Audi likes to keep it somewhat subtle when it comes to designing RS-badged vehicles, and seeing as how the new S4 Avant looks like, it’s not really hard to imagine the beefier RS4. It won’t exactly be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but at the same time it will not look as menacing as you would expect from a wagon with close to 500 hp.

Speaking of power, word on the street says the next iteration of Audi’s beefy wagon will have somewhere in the region of 480 hp, give or take a few ponies. Former technical director Dr Ulrich Hackenberg did say in 2015 the new RS4 won’t be able to match the 510-hp output of the C63 S since the Mercedes-AMG model “has eight cylinders.”

Output will not be delivered by the naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 engine of the previous RS4 since the next generation is embracing the downsizing trend and will adopt a smaller turbocharged unit. It will likely be the turbo-six 3.0-liter from the S4, but probably with a second turbocharger or perhaps with an electric compressor as seen in the SQ7.

If you are not a big fan of wagons, you’ll be happy to hear Audi has plans to bring back the RS4 Sedan. Even better, the second body style will be available right away. Former quattro boss Heinz Hollerweger said almost a year ago the new RS4 will arrive “relatively early in the production cycle,” so expect the high-powered dynamic duo to see the light of day in 2017 and be followed shortly by the RS5 Coupe which has already been spied as a test mule.

Attached below is a batch of spy photos showing a test mule of the upcoming RS4 Avant. Notice the fat wheels, RS-only oval exhaust tips, chunky brakes, and larger vents.

Gallery: 2017 Audi RS4 Avant spy photo

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