The Audi RS4 has a new face but no more performance

03rd October 2019
Bob Murray

It is 25 years since the world got its first truly sporting estate: the Audi RS2 Avant. Developed in conjunction with Porsche, the turbocharged five-cylinder, all-wheel-drive wagon blended five doors and 1,200 litres of boot with 311bhp and 0-62 in 5.4 seconds on its way to a 162mph top speed. Even today it sounds tasty.

No surprise then that it has proven to be an enduring formula, spawning four generations of fast wagons, since 1999 all badged RS4 to tie in with the rest of the A4 family. The RS4 has long being the top-seller in the whole RS line-up and is hailed by Audi Sport as among the best ideas it’s ever had. Now, there’s a new one.


Well, at least a facelifted one. It’s essentially the same as the latest-gen version launched two years ago but with a redesigned front end featuring all the latest RS design cues (take a look at the all-new RS6) for what amounts to a more muscular and distinctive look. Thank the new frameless grille, in gloss black honeycomb, and bigger wheelarch extensions for that. Overall it’s more aggressive but still with plenty of subtlety.


The other main change is inside where the infotainment gets a boost with a new operating system and new RS-specific displays. Multi-colour LED ambient lighting is available and the navigation is said to be improved. It also gets features like the RS mode button on the steering wheel that are now appearing in other RS models, such as the recently unveiled Q3 RS.


Otherwise it’s fast estate business as usual, with the twin turbo 2.9-litre V6 pumping out an unchanged 444bhp with 599Nm (442lb ft) of pulling power, enough for 174mph and 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds – all with room (1,495 litres) in the back for the dog, the pushchair, the flatpack furniture…

In that practicality respect, this latest version of a performance pioneer hasn’t changed in 25 years. Another thing hasn’t changed either: you can get the new one in pearl effect Nogaro Blue, just like you could in 1994…

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