► New Audi RS4 Avant spotted
► Expected to get a twin-turbo V6
► Based on new MLB evo platform
Audi is making moves to keep itself on top of the pile in the express estate stakes with this, its new RS4 Avant.
It's obvious from afar that it's not a standard Avant, due to its big wheels, steamroller-like tyres and substantial brakes. Other visual clues include the flared arches, permitting a wider track and more clearance for those high-performance tyres and wheels.
Has it still got a V8?
It's unlikely the naturally aspirated 444bhp 4.2-litre V8 will see the light of day in this generation of RS4, given the ongoing changeover to smaller, force-fed motors.
That won't necessarily be a bad move, however; the 317lb ft of the previous RS4 was far behind that of more muscular rivals and not quite enough for a nigh-on 1800kg high-performance estate. The fact that all of that pulling power was offered between a relatively heady 4000-6000rpm further compounded the Audi's occasionally lacklustre feeling at lower speeds.
Instead, our sources suggest that a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6, producing in the region of 500bhp, will take its place in the nose of the RS4 – and, as always, send its power to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro system.
This choice of powerplant seems likely, given the rumour that the upcoming entry-level R8 will also use a twin-turbo V6 – a car that, previously, would have also used the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8.
A power output in the region of 500bhp would also keep the new estate in contention with the likes of the new 503bhp Mercedes-AMG C63 S estate.
What else do I need to know?
The new RS4 will be based on the new B9 generation of Audi A4 and, outside of using the new 'MLB evo' platform, likely adopt the 'Virtual Cockpit' display system and a whole host of other modern tech.
Also evident in the pictures is the more aggressively styled front bumper, replete with larger air vents, while large oval tailpipes out back further distinguish this from a regular A4.
No official line on pricing yet, either, but it'll likely be in the region of the outgoing model's £56,545.
Read CAR magazine's Audi RS4 Avant long-term test