2018 Audi RS 4 Avant is a 450-hp family hauler that can be yours from €79,800

Avoid embarrassment and don't try to race it at the stop lights

The Audi RS 4 Avant needs no introduction, as it has been for many years the reference in its segment for high-performance wagons that offer everyday usability.

As with the latest Audi RS 5 Coupé, the fourth-generation RS 4 Avant ditches the naturally-aspirated V8 engine for a 2.9-liter TFSI twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 450 hp (331 kW) and 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. Despite the loss of high-revving V8 drama, the new engine offers 170 Nm (125 lb-ft) more torque.

As always, power goes to all four wheels via a standard quattro AWD system. Thanks also to a sportily configured eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, the RS 4 Avant delivers breathtaking performance: 0-100 km/h takes just 4.1 seconds, with the top speed limited at 250 km/h (155 mph). However, the optional RS dynamic package unlocks a 280 km/h (174 mph) maximum velocity. The 2018 RS 4 also comes with a 7-mm (0.3-in) lower RS sports suspension and Audi drive select as standard, while a rear sport differential is available as an option.

Keen to make us forget that the new RS 4 no longer packs a V8, Audi Sport says it's 17-percent more efficient than the old model, averaging 8.8 l/100 km (26.7 mpg US) with corresponding CO2 emissions of 199 g/km. While efficiency gains are, for the most part, due to the smaller V6 engine, the reduced curb weight of the new RS 4 (minus 80 kg for a total of 1,790 kg/3,946 lb) also contributes to that.

Styling-wise, the Audi RS 4 Avant offers plenty of clues it's not an average A4 wagon. Chief among them are the two massive oval tailpipes, wider wheel arches (+30 mm/1.2 in), huge rear diffuser, roof edge spoiler, massive front air inlets, and flat Singleframe grille with typical RS honeycomb structure.

According to the automaker, some of these elements are inspired from motorsport details of the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO race car, while the Nogaro Blue pearl-effect body color harkens back to the first-generation RS 4 Avant.

The standard 19-inch forged aluminum wheels (20-inch optional) and the optional Matrix LED headlights with tinted bezels complete the exterior styling tweaks.

The cabin obviously has a racing-inspired design with a black background, RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern, flat-bottomed steering wheel, as well as RS badging all over. The cockpit can be further customized with three styling packages: gloss black, carbon with aluminum attachments, and carbon with black attachments.

Optional extras also include the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes, and RS-specific dynamic steering, among many other things.

Audi will start taking orders for the RS 4 Avant this fall, with the first European deliveries expected in early 2018. Prices start at €79,800 in Germany.

Check out Audi Sport's other major debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show: the rear-wheel-drive Audi R8 RWS.

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