model are not out yet.

Drivetrain

  • 2.9-liter, V-6 engine
  • 450 Horsepower
  • 443 pound-feet of torque
  • Eight-speed torque converter gearbox
  • 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds
  • Top speed electronically limited to 155 mph
  • RS Sport Suspension Plus with Dynamic Ride Control
2020 Audi RS4 Avant Drivetrain
- image 864653

Wagons these days have gotten fast. Not just overtaking the-quick-sedan-in-front-of-you fast, but push-you-back-in-the-seat fast.

The current RS4 Avant features an explosive engine under the hood, and we don't see Audi blessing it with any more power, unless it decides to spring a surprise.

The 2018 RS4 Avant replaced the old 4.2-liter, V-8 banger with a 2.9-liter, V-6 engine. Although the company faced a lot of heat for this, it actually came prepared with 126 pound-feet of extra torque that was enough to silence the critics. This time, too, Audi will carry over the 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged, TFSI V-6 engine that churns 450 horses and 443 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Drivetrain
- image 864684

Surprisingly, Audi has ditched the DSG transmission in favor of an eight-speed conventional automatic. Being a daily-driver utility wagon at its core, it makes more sense to feature a torque converter over the lightning-quick shifts provided by a DSG, as it improves the fuel economy and low-speed crawling. Audi claims that the RS4 Avant can deliver up to 26 mpg.

The Audi RS4 Avant hits the 62 mph mark from a standstill in 4.1 seconds, before its made to lose its breath at 155 mph, thanks to the cartel the three Germans have signed.

You can opt for the Dynamic package that adds another 19 mph to the electronically governed top speed. The engine is mated to the company’s patented Quattro all-wheel-drive system. To soothe your adrenaline, you can also opt for a rear sport differential, RS dynamic steering, and ceramic brakes for extra moolah.

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior
- image 864670
Speaking of its ride and handling, the RS4 Avant drives like a charm.

The sexy wagon comes with five-link suspensions at the front as well as the back. The RS Sport suspension plus can also be had with Dynamic Ride Control for extra moolah, and this makes the wagon even more agile. There is a reason why the beast is prefixed with the RS tag, and that is clearly evident the moment you crank the engine. The RS4 Avant is not averse to being thrown around the corners, or rip the straight roads. The wagon sticks to the roads like a leech and provides enough grip and confidence for you to keep your foot floored on the A-pedal. The RS4 Avant does not shy away from showing its wagon traits, but kudos to Audi for masking it quite well.

2020 Audi RS 4 Avant specfications
Engine type V6 engine
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 2894 / 84.5 x 86.0 / 10.0
Max. power output in kW (hp) / at rpm 331 (450) / 5700 - 6700
Max. torque in Nm (lb-ft) / at rpm 600 (442.5) / 1900 - 5000
Top speed in km/h (mph) 250 (155,3)
Acceleration, 0-100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) in sec 4,1
Combined fuel consumption in l/100km 9.2
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km 211-210
Unladen weight according to EU (excluding driver) / (including driver) / gross weight limit in kg (lb) 1745 (3847.1) / 1820 (4012.4) / 2350 (5180.9)

Prices

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior
- image 864652

The 2020 Audi RS4 Avant sees a significant hike in the price. The 2020 Audi RS4 Avant comes with a sticker price of €81,400, that’s approximately $89,000.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 High Resolution Exterior
- image 569760

The Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate’s biggest advantage over the Audi RS4 Avant is the bigger engine. It features a 4.0-liter, Biturbo, V-8 engine that produces 469 horses and 479 pound-feet of torque. You can opt for the C63 S Estate as well, which features the same powertrain, but with better power output figures. The C63 S Estate churns out 503 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque. The former takes 4.2 seconds to hit the 62 mph mark, while the latter takes a tenth-second shorter. Both have their top speeds limited to 155 mph.

The interior is not as exciting as the RS4 Avant’s, but the C63 Estate’s cabin will age gracefully. The dash and the center control is scattered with buttons all around and looks like a cockpit waiting to welcome you in it. It feels simple, yet elegant. In terms of looks, we’d pick the RS4 Avant over the C63 Estate, but if you ask the old-school mentality of ours which still believes that there is no replacement for displacement, we’d pick the AMG’s V-8 over the Audi’s V-6.

For some reason, BMW does not have an offering that can take on the RS4 Avant, or the C63 Estate. An M3 Touring would surely attract customers, wouldn’t it? However, there is an M3 Touring in the Netherlands! Confused? Well, a Dutchman rebuilt his 320d and turned it into an M3 Touring of sorts. The owner plonked a BMW S55 engine into the new wagon. It is a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine that produces anywhere between 424-493 horses and 406-444 pound-feet of torque. He ordered Eventuri intakes and a Stage 2 turbo upgrade and remapped the engine tune. The wagon now creams 530 horses at a tap of the A-pedal. He even added an M Performance Exhaust that makes the wagon growl aggressively. Need inspiration, BMW? Contact this man, or even better, hire him!

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate

Conclusion

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior
- image 864668

The Audi RS4 Avant is a wagon that can make you go weak in your knees. Audi has pulled off a creative brilliance here and executed it even better. The most noteworthy change other than the aesthetics is the bigger 10.1-inch touchscreen. Audi brings about changes in this department with almost every new model and we haven’t complained thus far. The company made a brave move and ditched the rotary button, so we’ll have to see how the owners respond to this. The company’s 27 years of experience in building performance wagons has a lot of doing with it. For a few folks, the 2.9-liter engine might be a letdown, but the extra torque and torque-converter gearbox make up for it very well. This grocery-hauler from Ingolstadt looks great, sits pretty, and drives even better. Although the performance-based wagon segment is still a niche, the two major players present here are performing well and would be more than happy to keep the other automakers out of contention as long as possible and enjoy the pie amongst themselves.

Other than the Tango Red color, the RS4 Avant can be had in Nogaro Blue as well. If it wasn’t clear until now, Audi has no plans of getting this to the States. But, it is planning to bring the big brother, RS6 Avant here. All-in-all, the Audi RS4 Avant will be a practical buy and one of the very few times where the heart and the head will go hand-in-hand during the decision-making process. Now, all we can do is drop the top Audi seat-warmers (pun intended) letters and e-mails and show them that the U.S. market deserves this beauty.

  • Leave it
    • The all-black theme will not please all
    • No replacement for displacement. V-6 still not accepted as the V-8’s successor
    • Will it ever come to the U.S.?

Further reading

2020 Audi A4
- image 839633

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi A4.

2020 Audi A4 Avant
- image 839656

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi A4 Avant.

2020 Audi S4 Avant
- image 839683

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi S4 Avant.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 730950

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS4 Avant.

2018 Audi RS4 Sedan
- image 734719

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Audi RS4 Sedan.

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Exterior
- image 635402

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A4 Wagon.

Update History

Update 06/04/2019: The Audi RS4 was caught testing on public roads and is nearly production ready. Check out our latest shots in the spy shots section below!

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Managing Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - siddhant.d@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a managing editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
About the author

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