Limited edition Audi RS 4 Avant harks back to the original and is swansong for this generation

The next new RS 4 Avant might be electric...

It’s been 25 years since the first Audi RS 4 Avant was launched in 1999 and to celebrate, the German firm has released a special edition version of the current car. It’s sure to interest fans of the four-ringed brand, but the bad news is that it’s likely to be the final combustion-engined RS 4 ever.

The ‘RS 4 Avant edition 25 years’ – as it’s catchily titled – is available in striking Imola Yellow as a homage to one of the colour options of the original RS4 Avant, while under the skin there are mechanical tweaks to the engine and running gear to enhance the car’s performance.

More power, more speed

Power comes from the same 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 that’s found in the standard RS 4 Avant, but tweaks to the car’s electronics and the addition of a sports exhaust have helped to extract an extra 20bhp for a maximum of 464bhp.

Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years

Maximum torque remains unchanged at 443lb ft, but reprogrammed electronics for the eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox mean there are faster shifts, and the edition 25 years trims four tenths of a second off the standard car’s 0-62mph sprint time, setting the benchmark in 3.7 seconds. The RS 4’s top speed is still electronically limited to an ample 186mph.

Spare set of wheels and tyres included

As well as breathing on the engine, Audi Sport’s engineers have tinkered with the RS 4’s suspension. The edition 25 years features a high-spec ‘coilover’ set-up that reduces the car’s ride height by 10mm over the standard RS 4, while a set of tools are included that allows owners to lower it manually by another 10mm.

Audi RS 4 Avant edition 25 years

As well as the new dampers, Audi has added stiffer front control arms and two degrees of negative camber to the front wheels, while at the rear is a more rigid subframe. There are 20in forged alloy wheels taken from the RS 4 Avant Competition, as well, and they’re fitted with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. Also included are a set of matt-black alloys featuring track-biased P Zero Trofeo RS semi-slicks, further emphasising this special edition’s sporty character.

Other colours are available

The visual updates to the RS 4 edition 25 years start with the Imola Yellow paint (although grey and black alternatives are available) and also include the removal of the roof rails for a smoother look plus a matte-carbon finish for the door mirror housings and bumper inserts front and rear. Lastly, the Audi logos on the nose and tail are finished in gloss black, the door trims receive the same finish, and there are dark tinted rear windows and ‘RS 4 edition 25 years’ engraving on the rearmost windows.

Inside, the cabin features plenty of racy additions, including sports seats and carbon-fibre detailing, while yellow stitching is added to the seats, steering wheel and gear lever. There are more yellow highlights on the dashboard, while Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instruments feature a special black-on-white mode for the dials, in a homage to the first high-performance Audi estate, the RS2 Avant.

The RS 4 edition 25 years will be limited to 250 examples across Europe, with 50 confirmed for the UK market, each costing £115,880 on the road. As well as this special RS 4 Avant, the engine and coilover suspension upgrades will be offered on a new RS 5 Sportback performance edition, which goes on sale at the same time. Only 10 of those will come to the UK.

RS 4 history

While the RS2 Avant kicked off Audi’s high-performance estate cars, the RS4 that arrived in 1999 turned things up a notch. It came with a 261bhp 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 developed by British motorsport firm Cosworth and featured a six-speed manual gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. Around 6,000 RS4 Avants were built between 1999 and 2001.

The RS 4 returned in 2006 (this time with a space between RS and the number, a style that Audi introduced with the 2002 RS 6), powered by a naturally aspirated 414bhp 4.2-litre V8 that would later be used in the R8 sports car. Unlike past RS 4s, this generation was offered as a saloon and a convertible as well as an Avant estate. As with its predecessor, quattro four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox were fitted. This RS 4 lasted until 2008.

The next RS 4 Avant arrived in 2012 with the same 4.2-litre V8, but now with 444bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds, while a seven-speed auto was fitted as standard. The current RS 4 Avant has been on sale since 2017 and is set to be the final incarnation of Audi’s fast combustion-engined estate, because the company is rearranging its line-up so that its even-numbered models are electric. That means the next generation of the current model will be called the RS 5 Avant.

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