Audi’s New Performance Wagon Looks to Set A Standard

Europe has a history of creating small luxury high performance wagons, mostly of the German variety.  Many of these high revving and unassuming masters of the Bavarian streets only make it over to North America in the form of on screen appearances in suspenseful chase scenes, ala films such as The Bourne Identity or Run Lola Run.  It looks like the utilitarian yet smoothly appealing machine pictured above, the 2012 Audi RS 4 Avant, may be fated to the same destiny, at least for those of us in the Phoenix Valley area and the rest of North America.

The 2012 Audi RS 4 Avant comes equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 with output up around 450 horsepower with 320 pound-feet of torque, allowing the all-wheel-drive super sled to hit 60 mph in around 4.5 seconds and top out at 175 mph.  While not exactly a Bugatti, these specs still make for one heck of a performance machine.  A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is likely standard as is the Dynamic Ride Control suspension and a ride height that’s been dropped around two inches.

The exterior design flaunts the athletic character of the RS 4 Avant. The hexagonal single-frame grille is set in a frame with a matte aluminum-look finish; its honeycomb insert is finished in high-gloss anthracite. LED daytime running lights encircle the xenon plus units like a clasp in the wedge-shaped headlights. The air flows through large openings divided by crossbars and embedded in a distinctive bumper featuring a splitter edge like on a race car.
When viewed from the side, the chiseled side sill caps and flared wheel wells catch the eye. The flared rear side elements with sharp horizontal upper edges are a nod to that all-wheel drive pioneer from 1980, the Audi quattro. The side mirror housings and trim strips have a matte aluminum-look finish, and a discrete roof spoiler at the back ensures the necessary downforce.

The distinctive bumpers and the two oval tailpipe caps of the dual exhaust system dominate the rear end and are integrated into an upturned diffuser. Audi also offers a sport exhaust system with a voluminous sound and black caps. Elegant light strips adorn the LED rear lights.

The interior of the RS 4 Avant is clad completely in black, with the exception of the roofliner, which is optionally available in Moon Silver. Chrome clasps subtly accentuate switches and control elements. Carbon inlays are standard, with brushed matte aluminum, Aluminum Race, black piano finish or a light stainless steel mesh available as options. The standard heated front sport seats with integrated headrests are power adjustable and covered in a combination of black leather and Alcantara.

Right now production plans for the new RS 4 Avant have the manufacturing taking place in Hungary, with distribution limited to Europe.  It is likely however that if Audi sees that the RS 4 Avant has a good chance at being a viable and competitive car for the US market, then we could be seeing a North American model on Phoenix Valley showroom floors with the next two or three years.  Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts can view and test drive and current production model Audi at their local Phoenix Valley Audi dealer.

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