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More Advantages for the flagship Avant - The updated Audi RS 4

More Advantages for the flagship Avant - The updated Audi RS 4


New look and technological upgrade for one of the mainstays of the Audi Sport range

The aesthetic and technological advantages of the recently upgraded Audi A4 can now also be savoured in the ultimate incarnation of the breed – the Audi Sport-developed RS 4 Avant is set to become available to order in the UK in newly updated form in November, conversant with the latest Audi design language and equipped with the latest infotainment developments based around a new touch-screen MMI Touch operating system. The first UK specification examples of the revised, 450PS super-Avant will touch down here in standard and even more lavishly equipped Vorsprung specification in early 2020.

“Combining consistent sportiness with unlimited everyday usability may seem like an unconventional idea to some, but to us, the high-performance Avant is one of the best concepts of our 25-year history,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “As our long-standing bestseller, the Audi RS 4 Avant contributes significantly to the success of Audi Sport GmbH.”

Muscular: the exterior design

The front section of the new RS 4 Avant has been completely redesigned. The Singleframe is wider and flatter than its counterpart in the A4 model line, and in common with the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback the grille features the three-dimensional honeycomb structure in gloss black that characterises the RS model series.

To give it a clean look, the Singleframe is frameless - the new ‘eggcrate’ grille with the RS 4 emblem is inserted directly into the bumper with the large lateral air inlets and vertical flaps. The shape of the standard Matrix LED headlights with their darkened bezels has also been redesigned.

Side view of the RS4 Avant

The wheel arches with their quattro blisters are each 30 millimetres wider than the A4 at the front and rear. Gloss black design elements positioned right next to the headlights also help to emphasise the width.

Gloss black, matt aluminium and carbon elements will be available to add individual accents to the inlay in the sill, the exterior mirror housings and the front and rear bumpers, and depending on the options chosen the Audi rings and the RS logo are also finished in black on the front and rear. The RS badges can also be omitted completely for a more understated look. The RS-specific roof edge spoiler and the diffuser insert as well as the chrome tailpipes of the RS exhaust system give the vehicle a distinct finish. The optional RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims creates a particularly dramatic sound experience. The driver can modulate the sound via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.

Full tractive power: the drive

With the 2.9 TFSI twin-turbo V6, Audi Sport GmbH is building on the legendary 2.7 litre V6 of the first RS 4 Avant from 1999. Back then, the twin-turbo V6 had a power output of 380PS. The new RS 4 Avant now offers 450PS, enabling it to accelerate from zero to 62mph in just 4.1 seconds. The TFSI engine weighs just 182 kilograms,  which is 31 kilograms less than the V8 engine in the previous, 2012 RS 4. This benefits the gross weight and the axle load distribution—two prerequisites for the impressive performance. The twin-turbo V6 applies an impressive 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft in a broad engine speed range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. The RS dynamic package increases the electronically governed top speed from 155mph to 174mph.

The two turbochargers of the 2.9 TFSI are each assigned to a cylinder bank and build up a boost pressure of up to 1.5 bar. As with all V6 and V8 engines from Audi, the turbochargers are installed within the 90-degree interior “V” of the cylinder banks, and thus the exhaust side of the cylinder heads is on the inside, while the intake side is on the outside of the engine. This layout enables compact construction and short gas flow paths with minimal flow losses, allowing the 2.9 TFSI to respond particularly spontaneously to movement of the accelerator pedal.

side view of an Audi RS4 Avant driving on a road

The high-output V6 impresses not only with its strong performance but also with its high level of efficiency. In the new WLTP driving cycle, it returns up to 30.7mpg,  which corresponds to 211 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This constitutes a consumption reduction of 17 percent versus the previous model. A decisive factor in this is the new TFSI combustion process, which is known as the B-cycle. It has been specifically designed for the partial-load range, which is the predominant operating mode during normal use. In the case of higher loads and rotational speeds, the two-stage Audi valvelift system (AVS) closes the intake valves later, thereby increasing the opening duration to a crank angle of 200 degrees. Simultaneously, valve lift increases from 6.0 to 10 millimetres. The cylinder charge thereby increases accordingly, as does response.

The power of the 2.9 TFSI flows to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via the sporty eight-speed tiptronic. In regular driving, the system delivers more power to the rear axle. Its purely mechanical centre differential directs 60 percent of the torque to the rear axle and 40 percent to the front. If undesired slip occurs at one axle, most of the power is automatically and rapidly redirected to the other axle—up to 70 percent to the front or up to 85 percent to the rear axle. The high locking values enable a clearly defined torque distribution and highly precise interaction with the control systems of the ESC and wheel-selective torque control.

Rear view of an Audi RS4 Avant driving on a road

Wheel-selective torque control is active on all types of surfaces. When negotiating more challenging roads, it brakes the wheels on the inside of the bend very slightly via the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC), thereby increasing the drive torque on the wheels on the outside of the bend with the higher wheel load. The difference in drive forces turns the car into the bend, allowing the car to follow the steering angle precisely. The result: precise, agile and neutral handling. The standard quattro sport differential with RS-specific tuning ensures an even more dynamic response when accelerating in corners. It distributes the torque between the rear wheels actively and in a targeted manner, thereby improving traction, stability and dynamics. When turning or accelerating in a corner, the torque is predominantly steered toward the rear wheel on the outside of the bend —the car is literally pressed into it, eliminating even the slightest hint of understeer. In case of oversteer, the sport differential stabilises the vehicle by directing torque to the wheel on the inside of the bend.

Sporty tuning: the suspension

The five-link front and rear suspension enables the optimal absorption of longitudinal and lateral forces. With the standard RS sport suspension, the Audi RS 4 Avant is seven millimetres lower than the S4 base model with sport suspension.

The optional RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) enables even more agile handling. This integrated roll and pitch stabiliser consists of a special damper system that counteracts the movements of the vehicle body with no delay without the use of electronics. When the vehicle is turning into and traveling around a bend, the damper response is altered so that the vehicle’s movements around the longitudinal axis (roll) and around the transverse axis (pitch) are significantly reduced.

The dampers are each connected diagonally to a central valve via two separate oil lines. The valves provide the necessary compensating volume via internal pistons with the gas-filled compartment behind them. When the vehicle is steering into and travelling around a bend, an oil flow is generated between the diagonally opposite dampers via the central valve, thus creating additional damping force. When one side is cushioned, the damping characteristics are altered such that roll and pitch movements are almost eliminated. As a result, this highly responsive damper system ensures that the RS models are particularly precise when negotiating bends.

With the aid of Audi drive select, the driver can influence the damper response on three levels and thereby personalise the driving experience. The new generation of dampers with integrated valve is more compact and lighter. In addition, it enables the damping forces to be spread even more widely between the comfort and dynamic modes as well as more precise suspension adjustment for high damping forces, which occur when cornering at speed in particular. The result: The RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) ensures a markedly comfortable ride refinement in the “comfort” setting. In the “dynamic” mode, it delivers impressively taut driving precision even when cornering at high speed.

RS-specific dynamic steering is available as an alternative to the standard electromechanical power steering. Dynamic steering varies the steering ratio by up to 100 per cent based on the driving speed, steering angle and selected mode in the Audi drive select handling system. At low driving speeds—in city traffic and during manoeuvres the dynamic steering operates very directly; all it takes is two full turns of the steering wheel to travel from end stop to end stop. The level of power assistance is also high, facilitating parking manoeuvres. On country roads, the directness of the steering response and electric power assistance are reduced progressively. When driving at high speeds on the highway, the indirect gear ratio and low level of power assistance smooth out jerky steering movements and assist with confident directional stability.

parked Audi RS4 Avant

Dynamic steering works closely with the electronic stabilisation control program (ESC) to achieve sporty handling and driving safety. If necessary, it counter-steers slightly; its slight corrections, most of which are unnoticeable to the driver, reduce understeer and oversteer due to load alterations in the vast majority of situations. When braking on road surfaces with different friction coefficients, the system helps by means of stabilising steering corrections.

The driver can tailor their personal driving experience via the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system. There are five profiles available: comfort, auto, dynamic and the customisable, RS-specific RS1 and RS2 modes. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system influences the engine and transmission management, the power steering, the suspension, the dynamic steering, the quattro sport differential, the engine sound and the characteristics of the automatic air conditioning. The customisable RS2 mode exists specifically to influence the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) quickly at the push of a button.

The new RS 4 Avant is factory-equipped with 19-inch forged aluminium wheels with 265/35 tyres. Various 20-inch designs are available upon request, including a new fully milled five-arm wheel painted completely in matt bronze and running with 275/30 tyres. Powerful RS steel brakes with perforated composite discs ensure confident deceleration behaviour. They have a diameter of 375 millimetres at the front and 330 millimetres at the rear. The six-piston brake callipers with RS logos are painted in black, or optionally in red. On request, particularly fade-resistant RS ceramic brakes operate at the front axle. The callipers are available in red, grey and blue. Their perforated discs have a diameter of 400 millimetres.

Connected cockpit: the interior

In the equally purposefully styled interior of the Audi RS 4 Avant, LED light guides trace the contours of the doors and the centre console—doing so in up to 30 different colours in combination with the optional ambient lighting package. The horizontal alignment of the instrument panel creates a sense of spaciousness. The driver and front passenger are welcomed by the illuminated door sill trims that bear the RS 4 logo.

The 10.1-inch MMI touch display is the control centre of the new operating system. It is located in the centre of the instrument panel and tilted slightly towards the driver. The touch-sensitive screen displays a high-resolution graphic animation of an RS 4 Avant to welcome the driver. The MMI touch display provides acoustic feedback and takes over the functions of the previous rotary pushbutton on the centre console. The driver can use the RS monitor to call up an overview of drive system component temperatures, maximum g-forces and information regarding tyre pressures and temperatures. In the Audi virtual cockpit, special RS displays provide information on tyre pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, lap timings, acceleration measurements and g-forces. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached.

Interior of an Audi RS4 Avant

With its strict hierarchies, the menu structure of the new operating system is tailored to the user’s expectations and designed for easy operation. The natural language control also understands many phrases used in everyday language and quickly translates them into commands. The navigation in the new RS 4 Avant is now even more versatile and user-friendly. Audi connect and Audi connect plus provide a host of online services, such as Car-to-X services, which take advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.

The driver can actuate the two RS1 and RS2 modes in Audi drive select directly via a new “RS MODE” button on the flat-bottomed RS multifunction sport leather steering wheel. This automatically opens the RS-specific displays in the Audi virtual cockpit. The new aluminium shift paddles are considerably larger than before. Aside from the steering wheel and the illuminated door sill trims, the RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern and the shift gate also bear the RS emblem.

Versatile: the equipment

The RS 4 Avant provides the same level of everyday usability as the ‘standard’ A4 Avant. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 495 litres, which increases to 1,495 litres with the rear seats folded down and cargo loaded to the roof. The luggage compartment lid and the luggage compartment cover are electrically operated as standard. Sensor control for opening and closing the luggage compartment lid is available as an option, and a trailer towing hitch that can be unlocked electrically at the push of a button is also available.

On request, the RS 4 can assist the driver in many situations: More than 30 driver assist systems underline the all-round characteristics of the high-performance Avant. Many of the options are bundled in the “tour” and “city” packages. They include the adaptive cruise assist with stop & go function for automatic distance control, the intersection assist, the lane change warning and the kerb warning. The full complement of driving assistance systems is fitted as standard to the RS 4 Avant Vorsprung model.

RS 4 Avant customers can select from eight paint colours, including the new solid colour Turbo blue and the new metallic colour Tango red. The Audi exclusive programme also includes many more customised paint finishes, for example Nogaro blue, pearl effect. This colour already characterised the RS 2 Avant as the legendary forefather of all RS models back in 1994.