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Oh Audi, you’re not fooling anybody with that S4 badge. The German carmakers have been caught out this week by the eagle-eyed spotters of the Internet.  You may glance at the photo and think oh, the S4 out for a drive. But you’d be wrong. Those extended wheelarches tell us that this is in fact, despite the S4 badge, the early test drive of the new Audi RS4 Avant.

Although this prototype won’t be the official body design when they begin production, it’s a good idea of what to expect from the RS4. And expectations are currently all we have. We can get an idea from the A4 and the S4 what the performance numbers and prices might be, I’ll give you a clue: higher, but at this time it’s all speculation.

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It’s believed that the RS4 will have the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine used by the 2016 S4, but is expected to achieve somewhere around 470bhp.  This push in power over the S4 is said to be down to an extra turbo blower, with some sources suggesting that an added electric-based turbocharger could also boost performance levels. This type of hybrid engine is the direction the auto industry is heading in, so it is certainly a plausible thought.

The high performance led RS4 has been spotted just days after the fifth-gen A4 range has reached dealers. This could mean production will be much quicker than the previous A4, which saw the RS version launched four years after it was first released. Audi say that customer demand for the performance versions has sped up delivery and by the looks of these spy shots, we can see why the public want the RS4 sooner.

The previous Audi RS4 (2012) - will the new model remain true to the traditional design?

The previous Audi RS4 (2012) – will the new model remain true to the traditional design?

Believed to be available at some point in 2016, it’s likely that the RS4 will reach showrooms towards the end of the year and be a 2017-MY vehicle. It’s yet to be announced whether a Saloon or Sedan variant will join the Avant, but it’s safe to assume Audi will add another RS4 model or two to the line-up.

Official pricing and performance figures won’t be announced for some time, but we’ll keep you posted.

 

 

Image credit:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/2016-audi-rs4-first-spy-pictures-show-avant-testing