The price of epically rapid progress in the all-new, third generation Audi RS 4 Avant has been confirmed this week and first deliveries of this paradox of practicality and extremity will begin in the autumn.
The Audi RS 4 Avant features a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 engine that delivers 450 PS at 8,250 rpm and maximum torque of 430 Nm between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. It powers the super-Avant with standard seven-speed S tronic transmission from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 155 mph, which can be increased to 174 mph if required. No less impressively, it achieves all this while at the same time potentially returning up to 26.4mpg according to the combined cycle test.
In common with every Audi RS model, the RS 4 Avant features quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which is bolstered here by the advanced crown-gear centre differential and the sports rear differential for exceptionally smooth torque transfer between the front and rear axles and the left and right rear wheels.
A 40:60 split operates in normal conditions, but up to 70 per cent of power can be channeled to the front and as much as 85 per cent to the rear if the conditions necessitate this. A torque vectoring system, which acts on all four wheels, works with the self-locking crown gear differential to further enhance power management, and the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) also offers a Sport mode or can be fully deactivated for circuit use. The lowered chassis of the Audi RS 4 Avant, which features a five-link set-up at the front and a self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear assembly, is complemented by highly efficient new speed-dependent electromechanical power steering with a direct steering ratio for highly precise road feel. It helps the driver stay on course by making slight steering corrections when braking on surfaces with different levels of grip.
The Audi RS 4 Avant High performance wave brake discs
Polished 19-inch, ten-spoke forged aluminium wheels shod with 265/35-series tyres amply fill the arches, particularly as the taut RS set-up positions the body 20 millimetres lower than a standard A4 Avant. Behind these are large, internally-ventilated wave brake discs with eight-piston callipers which ensure unshakeable stopping power. They also feature revised friction rings which help to reduce weight by three kilograms, improving the balance of unsprung masses in the process.
For especially committed drivers carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs are also available at extra cost, as is the Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system, which uses diagonally opposed pairs of shock absorbers linked by hydraulic lines and a central valve. During fast cornering, the system intensifies the stabilisation of the front outside wheel for optimum stability and composure. Its response can be varied across three settings at the touch of a button. When DRC is fitted it can be fine-tuned by the driver via the standard Audi drive select driving dynamics system, which offers selectable comfort, auto, dynamic and individual modes accessed by the MMI control unit.
The drive select system is also responsible for the operating characteristics of the sports differential, the weighting of the steering, the shift pattern of the S tronic transmission and the response of the throttle, all of which can also be set according to the four parameters. The sound of the exhaust system is also altered when downshifting in dynamic mode. If the optional dynamic steering system is fitted, this is also controllable via Audi drive select. The dynamic steering system can alter the actual ratio of the steering by nearly 100 per cent depending on speed and automatically counter-steers slightly at the cornering limit for even more precise and stable handling.
New optional Sport Package on the Audi RS 4 Avant
The Dynamic Ride Control and dynamic steering options are available individually or combined as part of a new Sport Package, which also includes larger 20-inch rotor design aluminium or titanium-look alloy wheels to replace the standard 19-inch examples and a sports exhaust system that further amplifies the V8’s distinctive engine note.
The interior of the RS 4 Avant is finished completely in black, with the exception of the roof lining, which is optionally available in Moon Silver. Chrome clasps subtly accentuate switches and control elements. Carbon inlays are standard, with brushed matte aluminium, Aluminium Race, piano black finish or a light stainless steel mesh available as options. The standard front Super sports seats with integrated headrests are power- adjustable and covered in a combination of black leather and Alcantara. High-grade full leather packages, and an Audi exclusive design package incorporating RS bucket seats with even more pronounced contours and honeycomb quilting, are also available as options.
Standard equipment highlights on the Audi RS 4 Avant also include DVD-based satellite navigation, Bluetooth mobile phone preparation, cruise control and Audi Music Interface iPod connection. From the options list a broad range of state-of-the-art driver assistance and communication systems can be specified, and a number of these have been combined in the highly cost effective Technology Package Advanced. The package includes an upgrade from DVD navigation to the hard disk-based HDD navigation system with ‘jukebox’, adaptive cruise control, the parking system advanced with reversing camera and the active lane assist lane departure warning system.
When this package (or the individual HDD navigation option) is specified, it is also possible to include Mobile Phone Preparation – High with Audi connect, which not only brings Google Earth mapping, Google Street View and the Audi online traffic information service to the car but also allows occupants to connect their own portable devices to the internet.
Options for the luggage compartment in the Audi RS 4 Avant, which offers up to 1,430 litres of cargo space, include a rail system with load securing set and a power-operated tailgate.