Gently updated 2020 Audi RS4 Avant revealed

New RS4 picks up fresh styling, but no new engine tech or extra grunt

Audi Sport has revealed details of its next new model for 2019 in the form of a subtly updated RS4 Avant. It follows updates made to the rest of the A4 range earlier this year. However, most key elements of the package remain largely unchanged, with the same underlying powertrain and peak figures.

The engine itself is the same 90-degree 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 found in the previous RS4 (and a handful of Porsche SUVs) with a hot-V turbocharger layout. Power and torque are unchanged, with a peak of 414bhp between 5700 and 6700rpm, and 442lb ft between 1900 and 5000rpm. Performance figures are as before, with a 4.1sec 0-62mph time and a limited top speed of 155mph, or 174mph with the optional RS Dynamic package.

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The V6 has made some tangible gains in efficiency though, with the new model able to hit a combined 30.7mpg on the new WLTP cycle, which Audi says is an improvement of 17 per cent compared to the previous model. This rise comes from a new combustion process which adjusts the valve-lift system under partial load, reducing both fuel consumption and emissions.

The engine’s power is sent to the usual quattro all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The multi-clutch centre differential is a purely mechanical unit with a default 40:60 front to rear split, but is then able to send up to 75 per cent of the available power to the front axle, or 85 to the rear under certain circumstances. An optional rear quattro sport differential is also able to portion torque to individual rear wheels.

The suspension layout is five-link at both ends, and utilises coil springs and adaptive dampers as standard. Audi’s optional Dynamic Ride Control is also available, which further reduces roll, squat and dive by interconnecting the four dampers and counteracting body movement with additional damping force.

The new RS4 otherwise follows the aesthetic convention set by lesser A4s and S4s, with new head and tail lights, and a fresh front bumper. Like the recently revealed RS6 Avant, the new RS4 has a low, wide grille without the usual trimmed frame. A (fake) bonnet slip vent, wide outer intakes and new wheel designs borrowed from the RS5 Sportback round off the exterior changes.

The interior picks up Audi’s latest infotainment system which replaces the previous click-wheel one with a slightly larger touchscreen sat atop the dashboard.

If there is one caveat to the somewhat disappointing lack of changes to this latest RS4 Avant, word has it that Audi Sport is not quite finished with it yet. In a similar vein to the new RS6 Avant and RS7, we get the feeling that an even more potent, and potentially electrified flagship version, will soon arrive

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