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It’s been three years since Audi’s RS4 went MIA from Ingolstadt’s line-up. Be thankful for today then, because it has now returned in an attempt to take its rivals back to school. Welcome the new Audi RS4 Avant.

Yes, it’s launching in estate guise first, and like its RS5 Coupe sibling, gets Audi’s hand-built 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. That means 444bhp and 317lb ft of torque being fed through Audi’s quattro system; a system with a self-locking crown-gear centre differential capable of attributing up to 70 per cent of the power up front, or as much as 85 to the rear. Audi has configured the new RS4 Avant to have a 40:60 rear-biased setup for some sideways hoonery, which sounds promising. We’re just hopeful that the RS4’s new power steering system and cross-linked dampers will improve the RS5’s occasionally nuggety ride and steering.

See more pics of the new Audi RS4 Avant

Anyway, Audi claims a 0-62mph sprint of just 4.7 seconds and a derestricted top speed of 174mph, along with a claimed 25.7mpg. The whole car sits 20mm lower than the standard A4 estate on 19in forged aluminium alloys (20in are optional, naturally), that don’t really hide 365mm lightweight, vented ‘wave’ disc brakes with six-piston calipers. Sufficient stopping power to unsettle items of confectionary you may have stored in the rear.

The standard-fit Audi drive select varies the seven-speed ‘box and throttle valves through three modes, as well as altering the sound of the exhaust. Good. Inside you’ll find a black interior with carbon inlays and brushed matte aluminium, heated front sports seats, driver information system with colour display - including an RS menu with lap timer - and, naturally, the mind-boggling complement of Audi’s options list.

Prices are yet to be confirmed for the UK, but for the time being, why not entertain us with your musings on the Return Of The RS4. Still the ultimate Q-car?

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