New Car: 2013 Audi RS4 Avant


Audi's high-performance wagons are icons. The mid-1980s saw the 100/200 Turbo Wagon, and things got really wild with the RS2 launched in 1994. It was an over-the-top variation of the Audi 80 Avant created with assistance from Porsche, powered by a 315-hp version of Audi's 2.2-liter turbo five-cylinder and wearing wheels from the 964-gen Porsche 911. (Its side mirrors and front turn signals were from the 993, too.) The RS2 was followed in 1999 by the first RS4, which packed a 380-hp, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. Audi launched the second-gen RS4 in 2005 with a naturally aspirated, extremely high-revving 4.2-liter V-8; this powerplant was engineered by Wolfgang Hatz, now head of Porsche R&D. For the first time, Audi offered a sedan and a convertible in addition to the station wagon. The previous-gen RS4 was sold until 2009. One year later, the RS5 coupe was launched on a platform shared with the current A4, as a sort of RS4 stand-in.

But now the RS4 returns—but only as a station wagon, to be launched at the Geneva auto show next month. The engine remains true to its immediate predecessor, as the car is powered by a 4.2-liter direct-injected V-8 that produces 450 hp at 8250 rpm. Maximum torque stands at 317 lb-ft and is available from 4000 to 6000 rpm. The performance is more than adequate: Audi claims a 0-to-62-mph sprint of 4.7 seconds; we’re guessing that’s at least a few ticks on the conservative side. Top speed is limited to 155 mph unless you pay to relax the governor, at which point the fun ends at 174 mph.

The torque delivery is rear-biased, at 40/60-percent; the self-locking crown-wheel center differential can adjust this ratio almost instantly between 70/30 and 15/85 according to road conditions and driver input. A sports differential that can distribute the torque between the rear wheels is optional. While the last-gen RS4 was available only with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, the new model comes only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The driver can use paddles or leave the shifting up to the car entirely. In the standard Drive Select system’s more-aggressive settings, the car will blip the throttle to provide rev-matched downshifts.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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