In-depth reviews

Audi RS4 Avant review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights

Porsche-sourced twin-turbo V6 effective, but can be a tad flat

Evo rating
from £61,625
  • Deftly tuned suspension, linear steering, desirability
  • Powertrain lacks punch and character, rivals sharper, harder and faster

Along with this generation of RS4 came a new 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, co-developed with Porsche. Aside from its implementation in the RS4 and RS5, this specific V6 is also found in Porsche’s Cayenne S and Panamera S, as well as the updated Macan Turbo. Whereas the previous V8 was connected to a dual-clutch transmission, this RS4 makes do with an eight-speed torque-converter automatic.

Power is sent to all four wheels via the usual Quattro all-wheel-drive system, split mechanically 40:60 front-rear, although either axle can actively receive more depending on the available grip levels. All UK cars get a Sport Differential, which is able to mechanically vector torque across the rear axle. Suspension is of coil springs with adaptive dampers as standard, although Vorsprung models also feature Audi Sport’s Dynamic Ride Control system, which utilises a set of four hydraulically cross-linked dampers for increased support under hard cornering. 

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Audi’s dynamic steering is also included in the top-spec Vorsprung models, swapping the standard progressive EPAS rack for a speed-variable rack that varies the amount of turns lock-to-lock depending on the road speed.

Of course, the big technical difference between the RS4 and other A4 models is the bespoke body that’s 24mm wider in the RS4. To achieve this, the entire body-in-white is unique to the RS4, with only the bonnet, roof, front doors and tailgate shared with lesser models. This is a huge investment for a model with relatively low-volume production, but has become a trademark of Audi’s RS4 since the first B5-generation car in 1999.

Filling those arches are wider tracks front and rear, and the enlarged wheel and tyre packages, as well as larger composite brakes or an optional carbon-ceramic set.

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