Europeans still love high-performance station wagons, and they buy them in sufficient numbers to justify continued investment for automakers in both developing and updating them.
After two years of sales the RS4 Avant has been given an aggressive facelift that makes us even sadder that it doesn’t find its way over the Atlantic.
Mechanically the RS4 is unchanged, using the same engine and transmission from the RS5 that we do get: a Porsche-developed turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 that produces 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
As with all fast Audis, drive is delivered to all four corners through an all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
A sports differential capable of biasing torque across the rear axle to sharpen responses is also optional. Audi claims a 4.1-second zero-to-62-mph time and a limited 155-mph top speed.
European buyers will be able to extend that to a more lenient 174 mph with an optional RS Dynamic package.
Visual alterations are most obvious at the front of the car, with the RS4 getting a new grille, bumpers, and lower splitter, incorporating the gap under the leading edge of the hood that Audi seems determined to turn into its new design thing.
The grille has also lost the previous RS4’s chrome surround, and the LED headlights can now be specified with dark bezels.
As before, the RS4 has wider wheel arches to accommodate the car’s broader track, being 2.4 inches wider than the regular A4 Avant.
Inside the cabin, the RS4 Avant has been given a new version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system, incorporating both a 10.1-inch touchscreen and a new touch-sensitive control pad in place of the previous rotary controller.
Onboard navigation incorporates what is termed car-to-X, allowing equipped cars to share data with each other on traffic conditions or even accidents.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument pack also offers the option of an RS-specific display to relay data including engine power and torque, acceleration measurements, and g-force.
The new RS4 will cost the equivalent of $89,060 in Germany and will be shown for the first time this weekend, at the last round of the DTM Touring Car Championship at the Hockenheimring. It will go on sale in Europe in December.