"The RS4 is our icon", said Winkelmann. The original B5 was too heavy of foot and devoid of any real involvement to be considered a great, leading to quattro GmbH (as it was back then) to come out fighting with the B7 successor, the V8-engined wagon defining the sector to become a legend in enthusiast circles. This makes it 0.6 of a second quicker than the 331kW V8 predecessor.
Further helping the new RS4 in the handling stakes is a drop in weight.
The new RS4 also weighs 80 kilograms less than the auto it replaces. The damping is so much cleaner, crisper and better suited, too, that there is more to recommend about an A4 and S4 than its quality, looks and impeccable interior quality.
The new RS4 can be ordered from the autumn onwards with pricing starting in Europe at 79,800 euros - expect a United Kingdom price and spec soon. The 2018 RS 4 also comes with a 7-mm (0.3-in) lower RS sports suspension and Audi drive select as standard, while a rear sport differential is available as an option. The Audi patented Matrix headlights are also offered as an optional extra. There are 19-inch forged aluminium wheels, with 20-inch rims optional, as well as an RS diffuser and the very big oval exhausts familiar from before.
Keen to make us forget that the new RS 4 no longer packs a V8, Audi Sport says it's 17-percent more efficient than the old model, averaging 8.8 l/100 km (26.7 mpg US) with corresponding Carbon dioxide emissions of 199 g/km.
Gone is the old 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 of the previous generation.
The power of the 2.9 TFSI biturbo is supplied to the permanent all-wheel drive via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission with optimised ratios. An RS sport suspension plus package is available as an option, adding dynamic dampers, ceramic brakes, and RS-specific dynamic steering.
Inside, there are RS sport seats, a flat bottomed RS multi-function steering wheel, unique RS shift gate trim and illuminated RS door sill trims.