WORLD PREMIERE: Audi RS4 Avant — The Return of an Icon

Yes, the wait is finally over. The 2018, B9-generation Audi RS4 Avant is finally here. We knew Audi would debuting it at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, which is currently underway, but it’s still exciting to see it. Unfortunately, it won’t be coming to the US market because we’re big dummies that don’t buy enough fast wagons. Still, though, it’s a fantastic car that we should celebrate.

“The Audi RS4 Avant is our RS icon with an incomparable history,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Former Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In common with all our RS models, it blends immense power output with superlative everyday utility. In China, the Audi RS4 will provide fresh impetus for growth as the only high-performance Avant in its segment.”

From the outside, the Audi RS4 Avant is far more aggressive looking than the standard A4 or even S4. The massive air intakes in the front look aggressive and angry. They seem large enough that they could to suck up errant squirrels that enter its path. Though, they do look good and the black and carbon fiber accents on both the intakes and the Singleframe Grille look sporty. This is the best mug of any Audi A4 product.

Down the side of the car, its wheel arches are flared 30mm over the standard A4, giving it a low, squat stance that Audi claims is reminiscent of the original Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO. While we won’t go that far, the flared arches do look very good and make the RS4 seem extra aggressive. What’s really interesting are the little vents at the back of the rear wheel arches. It would see as if air channels through the vents on the sides of the headlights and travels all the way back to exit the back of the rear wheel arches. For all we know, they could be fake, like the exhausts on an SQ5…

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In profile, the Audi RS4 looks perfectly lowered. Personally, this is the furthest I’d ever want to lower a car and it looks great. The massive 20″ wheels perfectly fill the wheel gap and look superb (19″ wheels are standard). You can also see the carbon fiber touches to the side skirts, which visually lower the car and make it seem more aggressive while also looking sporty and premium. I also like how, from the side, you can see the blacked exhaust pipes sticking out of the carbon fiber rear diffuser and how they perfectly compliment the rear wing sticking off the tailgate.

Out back, the aforementioned carbon fiber diffuser is flanked by two massive oval exhausts, as is typical of Audi Sport cars. It looks good, though.

Overall, the outside of the Audi RS4 Avant looks better than the RS5 Coupe. While that car seemed a bit too gimmicky on the outside, with black and carbon fiber accents seemingly splattered all over it, this looks more cohesive, better put together. The Audi RS4 is the best looking Audi Sport car outside of the R8.

On the inside, the typical Audi Sport mantra continues, with quilted leather seats, carbon fiber trim and “RS” badges adorning what is basically an Audi A4 cabin. While it isn’t much different than the standard A4’s interior, it’s still a very nice place to sit and will certainly have Audi’s typically unbeatable build quality. We like the look of it, even if we wish Audi took it a bit further. Having said that, we understand the hesitance, as the Audi RS4 is designed to be an everyday sports wagon, hence the wagon body style. So this cabin is probably perfectly suited to the car.

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Under the hood lies the same 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that you’ll find in the Audi RS5 Coupe and even the Porsche Panamera. So it makes 450 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which is made between 1,900 rpm and 5,000 rpm. So when all of it is sent through its eight-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels, the RS4 Avant can get from 0-60 mph in a claimed 4.1 seconds. We see that being a realistic number, considering the RS5 does it in about 3.8/3.9 seconds and the RS4 Avant weighs a bit more.

As usual with Audi Sport models, there will be an option rear sports differential to help send more power to the rear wheels more effectively, making it a bit more fun to drive. We’re not sure why such a thing isn’t standard in an Audi Sport product but it’s nice to have as an option, at least.

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In terms of suspension and brakes, the standard Audi RS4 Avant setup lowers the car seven millimeters over the standard Audi A4’s sport suspension. There’s also an optional RS Sport Suspension Plus, with Dynamic Ride Control, Ceramic Brakes and RS-specific Dynamic steering. Want our buying advice? Get the optional suspension but skip everything else. If it comes as a package deal, skip it all entirely. The ceramic brakes won’t be necessary unless you’re tracking it and the dynamic steering feels weird and unnerving. The standard steering setup is better and the standard brakes will feel far more normal and work better under more conditions. There you go, I just saved you about $5,000.

The 2018 Audi RS4 Avant looks like it could be Audi’s best car when it finally hits the road. It will be a seriously fast sports wagon with all of the looks and go-power anyone could need, while also having room for two adults or three children in the back with plenty of cargo space to spare. How do you beat that combo?

Pricing for the RS4 Avant will start at EUR 79,800 and orders will begin this fall for Germany and the rest of Europe.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.