A practical sports car comes of age: Precisely 18 years ago, the first Audi RS4 Avant was launched. At the 2017 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main, the fourth generation of the Audi RS4 Avant made its world debut. This vehicle combines high performance with excellent suitability for everyday use. Its 2.9 TFSI engine with 331 kW (450 hp) and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque make it the sporting spearhead of the A4 family. The standard quattro drive distributes the power of the V6 twin turbo engine across all four wheels.
“The Audi RS4 Avant is our RS icon with an incomparable history,” says Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director at Audi Sport GmbH. “As with all our RS models, it combines excellent driving performance with maximum everyday usability. In China, the Audi RS4 will drive forward new growth in its segment as a unique high-performance Avant.”
The designers took inspiration from numerous motorsport details used on the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO when designing the Audi RS4 Avant. The front features solid air intakes with a honeycomb structure typical of an RS and the wide, flat single-frame grille. The optional Matrix LED headlamps have shaded trims. Compared to the Audi A4 Avant, the wheel housings have been widened by 30 millimeters (1.2 in) each, and are also emphasized by the quattro blisters. At the rear, the RS-specific diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and the RS roof spoiler make a bold statement. The unique Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect paint available as an optional extra from Audi exclusive is reminiscent of the first generation from 1999. The new Audi RS4 Avant comes with 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels as standard, and 20-inch wheels are available as an optional extra.
In the new Audi RS4 Avant, the V6 twin turbo engine delivers an output of 331 kW (450 hp). Its maximum torque of 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) – 170 Nm (125.4 lb-ft) more than its predecessor – is deployed throughout a wide speed range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. This means the Audi RS4 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 4.1 seconds. Its top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph), and with the optional RS dynamics package, the top speed increases to 280 km/h (174 mph).
The power of the 2.9 TFSI twin turbo is transferred to the quattro permanent all wheel drive via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission with optimized shift times that is specially tuned to sporty driving. On request, Audi will fit a sports differential on the rear axle. The average fuel consumption is 8.8 liter per 100 kilometers (26.7 US MPG) (200-199 grams CO2 per kilometer [321.9-320.3 g/mi]). This represents an efficiency increase of 17% over the previous model. The new Audi RS4 Avant weighs 1,790 kilograms (3,946.3 lbs), making it 80 kilograms (176.4 lbs) lighter than before.
The standard RS sports suspension makes the Audi RS4 Avant seven millimeters (0.3 in) lower than the S4 basic model with sports suspension. The RS sports suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), the ceramic brakes and the RS-specific dynamic steering are available as optional extras. Drivers can create their own personal driving experience using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, which is fitted as standard.
The black interior underlines the sporty character of the Audi RS4 Avant. The RS sports seats with optional honeycomb stitching, the flat-bottomed RS multifunction sports steering wheel, the shift gate and the illuminated sill panel strips bear the RS emblem. In the Audi virtual cockpit and in the head-up display, RS-specific displays provide information about G-forces, tire pressure and temperature, as well as power and torque. The optic packages Gloss Black, Carbon with Aluminum attachments, and Carbon with Black attachments enhance the range of options for the exterior. The Audi exclusive range fulfills practically all other customization wishes.
In the basic configuration, the luggage compartment of the new Audi RS4 Avant offers 505 liters (17.8 cu ft) of storage space, while 1,510 liters (53.3 cu ft) of volume is available with the seats folded down. The luggage compartment lid is electrically driven as standard. Sensor technology for opening and closing the luggage compartment lid is available as an option. For the first time, the Audi RS4 Avant is available with a trailer hitch on request, which electrically unlocks at the push of a button.
The new Audi RS4 Avant is available in Germany and other European dealers from the start of 2018. The basic price is €79,800.
The new Audi RS4 Avant is the sporting spearhead of the A4 family. Its RS-typical design draws on numerous motorsport influences from the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO. The front section, sides and rear all differ significantly from the Audi A4 Avant. The much wider and flatter single-frame radiator grille with a new, three-dimensional honeycomb structure bears the quattro logo and the RS4 emblem. A blade in a contrasting color links the solid lower air intakes.
The optional Matrix LED headlamps are differentiated from the standard LED headlights thanks to the shaded trims. Next to these are additional, vertical side air intakes that make the high performance Avant appear even wider. The quattro blisters emphasize the strong bulges over the wheel housings, which have been extended by 30 millimeters (1.2 in) on both sides.
The sill extensions painted in the vehicle color include an insert in gloss black or in carbon as an optional extra. The housings of the exterior rear view mirrors are finished in matte aluminum and also optionally available in carbon, or in black or in the vehicle color if preferred. The roof rail is available in matte aluminum or in black as an optional extra. At the rear, sporty features like the RS-specific diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and the RS roof spoiler make a bold statement.
The optic packages – Gloss Black, Carbon, and Matte Aluminum – offer further customization options. Overall, the RS4 Avant is available in eight colors, and Audi Sport offers Sonoma Green Metallic as an exclusive option. The Audi exclusive range also includes many other custom colors such as Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect. This color was used for the legendary first generation of the Audi RS4 Avant from 1999.
With a length of 4,781 millimeters (15.7 ft), the fourth generation of the RS4 Avant is 62 millimeters [2.4 in] longer than its predecessor. It stands at a height of 1,404 millimeters (4.6 ft), making it 12 millimeters [0.5 in] lower than the previous model. And with a width of 1,866 millimeters (6.1 ft), it is 16 millimeters [0.6 in] wider.
Compared to its direct predecessor, a naturally aspirated high-speed V8 engine, the re-developed V6 twin turbo delivers a completely new dimension of torque and efficiency. From 1,900 to 5,000 rpm, the 2.9 TFSI engine delivers a full 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft – 170 Nm (125.4 lb-ft) more than its predecessor. With its output of 331 kW (450 hp), equating to a performance of 155.5 hp per liter, the new RS4 Avant accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 4.1 seconds, which is 0.6 tenths of a second faster than before. The RS dynamics package increases the electronically controlled top speed from 250 km/h (155.3 mph) to 280 km/h (174 mph).
The 2.9 TFSI V6 twin turbo engine from Audi Sport is a nod to the legendary 2.7 liter V6 from the first RS4 Avant. Produced from 1999 to 2001, it delivered 279 kW (380 hp).
Modular concept: The new V6 generation
Owing to the higher forces in its interior, its stroke was reduced by 3 millimeters (0.1 in) to 86 millimeters (3.4 in). With an unchanged bore hole of 84 millimeters (3.3 in), the displacement measures 2,894 cm3. The engine only weighs 182 kilograms (401.2 lbs), which is 31 kilograms (68.3 lbs) less than its V8 predecessor, which benefits the overall weight and axle load distribution of the new Audi RS4 Avant.
Typical Audi: Exhaust side inside, intake side outside
The two turbochargers of the 2.9 TFSI are each arranged on a cylinder bank, and generate up to 1.5 bar of charge pressure. As with all new V6 and V8 engines from Audi, the turbochargers are mounted at a 90-degree angle to the cylinder banks, which means that the exhaust side of the cylinder heads is inside, and the intake side is outside. This layout enables a compact design and short fuel paths with minimal flow loss – the 2.9 TFSI reacts extremely spontaneously to the movements of the right pedal.
Efficiency technology: The B-cycle combustion process
The high-performance V6 not only impresses with its strong performance, but also its efficiency. In the new European driving cycle, the vehicle uses just 8.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (26.7 US mpg), equivalent to 200-199 grams of CO2 per kilometer (321.9-320.3 g/mi). These values represent a 17% reduction in fuel consumption compared with the previous model. A key reason for this is the new TFSI combustion process from Audi called the B-cycle process. This is specially designed for the partial load range, by far the most common operating mode.
At higher loads and engine speeds, the two-step Audi valvelift system (AVS)closes the inlet valves later – the opening duration extends to 200 crank angle degrees. At the same time, the valve lift increases from 6.0 (0.2 in) to 10 millimeters (0.4 in). The cylinder filling increases considerably – the engine turns at a powerfully high speed and delivers smooth performance.
Separate circuits: The thermal management system
Another factor in the efficiency of the 2.9 TFSI is the thermal management system. The crankcase and the cylinder head have separate cooling circuits. After a cold start, the switchable water pump regulates the flow of coolant through the engine so that the oil heats up quickly. The exhaust manifolds are integrated into the cylinder heads, and are surrounded by the coolant, which helps to accelerate the heating process. When the engine is warm, this technology lowers the exhaust gas temperature – which significantly reduces consumption, especially during sporty driving. The impressive efficiency of the V6 twin turbo is also a result of the low friction. The fully-variable oil pump, for example, only ever generates as much pressure as necessary.
With the chain drive, a new concept reduces the required drive power: The crankshaft drives the balancer shaft, which sits deep in the V of the cylinder banks, via gearwheels. From here, chains run to the four camshaft sprockets. They are tri-oval in shape, that is, slightly triangular, in order to balance out the peak forces. The balancer shaft rotates on particularly low-friction roller bearings.
Striking: The sound of the V6 twin turbo
As soon as the engine starts, it delivers a powerful sound. At higher loads, the flaps open in the exhaust system, and the sound is even throatier. With the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, which comes as standard, the driver can also control the flaps – both for the standard RS exhaust system and for the optional RS sports exhaust system with black tail trims. The intake system of the V6 twin turbo has been intricately optimized, with pipes made from polished stainless steel allowing the air to flow in virtually unobstructed.
The fast, spontaneous and sporty eight-speed tiptronic transmission with optimized shift times comes as standard with the new RS4 Avant.
The driver can choose between the modes D and S, and there are special RS shift paddles on the steering wheel for manual gear changes. All commands are sent to the transmission electronically – using shift-by-wire technology. The dynamic starting function ensures optimal traction when the engine starts, allowing the RS4 Avant to realize its full acceleration potential. To do so, ESC sport mode must be active, and the selector lever must be set to the S position. In manual mode, the driver controls the gear changes using the shift paddles on the steering wheel or by tapping the selector lever. Once the engine speed threshold is reached, a shift light appears in the driver information system or the optional head-up display advising the driver to shift up.
Dynamic power distribution: The quattro drive
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive is a unique feature in the segment. With its asymmetric and dynamic design, it contributes greatly to the sporty and stable handling of the RS4 Avant. During regular driving, the system uses a rear-weighted setup. Its purely mechanical center differential lock sends 60% of the torque to the rear axle and 40% to the front axle. When slippage occurs on an axle, most of the power immediately flows to the other axle – up to 70% to the front, and up to 85% to the rear.
The wheel-selective torque control enhances the mechanical functionality of the quattro drive. The agility, precision, stability and optimal traction are further enhanced by the software of the ESC Electronic Stability Control.
The optional sport differential with RS-specific tuning ensures even more dynamic responsiveness when steering and accelerating. The system actively and selectively distributes the torque between the rear wheels.
RS-specific tuning: Stabilization control with three modes
The ESC Electronic Stability Control including slip regulation has RS-specific tuning. In addition to normal mode, there is also a sports mode, which delays the intervention of the ESC. If the driver presses the button for longer than three seconds, the ESC switches off completely.
The Audi RS4 Avant weighs 1,715 kilograms (3,780.9 lbs) – 80 kilograms (176.4 lbs) lighter than the previous model. This weight saving is achieved by a geometric lightweight design and an intelligent material mix.
Heat-formed components form the high-strength, crash-resilient backbone of the passenger cell. These components are used to reinforce the transition area from the vehicle front end to the interior, the front zone of the windshield frame, the B-pillars, the side skirts and parts of the floor.
With its excellent torsional rigidity, the vehicle body lays the foundation for high-precision driving behavior and quiet driving. When it comes to passive safety, the high-performance Avant also scores top marks. In the interior, the adaptive child restraint system provides excellent protection at the front. It adjusts the effect of the front airbags and the belt force limiters to the seating position of the driver and front passenger, and the type of front collision.
Typical avant: High suitability for everyday use
For more than 20 years, the combination of an aesthetic design and functional utility has ensured the Audi Avant models have stood out from the competition. Within the Avant family, the RS4 Avant plays a very special role – an RS icon with an unrivaled history dating back to 1999.
The maximum luggage compartment volume with the rear seat backrest folded down is 1,510 liters (53.3 cu ft). The backrest is divided in a 40:20:40 ratio, and can easily be folded down onto the seat padding using the levers in the luggage compartment. In its basic dimensions, the luggage compartment of the RS4 Avant offers 505 liters (17.8 cu ft) of volume, 15 liters (0.5 cu ft) more than before. Its square-shaped profile enables optimum use of the luggage compartment area. The loading width measures exactly one meter (3.3 ft). A screen separator and an electric luggage compartment cover come as standard.
If requested, Audi will provide a gesture control system for opening and closing the luggage compartment lid (not with the Carbon optic package): A motion detector in the rear bumper responds to a kick movement, the lid unlocks, and opens automatically if the key is detected.
A remote control vehicle key and a stop-start button for keyless ignition are standard with the new Audi RS4 Avant. There is also a comfort key that enables keyless access to the vehicle, which is available on request.
The optional trailer hitch available for the RS4 Avant for the first time. This unlocks electronically at the push of a button. The new RS4 Avant can tow up to 2,100 kilograms (4,629.7 lbs) (up to an 8% incline).
The suspension in the front and rear of the Audi RS4 Avant is built on newly developed five-link supports. This axle concept enables optimum absorption of longitudinal and transverse forces.
With the standard RS sports suspension, the RS4 Avant is seven millimeters lower than the S4 basic model with sports suspension. Alternatively, Audi Sport offers the RS sports suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC). A new damper generation with an integrated switch valve ensures a clear spread between the individual modes of Audi drive select. Drivers can create their own personal driving experience using the dynamic handling system fitted as standard.
Audi drive select also influences the characteristics of the engine and the steering. What’s more, the system also adapts the characteristic curve for shifting, the exhaust door control, and other optional modules in the four modes: auto, comfort, dynamic and individual.
As an alternative to the redeveloped electromechanical power steering, Audi Sport also offers dynamic steering with RS-specific tuning. This uses a superposition gear to vary its ratio by up to 100 percent – depending on the car’s speed and the mode selected in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. For sporty driving in dynamic mode, the gear ratio of the dynamic steering remains constant at 14:1.
The RS4 Avant is fitted with 19-inch aluminum forged alloy wheels as standard with 265/35 tires. Alternatively, 20-inch wheels are available as an option with different designs including a new, particularly lightweight fully milled wheel. These are fitted with 275/30 tires.
Behind these large wheels are powerful RS steel brakes with perforated composite disks. At the front axle, these have a diameter of 375 millimeters (14.8 in), while at the rear axle, they have a diameter of 330 millimeters (13.0 in). The six-piston brake calipers with the RS emblem are painted in black, or in red as an option. Upon request, Audi Sport will also equip the front axle with particularly durable and low-wear ceramic brakes with six-piston brake calipers and perforated discs measuring 400 millimeters (15.7 in) in diameter.
The new two-tone Audi Sport entry lights and the illuminated sill panel strips with an RS4 logo greet the driver and front passenger. LED light guides trace the contours of the doors and the center console – with the optional contour/ambiance lighting package in 30 colors. The horizontal architecture of the instrument panel creates a vast sense of spaciousness in the high-quality, sporty interior of the RS4 Avant.
The black interior emphasizes the definitive sporty character of the new RS model. The RS sports seats with diamond stitching and embossed RS emblem come as standard with a covering made from a combination of leather and Alcantara, internal heating and lumbar support. The RS sports seats are optionally available in fine Nappa leather with a honeycomb pattern and contrasting stitching. Climate control sports seats in perforated Milano leather are also available.
The flat-bottomed RS multifunction sports leather steering wheel with a three-spoke design features multifunction buttons for convenient operation of the infotainment system. This combines shiny black shift paddles with aluminum elements. The steering wheel rim bears the RS emblem, as does the RS-specific shift gate. The optional RS design package brings the sporty contrast color red into play on the center console as well as on the armrests, the seat belts and the floor mats with RS logo. The steering wheel, selector lever and knee pads are finished in Alcantara with red contrasting stitching. The Sonoma Green design package from Audi exclusive enhances the interior with appropriately colored contrast stitching – perfect for the new, exclusive exterior color.
The increased dimensions, the 13-millimeter (0.5-in) longer wheelbase and the compact seats increase the space available for the driver and passengers. The shoulder width in the first row of seats has been increased by 11 millimeters (0.4 in). The central, front armrest storage, the large door pockets, two cupholders, and a new, sealed storage compartment below the rotary light switch emphasize the everyday usability of the vehicle.
Display and controls
As a fully digital alternative to the analog circular speedometer (scale up to 320 km/h [198.8 mph]) and rev counter, the Audi RS4 Avant offers the Audi virtual cockpit. Thanks to a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels, its 12.3-inch TFT screen provides detailed and selectable graphics. A special RS screen complements the infotainment and classic displays. This places the tachometer with an integrated digital display for speed in central focus. The driver can configure other displays around this, such as the torque (in Nm [US mpg]), power (in percent), tire pressure and temperature (in bar/°C) and g-forces.
The tachometer also serves as a shift indicator: if the eight-speed tiptronic transmission is in manual mode, green, orange and red segments illuminate as the speed increases. Shortly before the engine reaches its limit, the entire scale flashes red. The lap timer, another feature of the RS menu, records up to 99 laps and compares the times against each other. The status of important technical components is also shown, such as the temperature of engine oil and transmission fluid, as well as the air pressure.
A further option for the RS4 Avant is the head-up display. This projects all relevant information onto the windshield in the driver’s direct field of vision as easily comprehensible symbols and digits. This means that drivers can keep their eyes on the road at all times. Here, too, RS-specific content is included such as the shift light and displays for lap times and oil temperature. If the vehicle is in manual mode, a shift light prompts the driver to shift up using the steering wheel paddle or selector lever.
The infotainment system is operated via the round rotary push button on the wide, asymmetrical center console. As an option, its surface incorporates the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and multi-finger gestures. The driver can also select functions using natural language voice control, which recognizes many common phrases. The intelligent free text search delivers search results after only a few characters have been entered and, together with the multifunction steering wheel, it rounds off the operating concept. With the basic package, the Audi MMI display in the center console measures 7 inches, increasing to 8.3 inches with the optional MMI Navigation plus. As an option, Audi offers an automatic comfort climate control system for the RS4 Avant. This regulates the air temperature and distribution separately for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. The digital temperature displays in the cockpit are integrated into the control dials. Just a few buttons and dials are sufficient for convenient control. When a finger approaches one of the sensory switches, its function is displayed in bigger dimensions on the dark LCD display and can be selected by pushing the button. The rear passengers use a separate control unit in the rear center console to set the temperature.
Infotainment and Audi connect
The everyday usability of the RS4 Avant is also demonstrated by its extensive infotainment offering, which ensures passengers remain fully entertained during journeys. The optionally available MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch includes an 8.3-inch monitor with a resolution of 1,024 x 480 pixels. In addition to a DVD drive and a 10 GB flash memory, the high-end system also features two card readers, an AUX-IN connection and a USB connection with charging function. The Audi connect hardware module is also included. This module connects the high-performance Avant to the Internet using LTE technology. Thanks to the Audi connect SIM, which is permanently installed in the car, the flat-rate data package for the connect services including Europe-wide roaming is free of charge for three years. Passengers can browse the Internet with their mobile devices via the optionally available Wi-Fi hotspot.
The first car-to-X technologies are also included with the new Audi RS4 Avant, with traffic sign and road hazard information services. These services connect the car to other Audi models so that they can exchange information via the Audi connect SIM in almost real time.
The free Audi MMI connect app offers many other functions such as transferring the calendar from a smartphone to the MMI. Aupeo! and Napster offer access to countless songs and audio books, as well as over 4,000 Internet radio stations. Destinations from Google Maps, points of interest and entries from the “Travel” service can be transferred from your smartphone to your car’s navigation system using the app.
The functions included in the standard Audi connect safety & service package are also convenient and informative. With the included remote functions, the driver can view the vehicle status and parking position remotely via the Audi MMI connect app, and even lock or unlock the car. The package also includes the new functions emergency call, online roadside assistance and Audi service request.
The Audi smartphone interface integrates iOS and Android cell phones into a specially developed environment in MMI via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Audi phone box connects the smartphone to the vehicle antenna for improved reception quality and inductively charges the smartphone via wireless charging according to the Qi-standard.
The optional Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D Sound makes full use of the vehicle’s dimensions. The heart of the system is a 755-watt, 16-channel amplifier, which controls the 19 loudspeakers. Two subwoofers behind the side panels in the rear generate the bass. The music sounds like a concert hall.
Driver assistance systems
Over 30 driver assistance system increase the safety, comfort and efficiency of the RS4 Avant. Some of the solutions are standard features, while the optional systems can be ordered individually or as part of the “Parking”, “City” and “Tour” packages.
The adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop&go function including traffic jam assist plays a key role. The ACC takes the load off the driver in slow-moving traffic of up to 65 km/h by automatically decelerating and accelerating, and on well-built roads it even takes over the steering.
The collision avoidance assist helps the driver to steer aroudn an obstacle, thereby avoiding collisions. Using data from the front camera, ACC and radar sensors, it calculates a suitable evasive maneuver corridor in fractions of a second. Other assistance systems round off the offering, for example the turn assist, the park assist, the cross traffic assist rear, the exit warning, the traffic sign recognition and the Audi active lane assist.
The Audi RS4 Avant is fitted with the Audi pre sense city system as standard. This monitors the road at up to 85 km/h (52.8 mph), detects other vehicles and pedestrians and initiates full braking in an emergency. The Audi side assist lane change assistance also comes as standard.
The RS4 Avant is delivered with an extensive range of standard equipment. This includes LED headlights and LED rear lights, the RS sports suspension, 19-inch aluminum forged alloy wheels, the RS exhaust system and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. The sporty look continues in the dark interior with RS sports seats in a leather-Alcantara mix with diamond stitching and lumbar support, a flat-bottomed RS multifunction sports steering wheel and stainless steel pedals. At the same time, Audi RS4 Avant drivers will have a comfortable ride thanks to automatic climate control, MMI Radio plus with a 7-inch color display, a Bluetooth interface and an adjustable speed limiter. The assistance systems predictive efficiency assistant, Audi pre sense city, Audi side assist, parking system plus, collision avoid assist and the Audi connect safety & service package including vehicle control supplement the extensive standard features.
An optional trailer hitch is available for the first time for the RS4 Avant. This unlocks electronically at the push of a button. The new RS4 Avant can tow up to 2,100 kilograms (4,629.7 lbs) (up to an 8% incline).
The Audi RS4 Avant will be available in dealerships in Germany and other European countries from the start of 2018. The basic price is €79,800. The fourth generation will continue the major success of its predecessor models. Since 1999, Audi has delivered more than 27,000 RS4 models worldwide.
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