This is a car we’re very excited about, the new Audi RS4 Avant. Spotted testing on the roads around the Nurburgring, it slots the RS5’s enticing V8 engine and four-wheel package into the much more practical A4 Avant body.
So the new Audi RS4 Avant is an Audi RS5 estate?
Pretty much. This mule is far from the finished spec (the bodywork is standard S4 Avant bar the tweaked front bumper to provide extra cooling for the engine) but it does sport 20-inch ‘Rotor’ alloys from the RS5, plus RS-branded callipers and bigger brakes – the S4 doesn’t have drilled discs.
Audi has shown a Q5 concept car with the S4's supercharged 3.0-litre V6 tweaked to 402bhp, but power is instead expect to come from the same direct injection 4.2-litre V8 that powers the RS5. That means 444bhp and 317lb ft, sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox.
It’s not that simple though, as there should also be the new self-locking crown-gear centre diff that debuted on the RS5, plus Audi’s Sport differential that splits power between the rear wheels. Other tech available will include Dynamic Ride Control (with all four shock absorbers linked for less body roll) and Dynamic Steering, both with tweakable settings.
What else do we know about the new Audi RS4 Avant?
Beyond that there’ll be RS-specific seats and trimmings inside, the trademark twin oval exhausts and aluminium-look door mirrors, full suspension and chassis updates, and beefier bodywork. And we hear that just as the new BMW M5 is expected to only be available as a saloon, the RS4 will only come in estate guise – there's no place for the four-door between the RS5 coupe and this Avant.
With the first mule only appearing now, it'll be a while yet before the RS4 appears in production guise; reckon on a debut at the 2012 Geneva motor show, with UK sales starting towards the end of next year.
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