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New Audi RS4 revealed, returns to V6 power

444bhp, 176mph RS4 Avant reminds us there’s nothing as cool as a hot estate

Now in its fourth-generation, the Audi RS4 is a legend in the world of unfeasibly fast dog-friendly vehicles. This new version, revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, appears to only bolster that reputation. Despite dropping a couple of cylinders, its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 gains power and torque (444bhp and 443lb ft) to dispatch 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 176mph with the optional RS Dynamic package fitted.

From the outside, you’re unlikely to mistake it for a 2.0 TDI: wheel arches widened by 300mm front and back, optional 20in wheels and a pair of wide-boy oval pipes make sure of that. The exterior colour – Nogaro Blue – is a nod to a shade used on the first-generation car.

The rest of the powertrain is as per RS5, so eight-speed auto and an optional rear sport differential. Standard suspension drops the car 7mm lower than a cooking A4 on sports suspension, while adaptive dampers, ceramic brakes and variable ratio steering are all found on the options list. An overall kerbweight of 1,790kg is 80kg less than its predecessor, and if you drive like a saint it’ll use 17 per cent less fuel.

Inside you get all the usual RS touchpoints, including sports seats to hold your behind firmly in place, a flat-bottom steering wheel and black, lots and lots of black. Illuminated door sills and RS-specific graphics for the virtual cockpit instrument cluster add the razzle dazzle.

It all sounds and looks rather splendid on paper, but there’s an issue. The RS5 with which it shares much of its oily bits also promised a lot and delivered very little. In fact, we’d go as far to say it’s our most disappointing car so far of 2017. We can only hope the RS4 turns the tide.

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