29 April 2005

Audi’s Tarmac-tearing RS4 is getting an estate sibling. The 414bhp V8 super saloon is due to arrive in the UK this October, but will be hotly pursued by an RS4 Avant, continuing the legacy formed by Audi’s iconic RS2, previous RS4 and recently discontinued RS6 load-luggers.

Audi has employed a subtle disguise for this test mule. The car pictured wears S4 badges and has the one-piece bonnet and grille from the pre-facelifted A4 Avant. Both are red herrings: the RS4’s widened front and rear tracks are unmissable under those flared wheelarches, and at the front the extended chin spoiler and front splitter are giveaways of its true identity.

The RS4 will be the same length and width as the standard A4 Avant, but 30mm lower because of its reduced ride height. It will get the same normally aspirated, high-revving 4.2-litre V8 as the saloon, producing 414bhp at over 8000rpm and 317lb ft of torque, 90 per cent of which is available between 2250 and 7600rpm.

Audi’s pricing strategy with the RS4 Avant should be similar to that of the last-generation RS6: saloon and estate versions of that car were priced at just £1100 apart. By that precedent, the RS4 Avant should cost around £51,000 and get the same 19in alloy wheels, 18in disc brakes and leather bucket seats as the saloon.

Look out for the production RS4 Avant at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

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