The RS 4 badge hasn’t appeared on a sedan since the 2008 retirement of the ‘B7’ A4, a range that was bookended by RS wagons in earlier ‘B6’ and current ‘B8’ forms.
The B7 range included sedan, wagon and cabriolet options, but, with the subsequent debut of RS 5 models, the RS 4 has been reduced to a wagon-only affair.
And, while there is historic precedent and bean-counting logic in focusing on a wagon formula, reports this week suggest that huge demand in the sedan-hungry Chinese and US markets is moving Audi to reconsider the option of a four-door RS 4.
According to the UK’s Autocar, the appearance of a sedan option will come as part of an anticipated 2016 launch for the new RS 4, just months after the unveiling of the regular new A4 range.
No surprise that plans for an RS 4 sedan and the decision to launch the hero models far earlier than usual are driven by significant sales potential with buyers that would otherwise consider the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG’s latest C 63 and the anticipated SVR version of Jaguar’s first-ever XE.
“Our customers want the RS version earlier in the product lifecycle while the car is still new,” Audi chassis development chief Horst Glaser told Autocar.
Above: the all-new 2016 Audi A4.
Reports suggest the new RS 4 will be driven by a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6, offering more power and better fuel efficiency figures than the 4.2-litre V8 that powers the current model.
That will mean outputs better than 331kW, again outclassing the BMW M3’s 317kW turbo six, while potentially even surpassing the 350kW/375kW figures available with AMG’s new turbo V8-powered C 63.
Watch for more on the new RS 4 to surface in the months ahead, and catch our ongoing coverage here.