For anyone who has been suffering from withdrawal symptoms owing to the lack of the revered V8 engines presence in the Audi A4 range of late, fear not - the all-new version of Audis RS4 uber-Avant is set to herald the powerplants return.
This time, the RS4 will only be available in Avant guise, which isnt a bad thing by any means as the Avant has always been widely loved by the hordes of RS4 fans the world over. The third generation RS4 Avant will continue the wonderful amalgam of relatively reserved and business-like looks with awesome power on tap when required.
The tried and tested, naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 engine will put out a typically impressive 450PS, will be capable of shooting from 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and will return a comparatively economical 25.7mpg on the combined cycle. You can even specify your RS4 Avant with a limited speed of 174mph, up from the standard 155mph convention.
Not only is the engine a masterpiece in this third generation RS4 so is the gearbox, it being a seven-speed, dual clutch S-tronic transmission which works mightily efficiently to result in both lightning quick gear changes and also improved fuel economy.
Permanent Quattro all-wheel drive is of course an important part of the equation as ever, and the 2012 RS4 will feature an advanced, compact and lightweight crown-gear centre differential, for the rapid and smooth shifting of power between the front (up to 70%) and rear (up to 85%) axles, working in conjunction with a torque vectoring system for improved braking and skid prevention. A sport differential will be available as an option. So the RS4 lives on as a highly advanced machine, to say the least.
Aesthetically, the new RS4 Avant doesnt look a million miles away from a sporty S-Line spec car in the grand scheme of things, especially in more conservative, darker colours - but the beady eyed will hone in on the tell-tale polished 19-inch alloys, the 20mm lower stance, a modest number of RS4 badges dotted around the car, the beefy ceramic brakes and callipers and one or two other giveaway signs such as the gaping exhausts. But the RS4 Avant remains understated.
Inside, owners of the new RS4 will want for nothing, with exclusive honeycomb quilting being available for the bucket seats, along with an array of technology including internet connectivity and Google Earth sat nav mapping in addition to the customarily high quality audio system and general internal opulence.
Even your dog will be left grinning, with up to 1,430 litres of luggage space available to laze around in when its not being slammed against the rear window by the sheer speed of the acceleration. Not to be outsmarted by other manufacturers, Audi has ensured that the new RS4 comes with flexible load-securing straps, handles and other practical gubbins in the boot, which itself can be operated electronically at the touch of a button.
If youre already chomping at the bit to put your name down for one, Audi havent released finalised pricing, specifications and dates for the RS4 Avant in the UK yet - but deliveries are likely to be in late summer or early autumn, with prices almost certainly nudging 60,000 which many aspiring owners will say is worth every penny. Me for one, I know I want one! I better start saving