Audi’s third-generation RS4 arrives five years after the last version was on sale.
Sedan and cabriolet body styles were available previously, though this time the Audi RS4 is wagon only like the original. The twin RS5 coupe and cabriolet will instead cater for those buyers who would normally have opted for the four-door or open-roof variants.
The Audi RS4 Avant arrives just under a year after its debut at the 2012 Geneva motor show.
Its price tag is shaved by nearly $20,000 compared with its predecessor, costing $149,400 before on-road charges are added.
Practicality and performance are once again the highly appealing blend.
The RS4 Avant features an electric tailgate, fits five people, and boasts boot space that expands to 1430 litres with the rear seats folded.
Under the bonnet is the same 4.2-litre V8 used by the RS5. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that has been recalibrated for extra smoothness.
The new V8 has some relation to the previous RS4’s same-size V8 but makes a number of advances – not least in outputs.
Power rises from 309kW to 331kW but torque remains pegged at 430Nm.
Fuel economy improves by about 20 per cent, bringing the RS4’s official consumption down to 10.7L/100km.
The Audi RS4 Avant is two-tenths of a second quicker than before, accelerating from rest to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds with the aid of a launch control system.
The wagon is also capable of a top speed of 280km/h if buyers request an upgrade from the 250km/h default electronically governed speed cap.
An all-wheel-drive system is again standard, set up with a 60 per cent bias towards the rear wheels in general driving but faster-acting than before. A crown gear centre differential then shuffles torque between the front and rear axles depending on available traction.
Torque is also varied between the rear wheels for enhanced cornering stability via a standard rear sport differential.
Audi’s Drive Select system allows the drive to vary vehicle settings that include steering response, transmission speed and timing, throttle response and suspension firmness.
A Dynamic Sports Package is among options and introduces bigger, 20-inch wheels, a sports exhaust arrangement, and Dynamic Ride Control that can engage diagonally opposed dampers to flatten the RS4’s cornering stance and help reduce its tendency to squat under acceleration or dive under braking.
Read CarAdvice's Review of the Audi RS4 Avant here.