Audi released images of the suped-up, esoteric station wagon it is selling only across the pond, seemingly to show Americans what they're missing. It's almost like Audi is punishing us for our SUV favoritism.
The Audi RS 4 Avant is a wagon that counts high performance and handling along with cargo capacity as tools you can use to run the carpool more efficiently. Under the hood is a hand-built 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 450 horsepower, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The vehicle averages 21 mpg based on Audi's estimates using European test cycles.
It boasts a zero to 60 mph time of 4.7 seconds and features launch control, which manages clutch engagement for optimum starting speed and minimum wheel slip. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, but as an option, you can request to have speed control lifted and top out at 174 mph for those Sunday drives on the autobahn.
Three drive settings are available to suit your preferences: comfort, auto, and dynamic. The settings determine the characteristics of the steering, the transmission, and the throttle. And it even sets the driving tone by varying the sound of the exhaust system. Dynamic steering provides improved driving precision by changing the steering ratio depending on the vehicle's speed, and automatically countersteers slightly at the cornering limit. Permanent quattro all-wheel-drive makes sure that power is distributed where you need it most, and can transfer up to 70 percent to the front wheels, and up to 85 percent in the rears.
But it's not just a bigger tuned engine that sets this wagon apart from the typical A4 Avant. Set on either 19- or 20-inch wheels, the RS 4 Avant rides almost an inch lower, is an inch wider, and a smidge longer. The metal grille is swapped for a more subdued matte aluminum finish. Seats are available in a range of luxury leather options, including bucket racing seats. Important for any active family will be the ski-passthrough in the second row seats.
The Audi RS 4 Avant will go on sale next fall in Germany. The asking price is around $100,700, which seems like a lot for a station wagon. But it doesn't really matter what it costs because it's not for sale it in the states.