New Audi RS4 Avant switches to turbo power

High-performance load-carrier gets the 450hp 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission from the latest RS5 Coupe.

Ah, the uber wagon is back!

Yes it is, and in its fourth generation. The new Audi RS4 Avant is making its world debut in Frankfurt this week and is the latest RS to be unveiled by the newly created Audi Sport division.

Conforming with the engine-downsizing trend, the RS4 Avant ditches the 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 of its predecessor in favour of a smaller 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 producing the same 450hp but a higher 600Nm of torque, achieved between 1,900-5,000rpm for better real-world tractability.

The fourth-gen RS4 Avant also gets a new eight-speed torque-converter automatic in place of the previous seven-speed dual-clutch auto. As ever, drive is sent to all four wheels via the brand’s Quattro system. In fact, the entire drivetrain of the RS4 Avant is shared with the latest RS5 Coupe.

The RS4 Avant has a 7mm lower suspension than the regular load-carrier, while options include carbon-ceramic brakes, rear sport differential and adaptive dampers, as such.

How fast is it?

Audi says the RS4 Avant sprints from 0-100kph in 4.1sec, a good 0.6sec quicker than before. As an option, the governed top speed can be raised from 250kph to 280kph.

If you compare the RS4 Avant to the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate – the only other station wagon in this class to go on steroids – the performance game has only been levelled.

When specced with the 476hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the Merc is 0.1sec slower than the Audi. But opt for the go-faster 510hp S and the acceleration time is equal.

Will the new Audi agent sell it?

According to people at Meister Technik, the latest Audi distributor in Thailand, sales of all RS models would only start after the second-from-top S cars hit showrooms due to servicing factors.

However, it would certainly be nice if the plan for high-performance Audis had been fast-tracked in Thailand because both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already begun selling some M and AMG models on an official basis.

And the good thing about the RS4 Avant is heritage. Audi has a long history of making many estates available with the RS treatment. BMW, for one, has always tried to make an M model of 3- and 5-series Touring, yet to no avail.

If sold in Thailand, the RS4 Avant would cost around eight million baht.

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