To be available internationally in the second quarter of 2018, the new model builds on the developments brought to the RS5 Coupe earlier this year with the adoption of a turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine jointly developed by Audi and Porsche.
With 450hp and 600Nm, the new unit delivers the same amount of power but a significant 169Nm more torque than the third-generation RS4 Avant’s naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 petrol powerplant.
It is also a considerable 96hp and 100Nm more than that delivered by the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 used by the latest S4 Avant.
The new engine is combined with a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and a quattro four-wheel-drive system to provide the new RS4 Avant with a claimed 0-100kph time of 4.1sec –approximately 0.6sec quicker than its predecessor.
Top speed is nominally limited to 250kph, though buyers can order the new Audi Sport model with an optional RS dynamic package that raises it to 280kph.
Setting the new RS4 Avant apart from the S4 Avant is a series of unique design touches Audi Sport says were inspired by the detailing of the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO race car.
They include a deep new front bumper featuring large air vents, both left and right, as well as a smaller aperture underneath the new car’s reworked single frame grille and pronounced blisters over the front wheel arches.
On the side, the RS4 receives new exterior mirror housings and beefed-up sills underneath the doors. In addition, there are widened rear fenders featuring even more pronounced blisters over the rear wheel arches than those seen up front and small vents mimicking the look of those up front alongside the outer edges of the LED tail-lights.
At the rear, there's a spoiler atop the tailgate as well as a reprofiled bumper housing a substantial diffuser element and a pair of large oval tailpipes finished in black.
A standard RS sport suspension lowers the ride height by 7mm over the standard A4 Avant. Options include a dynamic ride control system with adaptive damping, RS-specific steering, and carbon ceramic brake discs.
Inside, there are RS sport seats, a flat-bottomed RS multifunction steering wheel, unique RS shift gate trim and illuminated RS door sill trims. Standard specification also includes RS-specific digital instruments, a head-up display and displays for G-force, tyre pressure and torque.
Also see: 2017 Frankfurt motor show image gallery