Audi wagon fans rejoice – the Audi RS4 Avant is back! The fourth generation of Ingolstadt’s sports car-baiting small estate is built on the bones of the latest B9 A4 and gets all the goodness of the RS5 coupé in a much more practical package.

This does means that we must bid farewell to the venerable 4.2 litre naturally-aspirated V8 in the past two RS4s, as an all-new 2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V6 usurps its place under the bonnet. Although the 450 hp power figure is exactly the same as before, torque is now up by a whopping 170 Nm at 600 Nm, and that wall of twist starts from 1,900 rpm and goes all the way to 5,000 rpm.

Also gone is the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, replaced by an eight-speed automatic. As usual, there’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive, and buyers can also specify an optional sport rear differential. Performance figures include a zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of 4.1 seconds and an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed, which can be raised to 280 km/h with the RS dynamic package.

Under the skin, the RS sport suspension has been dropped some seven millimetres compared to a regular A4 with the sport suspension fitted, which itself is 23 mm lower than standard. You can also get your RS4 with the optional RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control dampers, as well as carbon ceramic brakes and dynamic steering specifically tuned for this application.

To look the part, the RS4 has been bulked up, with the extra muscle apparent in the box wheel arch flares that are 30 mm wider. At the front, gaping air intakes take inspiration from the 90 quattro IMSA GTO racer and flank the signature singleframe grille, as do smoked versions of the A4’s optional Matrix LED headlights.

The aggressive look continues at the rear of the car, where you’ll find a tailgate spoiler and a large diffuser incorporating massive twin oval exhaust exits. The RS4 rides on 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, and there are 20-inch forged aluminium rollers in the options list – on which you can also tick the box for Nogaro blue pearl effect paint that harks back to the original 1999 RS4.

Inside, there are sports seats with optional honeycomb quilting, a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel and unique displays in the optional Audi virtual cockpit for g-forces, tyre pressures and torque. The RS emblem peppers the seats, steering wheel, gearlever and illuminated door sill scuff plates, while the decorative trim panels can be had in gloss black, carbon fibre or aluminium.