Car & Driver's resident German insider Jens Meiners has published his monthly report from the continent and we're concerned about one of his assertions. If Meiners' assertion is correct, the new B8 RS 4 program has been killed in the wake of Audi's decision to build a next-generation RS 6. It's assumed the RS 6 will be powered by a more potent version of the new 4.0 TFSI already seen in the S6. That engine is already tuned to greater levels in the S8 and the same is expected when it appears in the Bentley Continental on the Crewe's Geneva Motor Show stand this spring.
But what of the RS 4? This is a major concern for Audi performance fans. Read below for our take.
We're in a state of disbelief until we grill our own sources on the subject. Taking the stance that we believe the RS 4 Avant is still on isn't that much of a stretch. Why? Read on.
At least two evolutions of RS 4 Avant test mules have been spied testing at Nurburgring. The one you see above had heavy camo because the shot was taken before the facelifted A4 was revealed. Earlier pre-facelift B8 RS 4s have also been seen testing though and with decidedly subtler appearance. Check out our gallery linked below to see our full collections of B8 RS 4 renders and spy photos.
There's been a bit of confusion about the RS 4. Many assume a sedan will materialize though that was never in the cards. The RS 5 was always seen as a replacement to the sedan and largely because the USA is a big part of the business plan on the 4-door. The US went for the more performance car market friendly body style of the RS 5 and that left the RS 4 sedan in a bit of a dead end.
Meiners' story also states "... the RS 5 has been deemed sufficient to take care of the RS 4's clientele", which makes us wonder if Meiners and his source at Audi didn't have a communication breakdown, the source talking about the sedan and Meiners assuming this meant RS 4 in general. Meiners is usually a reliable source but we know we've made similar incorrect assumptions with our own factory sources at times. It happens.
Finally, we're falling back on what we've heard from our own sources albeit before the publishing of the C&D piece by Meiners on the 17th (linked below). Our sources have indicated the RS 4 Avant is still very much on for Europe. The viability of an RS 4 Avant for America was even discussed in front of us by senior Audi of America and quattro GmbH executives last year in Detroit. We know they've looked into it though the on-again-off-again status of the car appears to be off again for the States. Run away sales success of the RS 3 killed that car's chances in America and likely the only chance we'll see the RS 4 Avant come to America is if it doesn't sell as briskly.
And in case there's any question, the B8 RS 4 Avant would not make use of the new 4.0 TFSI... even as much as enthusiasts would love to see this. A board level source told us back during the RS 5 gestation phase that there wasn't a business case for developing a separate powertrain between RS 4 and RS 5. Further, we'd later been told there wasn't a case for changing the powertrain in the mid-life product improvement applied to the A4 and A5 lineups. When the RS 4 comes, it will have the same 450-hp 4.2 FSI and S-tronic with crown gear setup as the RS 5.
Read the Car & Driver Report and see our photo gallery of B8 RS 4 spy photos and renders via the jumps below.
Full Story - Car & Driver Reports RS 4 Project is Dead
Photo Gallery - B8 RS 4 Spy Photos and Renders