Next-Gen Audi RS4 Will Unleash Turbo Six, Importation Still in Question

2013 Audi RS4 Avant

Under German watch and Europe’s hyper-aggressive emissions laws, there’s no encore for naturally aspirated V-8s revving to kingdom come. As we witness Mercedes-Benz AMG euthanizing its big-bore 6.2-liter V-8, and BMW M GmbH replace the old M3’s 4.0-liter V-8 with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six, we must ask: what of Audi? Sadly, it too is swapping its free-breathing eight-cylinder for a forced-induction six-cylinder in some applications.

We’ve learned from deep within Audi that the next RS4 will trade its 450-hp, 4.2-liter V-8—the same mad mill as found in the RS5—for a turbocharged V-6. While plucking the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 from Audi’s armada of S cars would seem the most logical choice, Quattro GmbH is instead shifting focus to turbos for its RS-branded models. We suspect Audi will affix a pair of turbochargers to the six-cylinder, which would allow the brand to trump the 430 horsepower of BMW’s new M4 and M3. Whether Audi will bring the RS4 or its new turbo six-cylinder to America is still undetermined.

This wouldn’t be the first time Quattro gave its RS4 a turbo six. During the 2000 and 2001 model years, Audi released an RS4 Avant with a 375-hp, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 tuned by Cosworth, but only for Europe.

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First Drive: 2013 Audi RS4 Avant

Audi knows the 4.2-liter V-8’s instant throttle response and 8500-rpm redline are huge selling points to simply throw away, but the brand’s been in the process replacing V-8s with V-6s for some time. The S4, S5, and A6 all were available with eight-cylinder power as recently as 2011. We haven’t missed those eight-cylinders as much as we’ve enjoyed the improved fuel economy and greater low-end torque from the new blown sixes. So long as Quattro maintains the RS4’s crackling exhaust, there won’t be time for a eulogy.

2013 Audi RS4 Avant

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