20 February 2008

Avant a fast one

Audi's new A4 estate gets us all excited about the RS4 Avant

Audi A4 Avant

As soon as we saw the new Audi A4 Avant, just one thought went through our heads - one very predictable but inescapable thought: RS4 Avant.

Because, as everyone knows, fast Audi estates are cool. And although the RS6 Avant we tested just a few weeks ago might be just that bit too big and - whisper it - too fast, you just know that the RS4 Avant will be spaniel-gratingly brilliant.

But that's a long way away yet. The old RS4 has only been retired, and Audi doesn't tend to introduce RS variants for a couple of years.

So in the meantime, here's the new A4 Avant. As you'd expect from Audi, it's a pleasantly no-nonsense affair, with a whacking great boot - at 1,430 litres with the rear seats down, that's 46 litres bigger than the current 3-Series Touring, making it the biggest boot in the class - and a wide, easy-access loading area.

Five engines will be available at launch, ranging from the 1.8-litre TFSI petrol and two-litre turbodiesel units up to the 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine, which will hit 60mph in 6.4 seconds before topping out at an electronically limited 155mph. No word on a V8 S4 Avant yet, though.

Although prices are yet to be confirmed, Audi says the Avant will command a £1,200 premium over the equivalent saloon. If you need an A4 Avant in your life, the order book opens in early March.

Otherwise, just picture some big blistered arches, a deeper front spoiler, massive alloys and a little 'RS4' badge on the back. It's our happy place.

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