Our spies were on location once again to grab on camera a prototype of the 2017 Audi RS4 Avant.

When a car manufacturer puts a roll cage and Recaro bucket seats on one of its prototypes, you know for sure that car is about to be put through its paces. That’s what happened with this RS4 Avant spotted earlier this week with the production body at the Nürburgring where Audi’s test drivers where pushing it to the max. The testing went well as opposed to the 2017 TT RS prototype which also spent some time at the ‘Ring a few days ago, until it crashed.

Getting back to the RS4 Avant, we know for sure it will eschew the naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 engine and will embrace turbocharging. It will likely use the 3.0-liter V6 from the S4, but word on the street says in this new application the engine will adopt two electrically-driven turbochargers. Details concerning output are murky at this point, but some are saying the engine could push out as much as 480 horsepower (353 kilowatts).

Maybe it won’t have so much power, but with the RS3 Sedan bound to get 400 hp, you can expect the RS4 to pack a lot more punch to create a considerable gap between the two. The transmission remains a mystery at this point, although the RS4 is believed to get an eight-speed automatic sourced from the RS6 and RS7. Needless to say, like all of the other RS models, the new RS4 will be offered exclusively with an all-wheel-drive quattro system.

While the attached images show a prototype of the wagon, Audi has already announced the new RS4 will also be offered as a sedan to please everyone. With the folks from Ingolstadt saying the RS4 will come “relatively early” in the A4’s life cycle, maybe we will see both body styles in the first half of 2017.

In terms of design, the prototype already shows a much more aggressive and wider body compared to the warm S4, along with the RS-spec oval exhaust tips and beefier air intakes. That roll cage won’t obviously make it to the production car, but we do expect the 2018 RS4 Sedan & Avant to have a sportier cabin compared to the S4s.

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