2018 Audi RS 4 test mule spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Audi’s new A4 arrives in showrooms next spring, in standard and sporty S4 variants. Not long after, however, we’ll also see the high-performance RS 4 join the fold. And the best part is that the car will almost certainly be offered in the United States this time around, since Audi has decided to stop being silly and offer both an RS 4 sedan and RS 4 Avant wagon with the new generation (the current RS 4 came as a wagon only).
Engineers were recently spotted out and about in an S4 Avant wagon that’s likely to be an early test mule for the new RS 4. If you look closely, you’ll notice the vehicle is sporting some makeshift wheel arch extensions. This suggests it is running a wider track. The vehicle has also been fitted with the extra wide wheels and tires used on the current RS 4.
While the current RS 4 is powered by a high-revving 4.2-liter V-8 good for 450 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, the new one is expected to go the downsizing route and adopt a turbocharged V-6. Despite the lower cylinder count, peak output should be on the rise. Something in the vicinity of 475 hp is likely. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive system will complete the drivetrain package.
Additional performance gains should come from the lightweight construction of the MLB Evo platform that underpins the new A4 range. Thanks to additional weight-saving mods, such as the use of carbon fiber, we could see the new RS 4 come in lighter than the 3,600 pounds of the S4.
An unveiling is expected to take place as early as next year, marking a change in strategy for RS models where their arrival has typically been much later in the vehicle life cycle. Stay tuned for updates in the meantime.