Vital Stats

4.2L V8
444 HP / 317 LB-FT
7-Speed S-tronic
0-60 Time:
4.7 Sec (62 mph)
Top Speed:
155 MPH (limited)
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,123 LBS
17.3 / 50.5 CU-FT
21.98 (combined)
The Only RS4 We Need (And Won't Get)

This is the B8 generation of the Audi A4 and, as with any A4 generation, there's no small wagon quite as scintillating as an RS4 Avant. The U.S. has never been gifted with this heavy hauler, and that is just one of life's many injustices. Even with the previous B7 generation that Audi pushed hard to popularize worldwide, the stunning Avant never came to the U.S. In fact, the only wagon we'll be getting for some time from Audi is the A4 Allroad, which feels like a token consolation prize.

This all seems an odd choice by Ingolstadt since the U.S. was quite a good market for the last RS4, but there's rationalization in the air. Audi is building the RS4 only in the Avant variation, while it's sticking coupe-wise with the RS5, then later adding an RS5 convertible. So we'll still get our fair share of Rennsport in two-door form.

But if you studied your Audi-ology, the small RS Avant is where it's at.
2012 Audi RS4 Avant side view2012 Audi RS4 Avant side view2012 Audi RS4 Avant rear view

This Avant feels tremendously more happy being pushed around than any of the previous RS4s.

We were allowed onto the precious Red Bull Ring in bucolic Austria for many laps in the now 444-horsepower (was 414-hp through 2008) third-gen RS4 Avant. The company's familiar 4.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 still produces 317 pound-feet between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. Though this new draggin' wagon weighs 187 pounds more than last generation's already hefty model, a new crown-gear center differential with torque vectoring (introduced with the current RS5), its 40:60 default torque split, added horsepower at the still-glorious 8,250-rpm peak and improved options that pep up the steering and dynamics make this Avant feel tremendously more happy being pushed around than any of the previous RS4s.

In our jobs as testers, we've frankly been driving an inordinate number of single- and bi-turbocharged sporting cars lately, not enough supercharged ones, and only the occasional singing naturally aspirated road rod. So it was great to rev this car's free-breathing eight-cylinder along the straights and turns of a track well suited to the densely packed Quattro sausage, ever moreso because our last experience in the B7 RS4 Avant was on a thoroughly inappropriate obstacle-course type "track" marked by cones that we felt like killing. It succeeded only in showing how inappropriate any RS car is on a DMV motorcycle circuit.

2012 Audi RS4 Avant engine

It really is sad that there's no six-speed manual to go with the longitudinally mounted FSI V8.

Having said that, the Red Bull Ring is artfully simple but not an especially long circuit. As a consequence, we never engaged anything beyond fourth gear of the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox. Right out of the pits, though, we were free to rev for as long as we pleased. This engine begs for it and dropping below 3,500 rpm only reveals the clunky side of the S-tronic tranny, as well as the fact that for everyday use at low revs, you may as well buy an S4 Avant or even a top trim A4 Avant with the attractive S-line look and larger wheels. That will save you oodles of dough in the process.

It really is sad that there's no six-speed manual transmission available to go with the longitudinally mounted FSI V8 and "true" Torsen form of quattro. We were begging for it at several moments, but the S-tronic performs at its very best with the naturally aspirated ingredient and accompanying high revs. Downshifts are much more readily conceded through the left shift paddle here versus any lower-redline turbocharged setup that refuses our downshift whims oh so frequently. In the end, we definitely adapted. The slight left and uphill dogleg section right out of the pits was the place to gun it most, and shifts right at 8,200 rpm were perfectly rewarding.

2012 Audi RS4 Avant interior2012 Audi RS4 Avant front seats2012 Audi RS4 Avant rear seats2012 Audi RS4 Avant rear cargo area

We're envisioning a little sport wagon with the biggish price of around $70,000 USD.

The RS4 Avant also did extremely well in the few hard bends we encountered. With plenty of track width to use and a resultant better line to and through, the heavy little Avant (4,123 pounds) let itself go to great effect. Admittedly, the test car used here had every bell and whistle aboard to make all of this even more possible – optional variable ratio dynamic steering, sport suspension Plus with hydraulic dynamic ride control, rear sport differential and the added carbon ceramic brake discs with six-piston calipers. Add all of this to a car that would already start at around $70,000 and we're envisioning a little sport wagon with the as-loaded price of around $85,000. Zing-o!

But let's just selectively choose not to listen to that financial argument for a moment because this car kicks and hauls a lot of ass. This is also a chief reason why people in general are so passionate about the Audi A4 Avant Quattro: They just want the danged thing so bad and the setup is slick beyond reproach. The RS4 Avant presents myriad reasons not to buy it for the majority of folks not interested in throwing their monies at a deep, dark niche. But for those who let their lust outweigh their reason...

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2012 Audi RS4 Avant

Acceleration from 0 miles per hour up to 60 mph would easily happen in 4.4 seconds with the Audi Drive Select interface set to Dynamic all around. The Torsen-based crown-gear Quattro system is also much improved over the dull neutrality of the previous generation, so you actually have some say in the line the car takes when calculating curves at hot speeds, not to mention nudging its tush out just like you planned in your head.

This multi-windowed speedster needs all of those options mentioned already, and that can make us angry. How come, on an RS trim car, we have to pay extra for the added 57 pounds of the rear sport differential? This is the marketing department feeling overly cocky about their perfection of the options list mystique. C'mon, Audi, if we're committing to an RS relationship, give us the damned whole hog in the base price.

2012 Audi RS4 Avant rear 3/4 view

Passionate U.S. customers "get" these Euro specials arguably moreso than the home crowd.

The standard 19-inch Continental ContiSportContact tires – 265/35ZR19 98Y – showed little wear and tear to the shoulders of rubber after a full day of use on the track. If you want an undue beating at any cost, go for the optional 20-inch setup. (But trust us, the 19s are way better.) As if Audi knew the good Contis weren't providing quite enough of a sports car tune in their infrequent squealing, there is the Boysen-engineered optional sports exhaust, which was also aboard our car and what a tune it doth provide. (Check out the track video above for some sense of it.)

So, no, we're not getting it in the U.S., which is sad because passionate U.S. customers "get" these Euro specials arguably moreso than the home crowd. And you could justify bringing it here, too, since this engine on the new chassis improves fuel efficiency and emissions by some 26 percent over the B7 generation. Sure it's bloody costly, but just think of the trees you'll save!

At least we get the entire same powertrain/chassis in our RS5 body variants.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once again autoblog completely fails with guesstimates in exchange rates. They made the same horrible pricing exchange with the RS5. They said it would be priced around 85-90k but yet it starts at around 67k. This car isnt coming to the US and it did it sure as he|| would not be priced at 90K.......... I mean give me a break if you actually believe that.
      • 2 Years Ago
      80k base price? When was this article written? A4 based models are always cheaper than A5 based models. In Europe, the RS5 costs 2-3k more than this new RS4 Avant. The RS5 starts at $68,900 in the states....if the RS4 Avant were sold here I think it would start at $66k (right where the old RS4 started), and top out in the high 70's. Seriously, good work on the shoddy price estimations again.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seeing how the RS5 starts under 70K in the US, I fail to see where the 95K estimate comes from.
      • 2 Years Ago
      the issue is autoblog doesn't learn, they are converting the euro price straight into dollars and that doesn't happen in reality the RS5 costs around 65000$ which is the same the RS4 would cost if it was sold in the states, and it should be cheaper than the RS5 as coupe vehicles are more expensive than their 4 doors counter parts. Seriously autoblog don't put a price on a car it wont be sold in the states and if you DO at least put the EURO price and never do a straight conversion, because most people doesn't seem to grasp the concept of price in the US and what the rest of the world has to pay for cars
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ridiculous....Mercedes offers the E63 AMG Wagon here in the USA by special order. Why won't Audi do that for this???
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks good, but given the option I think an RS3 would be just as practical, more efficient, and cheaper. But I don't have a choice. I live in the US.
        • 2 Years Ago
        If I could get any RS model in the US I would go for the RSQ5 with the twin turbo diesel or the RS3.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This makes the sedan look vanilla and I'd buy one in a second. Thanks Audi.
      • 2 Years Ago
      this stupid price compare between Euro price (including stupid high taxes) with tax free US prices is anoying... Audi RS5 US price $68,900 = 55,817Euro (without tax) Audi RS5 German price 78,200Euro = $96,529 (including 19% tax) Audi RS4 Avant German price 76,600Ero = $94,554 (including 19%tax) The RS4 Avant is cheaper than the RS5 in Germany and will it for sure in the US of A too... the RS4 will cost +/- $1000 around $66,00- 67,000 in the USA
      joe shmoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      sexyass wagon. Who needs a cuv when you can have something like an a4 wagon, with equal or better cargo space compared to a bmw x1, better mpg, better looking. I just don't get why women choose those tall, poorly handling cuv's
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joe shmoe
        Because there is no need for a 400+hp wagon for running around town like wagons are meant for. I bet you cant even tow anything with it....nor can one even go on a gravel road for fear of damaging the thousands of $ tires and wheel combo. This is useless.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy crap! First the Auto Union Type D and now the the RS4 Avant!?!?!?! All in the same day??? I think I just soiled my drawers... I love the E63 wagon but it's too big -- the RS4 is perfect size. And I'm huge CTS-V fan but I would think that the RS4 is a better "all around" car especially with the Quattro. No denying the value of the CTS-V wagon...
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        How is something best at being "all around" when it is pathetic at reliability? Especially when the Small Block in the the CTS is half as complicated and twice as reliable.
      Tamoor Chaudhry
      • 2 Years Ago
      It wouldn't cost 95K if brought to the US, more like 60-65K.
      • 2 Years Ago
      No shame autoblog, no shame. You guys are auto journalists. I can't believe you guys would quote European price and directly put it to dollars. That's just insane and i know you guys know it, so why do it?
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