Audi's in the process of updating its A4 range for 2020 and the final member to be tweaked is the high-performance RS 4 Avant from the Audi Sport division.
Audi in August confirmed the car's big brother, the RS 6 Avant, for sale in the United States at some future date, but the RS 4 Avant isn't due here, at least in this generation. Hopefully that won't be the case for the next-generation RS 4, which we hear will be a plug-in hybrid.
The updated RS 4 Avant doesn't benefit from any extra power over the outgoing model. Under the hood sits a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 generating 450 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system and will hustle the small, sporty wagon from 0-62 mph in about 4.0 seconds. Top speed is governed to 155 mph. This can be lifted to 174 mph as an option.
2020 Audi RS 4 Avant
On the outside, the headlights are new and no longer feature the teardrop element of the outgoing RS 4, while the front grille is also wider and lower and features a new three-dimensional honeycomb structure. The changes at the rear are more subtle, with the most prominent being the redesigned rear diffuser.
The all-wheel drive is rear-biased (normally a 40:60 split front to rear) but is able to send up to 70 percent of the drive torque to the front when needed. The drive torque is directed between the front and rear axles via a purely mechanical center differential, and it can be controlled at individual wheels via a brake-based system. When cornering hard, this latter system, which is part of the electronic stability system, applies a little brake pressure to the inside wheel to help turn in. A more aggressive version of this for the rear axle, which Audi calls the Sport differential, can be added as an option.
The RS 4 Avant also comes with sport-tuned suspension with adjustable dampers, plus speed-sensitive steering, 19-inch wheels with 265/35-size tires, and 6-piston brake calipers with 14.8-inch rotors at the front and 13-inch rotors at the rear. The rotors are steel as standard but can be swapped for even bigger carbon-ceramic rotors.
2020 Audi RS 4 Avant
For the interior, a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen display sits atop the dash for the infotainment and can be used much like a smartphone. Natural-speak voice activation and buttons on the steering wheel can also be used to control the infotainment. Specific Audi Sport touches in the cabin include the RS logos, including some in the digital instrument cluster, as well as a flat-bottomed steering wheel and body-hugging sport seats up front with contrast stitching.
In markets where the RS 4 Avant will be sold, the first examples will arrive at dealers in December.
Note, similar updates on the RS 4 Avant should feature on an updated RS 5 range also due for 2020.