By: IOL Motoring Staff
Ingolstadt, Germany - Twenty years ago, Audi rattled a lot of cages with the RS2 Avant - a station wagon with the performance of a sports car. Developed in collaboration with Porsche, it had a 232kW turbocharged 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine - derived from the quattro rally car - that revved to 7200rpm, launched Audi's family rocketship to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds and topped out at 262km/h.
Initially, it was only available in a special colour called Nogaro Blue, in honour of Frank Biela's double win at the Nogaro circuit in the 1993 French Touring Car series.
Now Audi is launching a special edition of the current model; the RS4 Avant Nogaro selection will premiere at the Geneva motor show in March, again with special paint and exclusive features.
The royal blue pearlescent finish is its strongest visual signal, complemented by gloss black grille surround, window slot trims, and dual oval tailpipe trims, as well as matte black roof rails.
In an era of downsized, force-fed engines, the RS4 rejoices in a naturally-aspirated, big-inch V8 - all 4163 cubic centimetres of it, delivering 331kW at a thundering 8250 revs, backed by 430Nm from 4000 to 6000rpm.
OK, you pay for it; the best it will do is 10.7 litres per 100km, and you'd have to be a professional featherfoot to achieve that with any consistency, but with 0-100 in just 4.7 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 280km/h, it's worth it.
The standard seven-speed S tronic transmission can operate automatically, or by hand, via the selector lever or the steering wheel paddles - but, as in all quattro models, the RS4 is defined by its self-locking crown gear centre differential.
It distributes torque at a default ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axles, with as much as 70 percent to the front wheels or 85 percent to the rear wheels as required.
Also available as options are an active rear differential and dynamic steering that varies the steering ratio depending on speed and gently countersteers at the limit, as well as RS sport suspension plus with mechanical ride control, andThe RS4 Avant Nogaro selection rolls on gloss-turned 20” V-spoked rims shod with 265/30 rubber, over red-painted brake callipers
bearing the RS emblem and internally vented and cross drilled discs; carbon fibre-ceramic front brake discs are an extra-cost option..
BLACK AND BLUE: THE INTERIOR
Audi offers two upholstery versions for the electrically adjustable S sport seats with integrated head restraints. In both cases, the side bolstered are trimmed in black Valcona leather; the Alcantara synthetic suede centre panels and door trim inserts are either black or nogaro blue, while the armrests are covered in black leather with blue contrast stitching, and either black or blue piping frames the black floor mats.
The steering-wheel rim and gear-selector gaiter are also trimmed in black leather with blue stitching, and blue threads run through the carbon-fibre inlays to lend them a very special shimmer, while a special badge on the gear selector and logos on the door sill trims remind you of the special status of this €87 300 (R1.3 million) anniversary special.
Sadly, none of the Nogaro selection has been allocated to South Africa, but you can order a standard RS4 in the special blue paint, while most of the special features (except the badges, of course) are available to order as factory options.