The third-generation RS4 Avant has officially been released today by Audi ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2012 and after four pictures were leaked yesterday.

The Audi RS4 Avant uses the same high-revving, normally aspirated V8 engine that powers the RS5 Coupe. The 4,163 cc powerplant produces 450hp at 8,250 rpm for a specific output of 108.1hp per liter. Its maximum torque of 430Nm is available from 4,000 to 6,000rpm. The V8 with its red-painted cylinder head covers accelerates the RS4 Avant from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 250km/h. This can be increased to 280km/h upon request.

Like every RS model from Audi, the RS 4 Avant comes standard with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The heart of this system is the crown-gear center differential. The self-locking crown-gear center differential works together with the torque vectoring system, which acts on all four wheels.

The chassis of the Audi RS4 Avant is a very complex design. Many components of the five-link front suspension and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminum. The new speed-dependent power steering is an electromechanical system with a direct steering ratio.

The taut RS setup lowers the body by 20 millimeters compared with the Audi A4 Avant. New, polished 19 inch, ten-spoke forged aluminum wheels shod with 265/35-series tires are standard. Audi also offers 20 inch wheels with 265/30-series tires. These are available in a new, polished, titanium-look, five-V-spoke design plus two additional variants in the five-arm rotor design.

Mounted behind the large wheels are internally vented wave disc brakes measuring 365 millimeters in diameter up front. The calipers are painted high-gloss black; the front calipers have eight pistons each and sport RS logos. The ESP stabilization system has a Sport mode and can be fully deactivated. For the front axle, Audi offers the option of 380 millimeter carbon fiber ceramic discs and six-piston calipers in anthracite gray.

The Audi RS 4 Avant is 20 millimeters longer and 24 millimeters wider than the A4 Avant, but 20 millimeters lower. A choice of eight colors is available: one solid and one metallic finish, four pearl-effect colors and the two specially pigmented crystal-effect colors, Prism Silver and Panther Black.

The interior of the RS4 Avant is clad completely in black, with the exception of the roofliner, which is optionally available in Moon Silver. Carbon inlays are standard, with brushed matte aluminum, Aluminum Race, black piano finish or a light stainless steel mesh available as options.

The standard heated front sport seats with integrated headrests are power adjustable and covered in a combination of black leather and Alcantara. Fine Nappa leather in either Black or Moon Silver accentuated with Stone Gray piping is optionally available. Other options include bucket seats or luxurious, climate-controlled deluxe seats with a ventilation function. The thick ring of the leather multifunction sport steering wheel is flattened at the bottom, and the shift paddles mounted on the back of it sport an aluminum-look finish.

Delivery of the Audi RS4 Avant is scheduled to begin in fall 2012 at a base price of € 76,600 in Germany.

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