Draggin’ wagon: Audi mulling bringing 450hp RS4 Avant to the US?

Audi RS4 Avant front 3/4Audi unveiled the 450 horsepower RS4 Avant at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, but so far it’s been a no-go for the wagon-averse United States. That may be changing, though. The forum QuattroWorld published photos of an RS4 that appeared this past Saturday at a Virginia Cars and Coffee meet not far from Audi’s U.S. headquarters.

The car that showed up at the Virginia gathering with its bulging fenders and copious “RS” badges, wore a Michigan “M” plate, designating it as a manufacturer-owned test vehicle. The car was reportedly a German-spec production model RS4.

Why get so excited over a station wagon? The RS4 Avant is essentially a wagon version of the ballistic RS5 coupe Audi just launched in the U.S. That means it packs a 4.2-liter V8 with the aforementioned 450 horses, plus 317 pound-feet of torque. Backing the engine is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. Audi’s trademark quattro all-wheel drive gets a bonus torque-vectoring rear differential for more precise control on twisty roads.

The result is an unbelievably fast car with room for 2x4s. European-spec RS4s top out at an electronically-limited 155 mph, or 174 mph if owners pay extra to have the limiter raised. The RS4 can sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) in less than five seconds.

The RS models are Audi’s answer to BMW’s M, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, and Cadillac’s V performance sub-brands. In the past Audi, deliberately built the RS4 as a wagon only to avoid direct competition with the heavy hitters from BMW and Mercedes. But if the current RS4 Avant makes it to the US, it will have a direct competitor of its own: the Cadillac CTS-V wagon.

The CTS-V packs 556 hp, does 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 185 mph. However, the two cars are very different in character. From its trick transmission and all-wheel drive system to its bevy of driver aids, the RS4 brandishes technology to get the job done. The CTS-V is hairy-chested, with a manual transmission (or optional automatic) and rear-wheel drive.Audi RS4 Avant rear three-quarter

A fight against the CTS-V should reason enough for American enthusiasts to pine for the RS4 Avant, but it would also help establish the RS brand in the U.S. Right now, the Lord of the Rings only has the RS5 and TT RS, while Mercedes has a full line of AMG models and BMW has the more practical M3 and M5. Audi’s current line of “S” models (S4, S5, S6, S7, S8) are a little softer than the beasts from Bavaria.

Will the RS4 really make it to the States? Audi does have a habit of launching performance models in Europe first, then waiting to bring them to the U.S. The RS5 launched over there in 2010, but it wasn’t imported over here until this year. Audi could be following the same pattern with the RS4, or it could just be teasing people who live near its headquarters. Stay tuned.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.