Audi RS4 Avant Blasts Into S.A.

28 January 2013

The last hurrah for Audi’s normally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 has arrived in South Africa in the form of the third-generation Audi RS4 Avant. Neatly folded Audi design glazes over the smooth bonnet line, while the honeycomb grille, lower side skirts and rear three-quarter fenders don’t over-assert the latent menace that lurks underneath the broad-shouldered performance Audi.

The Audi RS4 may only be available in Avant, station wagon, guise with no sedan variant planned, but in practice you can think of it as a stretched, more practical, Audi RS5 Coupe. The juggernaut keeps the same hi-revving 331 kW and 430 Nm of torque, pulsing from the engine bay, while the same 7-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic transmission sends the power to all four wheels thanks to Quattro all-wheel drive.

The responsive V8 accelerates the RS4 Avant from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 250 km/h. The engine combines its impressive power with impressive efficiency, consuming on average less than 11 L/100 km. Fast starts are guaranteed thanks to the S-Tronic’s launch control system, which can be activated from the centre console.

The heart of the Quattro drivetrain is the crown-gear centre differential. The default 40:60 ratio of the rear-biased configuration ensures sporty handling. Audi Drive Select is standard and allows the driver to switch between three modes to alter the steering, the transmission, throttle response, exhaust note and engine rev-matching when downshifting in dynamic mode.

Styling-wise the hexagonal grille is set in a frame with a matte aluminium-look finish; its honeycomb insert is finished in high-gloss anthracite. The air flows through large openings divided by crossbars and embedded in a distinctive bumper featuring a splitter, highlighted in brushed aluminium-look silver. The RS4 Avant is 20 mm longer, 24 mm wider and 20 mm lower than a regular A4 Avant.

The interior of the Audi RS4 Avant is clad completely in black, with carbon inlays and an aluminium-look finish. The pedals and footrest are also given an aluminium-look finish, complemented by aluminium inserts with RS4 badging in the door sills. The driver information system with colour display includes an RS menu with a lap timer and oil thermometer.

Other standard specification for the South African market includes: MMI Navigation Plus; sports seats with Alcantara / leather trim; Audi Drive Select system; flat-bottomed multi-function RS-style steering wheel with shift paddles; Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED tail-lights; aluminium matte finish window surrounds, mirrors and roof rails and 19-inch wheels.