The visual changes are concentrated on the front end. The RS 4 loses its predecessor's bling and instead goes for a chrome-less look inspired by racing. The grille is now lower, wider, and it's separated from the hood by a thin air vent inspired by the Quattro coupe that dominated the rallying scene during the 1980s. The nip-and-tuck extends to the headlights and to the air vents.
The front passengers face an updated infotainment system displayed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen. It's essentially a single screen version of the MMI Touch Response technology found in bigger models, like the A6 and the Q8. RS-specific graphics set the RS 4 Avant apart from the A4 and S4 variants.
Audi left the engine untouched. Power still comes from a 2.9-liter V6 that's twin-turbocharged to deliver 450 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The latter figure is available from 1,900 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm. Bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the six-cylinder sends the RS 4 Avant from zero to 62 mph in a brisk 4.1 seconds, and on to a 174-mph top speed when buyers select the RS Dynamic package. Quattro all-wheel drive — a staple of high-performance Audi wagons since the original, 100-based S4 was released in 1991 — comes standard.
The 2020 Audi RS 4 Avant is already on sale in select European countries. Pricing starts at 81,400 euros, a sum that converts to nearly $89,000. Deliveries will begin before the end of 2019, but don't expect the RS 4 to join the bigger RS 6 Avant in American showrooms. Autoblog learned from an Audi representative that there are no plans to sell the smaller long-roof hot-rod in the United States.
The RS 4 makes its debut in the wake of the fourth-generation RS 6 Avant, the second-generation RS 7 Sportback, and two variants of the RS Q3, neither of which are America-bound. Audi Sport promised us six cars in 2019, so it still has one slot to fill. We expect it's being reserved for the RS Q8 due out in the coming months