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450-horsepower 2018 Audi RS4 Avant is a quattro powerhouse

In the mid-1990s, Audi first introduced an “RS” nomenclature vehicle. Developed together with Porsche, the 315-horsepower RS 2 Avant was a wagon-shaped ballistic missile with its five-pot turbo engine. As a follow-up five years later, Audi had to up the cylinder count to a V6 when it produced the RS4 Avant out of the B5 A4 generation. With a biturbo engine, the horsepower count rose to 375, which was an incredible number for a production wagon in the late ’90s.

There have been RS4 models built since, including the naturally aspirated, V8-engined B7 generation from 2006-2008, but slightly mental turbo monster power has always been the RS4’s true calling. In Frankfurt today, Audi introduced the latest addition to the bloodline — with 450 horsepower. Knowingly, the manufacturer chose a vivid blue for the new model’s introductory color, harking back to nearly 20 years ago when the first RS4 was introduced; some details have been designed with the 90 IMSA GTO quattro in mind, according to Audi.

The new car’s impressive power figure is achieved by a 2.9 TFSI V6 biturbo engine, with peak torque of 442 pound feet, available from 1,900 rpm to 5,000. 62 mph is hit in just 4.1 seconds; initially, the top speed is limited to 155 mph. If you’re the kind of Autobahn-storming customer who cannot settle for that, an optional RS Dynamic package is available, increasing the top speed to 174 mph. But it’s not all about more and more — the new model is 176 pounds lighter than the outgoing RS4 Avant, and it’s 17 percent more fuel efficient, averaging 26.7 mpg.

In addition to the stock quattro all-wheel-drive setup, Audi also offers an optional sport rear differential. The transmission is a “sportily configured” eight-speed Tiptronic automatic.

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