Audi RS4 Avant Review
Speed Wagon

Story by Raymond Lai in Spielberg, Austria Photos by Audi
28 Jun 2012

Audi expands its RS line-up with the new generation RS 4 Avant. Raymond Lai samples the new speedwagon in Spielberg, Austria.

Introduction, styling

I will never forget reading on the cover of an issue of Autocar magazine back in 1994 - it shouted, “The RS 2, 0-30mph in 1.5 seconds, faster than a Mclaren F1”. An estate car that can out accelerate the great Mac off the line - how cool is that? Ever since then, I’ve always been intrigued whenever Audi offers a new RS-badged estate car.

The RS 2 Avant was the first Audi to receive the RS (RennSport) badge and is a collaboration between Audi and Porsche and was made at the latter’s Zuffenhausen plant between 1994 and 1995. The Porsche influences in the RS 2’s exterior are clearly evident thanks to the Porsche style Cup alloy wheels, the Porsche brakes as well as the Porsche look front and rear fascia. Porsche also optimized the RS 2’s suspension. Best of all though, the RS 2 offered an impressive 315bhp from its in-line five motor, at a time when the E36 generation BMW M3 coupe offered ‘only’ slightly less than 300bhp.

The RS 2 Avant is not only considered to be the first RS badged Audi but also the first fast compact estate car out there. Audi replicated the RS 2’s formula to the larger RS 6 Avant models as well as the successor to the RS 2, the RS 4. Just like the RS 2, the first gen RS 4, launched in 2000, was available only as an Avant estate model. The B5 RS 4 Avant continued where the RS 2 left off, offering a 30-valve 2.7-litre biturbo V6 with nearly 400bhp and quattro four-wheel drive for stonking all-weather performance. Like the RS 2 before it, the B5 RS 4 Avant was only offered for a year or so till 2001.

It wasn’t until 2006 before Audi offered the next generation RS 4. Dubbed the B7, the second gen model was offered not only as an estate but also a saloon and convertible for the very first time. The Avant though, remained the most desirable of the B7 RS 4 body styles. Power came from the form of a high revving 420bhp 4.2-litre V8 that is shared with the R8. During its production run between 2006 and 2008, many considered the B7 RS 4 to be the best effort from Audi RS.

Now though, there’s a new third generation RS 4. Based on the B8 A4, the new model is only available in an Avant  body style. Audi has said that there won’t be a saloon, as those who wanted a saloon would have gone for the mechanically similar RS 5 coupe instead.

On the outside, the RS 4 Avant features dead giveaways to mark it out from more ordinary A4 Avant variants. Up front, it features trademark RS honeycomb inserts for the radiator grille, oversized air intakes on the bumper and a front lip spoiler for a ground-hugging look. At the sides, the RS 4 features squared-off blistered wheel arches that are inspired by the original quattro coupe and the recent RS 5 and RS 6 models, more pronounced side sills and the trademark aluminum look side mirror covers.

At the rear, there is a deeper rear bumper with an under floor diffuser in satin black with the trademark RS oval exhaust tail pipes on either sides as well as a fairly sized tailgate spoiler. Compared to a regular A4 model, the RS 4 Avant sits 20mm lower to the ground, complimenting the standard 19-inch alloy wheels and RS style body add ons for a purposeful and sporty stance. For an even angrier look, one can opt for the dechrome kit where the standard exterior chrome and aluminium coloured bits like the radiator grille and its surrounds are finished in a shade of satin black. Obviously, the RS 4’s exterior can be had in unique RS exterior paint finishes like Misano Red, Sepang Blue and Suzuka Grey. Bespoke colours are also available from quattro GmbH – we saw a car finished in the same shade of medium blue as the RS 2’s at the launch in Austria.

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