It’s quicker than ever, but we might not get it in the U.S.

While sports cars provide a lot of fun, they come with a major downside: practicality is crap. But here’s where high-performance sedans come in. While four-doors weren’t very dynamic a few decades ago, they can be as agile as an entry-level sports car nowadays. And in addition to the power and speed, they can also provide seating for four or five people and decent trunk space. But hey, it gets even better with wagons, which can provide a lot more storage room, sometimes enough to go on a long vacation with the wife and the kiddos. Why am I talking about high-performance grocery getters, you ask? Well, the super awesome Audi RS4 Avant was just unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Let’s make one thing clear: I’m not a big fan of Audi cars. I know that most of them are powerful and a nice place to spend time in, but I think they look boring and that they’re too expensive. But at the same time I have a weakness for the Avant range, especially if it comes with an "RS" badge. So yeah, I’m really excited to see the new RS4 Avant hit auto show floors, despite losing its V-8 engine. Yes, you read that right, the V-8 was replaced by a smaller displacement V-6. But that doesn’t mean the new RS4 Avant is less powerful and aggressive.

Continue reading for the full story.

Not Your Grandma’s Grocery Getter

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Thanks to the new, sharper design language of the latest-generation A4, the RS4 Avant is a much more menacing car

Thanks to the new, sharper design language of the latest-generation A4, the RS4 Avant is a much more menacing car. The massive Singleframe grille up front sports the usual honeycomb mesh, but the larger outlets inside the bumper and the angular headlamps give it the kind of aggressive stance you don’t want to see in your rear-vew mirror. The RS4 is also 1.2 inches wider and sits nearly a half-inch lower than the standard wagon, so there’s no way you can’t tell this is a beefed-up hauler.

The New Audi RS4 Avant Is One Mean Grocery Getter High Resolution Exterior
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The New Audi RS4 Avant Is One Mean Grocery Getter High Resolution Exterior
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The wagon is equipped with Matrix LED headlamps and bespoke 19-inch wheels, but 20-inch rollers are available if you want a sportier stance. The Nogaro Blue pearl from Audi Exclusive recalls the first generation Avant from 1999 so there is a bit of heritage to be had with the new wagon. On the other, Audi claims that the new design features many details from the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO race car from the late 1980s and early 1990s. If you can find them, please let me know in the comments box because I can’t see any...

The New Audi RS4 Avant Is One Mean Grocery Getter High Resolution Interior
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The New Audi RS4 Avant Is One Mean Grocery Getter High Resolution Interior
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The interior is pretty much the same sober package that comes with any RS car

Anyway, the interior is pretty much the same sober package that comes with any RS car. Almost everything is black, but you do get goodies like RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and an RS-specific display. An optional styling package adds carbon-fiber and aluminum trim for that race-inspired look.

No Extra Power, but Better Performance

The New Audi RS4 Avant Is One Mean Grocery Getter High Resolution Drivetrain
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There's big news under the hood, where the previous 4.2-liter V-8 was replaced by a 2.9-liter V-6

There’s big news under the hood, where the previous 4.2-liter V-8 was replaced by a 2.9-liter V-6. This move is far from surprising given that Audi hooked on downsizing and the 2.9-liter is already available in other RS models. And to be honest, it’s not a big blow to tradition, as the first-generation RS4 Avant was actually powered by a 2.7-liter V-6. I guess we could say that Audi is returning to its roots.

The new engine is rated at 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, which means that you only get an extra 126 pound-feet, as the horsepower output is similar. But hey, 126 pound-feet is nothing to sneeze at and you should also consider the fact that the new wagon is significantly lighter. All told, the new RS4 Avant needs 4.1 seconds to hit 62 mph, which makes it around a half-second quicker than its predecessor. Quite the improvement, huh? Top speed is rated at the usual 155 mph, but the RS Dynamic package will increase it to 174 mph. Naturally, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard, so you get good grip no matter the season.

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I guess the only bad news at this point is that there’s no sign that the new RS4 Avant will come to the U.S.. While Audi release pricing for Germany and the rest of Europe, there’s no word of North American availability. Darn...

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 2.9 TFSI V-6
Horsepower 450 HP
Torque 442.5 LB-FT @ 1,900-5,000 RPM
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 4.1 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph (174 mph with optional RS dynamic package)
Weight 3,946 Lbs

References

Audi RS4 Avant

2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full speculative review on the Audi RS4 Avant.

Press release

Audi Sport GmbH celebrates the world debut of the new Audi RS 4 Avant (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.8; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 200-199*) at the IAA 2017. It combines high performance with tremendous everyday usability. Its 2.9 TFSI engine with 331 kW (450 hp) and 600 Nm of torque makes it the sporty vanguard of the A4 family. The standard quattro drive distributes the power of the V6 biturbo to all four wheels.

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“The Audi RS 4 Avant is our RS icon with an incomparable history,” commented Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In common with all our RS models, it blends immense power output with superlative everyday utility. In China, the Audi RS 4 will provide fresh impetus for growth as the only high-performance Avant in its segment.”

Roof edge spoiler creates distinctive rear end
When creating the fourth generation of the Audi RS 4 Avant, the designers took inspiration from many motorsport details of the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO. Massive air inlets with typical RS honeycomb structure and the wide, flat Singleframe grille define the front end. The optional Matrix LED headlights display tinted bezels. Compared to the Audi A4 Avant, the wheel arches are 30 millimeters (1.2 in) wider and are given added emphasis by the quattro blisters. At the rear end, the RS-specific diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and the RS roof edge spoiler make for a distinctive look. The exterior color Nogaro blue, pearl effect available optionally from Audi exclusive recalls the first generation of the high-performance Avant from 1999. The new Audi RS 4 Avant travels on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels as standard; 20-inch wheels are available as an option.

From 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds, RS sport suspension and Audi drive select as standard
The V6 biturbo develops 331 kW (450 hp) in the new Audi RS 4 Avant. Its peak torque of 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) – 170 Nm (125.4 lb-ft) more than the previous model – is available across a broad engine speed range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. It is key to how the Audi RS 4 is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph). With the optional RS dynamic package, the top speed increases to 280 km/h (174.0 mph).

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The power of the 2.9 TFSI biturbo is supplied to the permanent all-wheel drive via a sportily configured eight-speed tiptronic with optimized gear changing. Audi also offers an optional rear sport differential. Average fuel consumption is 8.8 liters per 100 kilometers (26.7 US mpg) (199 grams of CO2 per kilometer [320.3 g/mi]). That is an efficiency gain of 17 percent over the previous model. The new Audi RS 4 Avant weighs 1,790 kilograms (3,946.3 lb) 80 kilograms (176.4 lb) less than previously.

The standard-fit RS sport suspension sets the Audi RS 4 Avant another seven millimeters (0.3 in) lower than the A4 basic model with sport suspension. By way of equipment options, there are RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes and RS-specific dynamic steering. Drivers can define their own individual personal driving experience using the standard dynamic handling system Audi drive select.

Interior with sophisticated materials and digital racing-style cockpit
The black interior underscores the sporty character of the Audi RS 4 Avant. The RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern, the flat-bottomed RS leather multifunction sport steering wheel, the shift gate and the illuminated door sill trims are all adorned with the RS emblem. In the Audi virtual cockpit and head-up display, RS-specific displays indicate the g-forces, tire pressures and torque. The styling packages gloss black, carbon with aluminum attachments and carbon with black attachments provide further scope for customization. The Audi exclusive program covers just about any other special request.

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The Audi RS 4 Avant can be ordered from the fall onward, before arriving at dealers in Germany and other European countries from the start of 2018. The basic price will be EUR 79,800.

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