2018 Audi RS4 Avant
2018 Audi RS4 Avant: A Most Capacious Ass Kicker
Two turbochargers and plenty of room for schnitzel.
When we first drove the latest Audi S4, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, we were a bit underwhelmed: It’s a bit less responsive and less exciting than the previous model. There clearly remained space for a meaner beast at the top of the lineup. Now, at the Frankfurt auto show, that car has arrived in the form of the all-new Audi RS4 Avant, a vehicle that always sets our hearts to racing—even though there are no current plans to offer it in the United States.
The RS4 Avant is mechanically similar to the RS5, with those two sharing many components—most notably the awesome 450-hp 2.9-liter V-6, which is a twin-turbocharged variation of the S4 sedan’s single-turbo 3.0-liter engine. This powerplant springs from an engine-development partnership with Porsche in which Audi handles the V-6s and Porsche the V-8s. You can also find it installed in the Porsche Panamera S and the upcoming next-gen Cayenne S.
Beyond being powerful, it is torquey, with all 443 lb-ft served on a fat plateau from 1900 to 5000 rpm. The power is channeled to all four wheels through a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. The time of manual transmissions is over at Audi Sport, the brand’s performance sub-brand, but judging from our experience with the RS5, most customers will be exceedingly happy with the automatic. It’s as good as automatics get, although there’s no doubt we’d still enjoy shifting for ourselves.
As for aural output, the twin-turbo V-6 will be no match for the RS4’s previous naturally aspirated V-8, but at least the cabin can be filled with sporty noises, depending on the driving mode selected. Zero to 62 mph takes a mere 4.1 seconds, Audi says, while top speed is governed at 155 mph, or 174 mph if you’re willing to cough up a bit of extra dough.
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