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A little more RS4

No-show: RS4 Cabrio won't be made available here.

Two more RS-branded Audis turn up - but the cabrio won't be coming Down Under

26 May 2006

HOT on the heels of the Australian launch of Audi’s RS4 performance sedan, the German manufacturer has revealed a station wagon and cabriolet version.

The $168,100 Avant will join the sedan in October, however, a lack of customer demand for the convertible, which is likely to be priced close to $200,000, has prevented Audi Australia from introducing the full range of RS4s Down Under.

As with the sedan, the two new models will feature a high-revving 4163cc direct-injection V8 engine delivering 309kW of power at 7800rpm and 430Nm of torque at 5500rpm (90 per cent of which is available from 2250rpm to 7600rpm). Redline is set at 8250rpm.

All four wheels are driven via a short-travel six-speed manual gearbox and the latest-generation quattro permanent four-wheel drive, the latter featuring an asymmetric/dynamic torque split of 40:60 (front/rear) axle in conjunction with a Torsen self-locking centre differential.

Audi claims that the Avant and cabriolet can both reach 100km/h from standstill in 4.9 seconds – a 10th of a second behind the sedan, which at 1650kg is lighter than both the 1710kg wagon and 1845kg cabrio. All three versions are speed-governed to 250km/h.

The quattro system complements Audi’s DRC (Dynamic Ride Control) suspension system, which reduces rolling and pitching, while the steering has been tuned for more direct response. The suspension is set 30mm lower than a regular A4, and both front and rear tracks are wider.

All RS4s also get improved brakes, with the large 18-inch system ensuring optimum stopping power. The cross-drilled, inner-vented brake discs are 365mm in diameter at the front and 324mm at the rear. Flow-optimised ventilation geometry incorporating Naca jets on the underfloor of the car ensures first-class brake cooling under all conditions.

While both cabriolet and Avant get the same general exterior treatment, including additional front air inlets, flared wheel arches, flared side sills, a rear apron with twin oval tailpipes and specific alloy wheels, the wagon version also adds a subtle and functional rear roof spoiler.

7 center imageThe Avant (left) adds to its functional nature with a versatile load area that combines clever detailing –such as the smooth-surfaced, bulge-free inner side panels – a safety net for restraining small items and a low rear lip to facilitate easy loading.

Folding down the split-fold rear seat creates an almost-level load area. A luggage cover and load guard are contained in a foldaway housing.

Inside, the cabriolet version sacrifices the wagon and sedan’s RS bucket seats in favour of less hardcore but more easily lived-with leather-trimmed “sports” seats.

The cabrio’s power-operated roof opens in a quick 21 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 30 km/h. Audi claims the roof is also acoustically designed to set new standards for soft-tops, using new, higher-density materials and a cushion around the C-pillar that reduce noise levels close to those of the sedan model.

The cabriolet features standard front and side airbags, as well as rollover bars behind the rear seats.

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