Should Audi Bring the RS 4 Avant to North America?
Although the term “wagon” has become somewhat of an automotive slur, Audi could successfully bring the RS 4 Avant to North America.
Home movies from the 1960s through the 1980s almost always feature a station wagon. This term was used for the massive people haulers that preceded the minivan explosion of the 1980s. Once minivans arrived, station wagons began to fade away. As the market moved toward crossover SUVs, wagons were gone for good. These movements away from station wagons have left us using this term as more of an insult in the automotive world than anything else.
Audi already brought us one wagon
Most would never think a wagon, even one as sporty as the RS 6 Avant, would be a success in the United States. Audi brought 2,000 units of this sporty, performance wagon, and it sold out quickly. The RS 6 Avant offered something that most drivers craved but couldn’t get in other models. This car is powered by a strong twin-turbocharged V8 engine, making it a high-powered sports wagon that was something new, special, and impressive. With the success of the RS 6 Avant, the question becomes about whether or not a smaller version could have the same success.
Could the RS 4 Avant be destined for American shores?
Although Audi has been coy about whether or not the RS 4 Avant is coming to the United States, it seems that plans are already in the works for this to happen. This smaller Audi wagon uses a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Although reports have swirled that this model should arrive in the U.S. soon, other reports show that Audi has pulled back and won’t bring the RS 4 Avant.
It might be the wrong time for this wagon
Although the RS 6 Avant was a hit, at least the 2,000 models initially brought sold out, it’s been four years since that first batch arrived, and times have changed. A performance wagon with the strong V6 engine might not last very long, considering the automotive market is moving toward more electrification with hybrid and EV models. The window for the smaller RS 5 Avant might be closed and isn’t likely to be reopened to allow a gas-powered luxury wagon a place in the market, even one that is only sold in small numbers.
Could we have an electric Audi wagon in the United States?
Just because the Audi RS 4 Avant might not make its way to our shores doesn’t mean we won’t ever see another Audi wagon. The brand is already working on an all-electric version of the RS 6 Avant. This could be the EV performance wagon we want to see. Another possibility is the sportback version of the RS 3, which is also essentially a wagon. This would easily be a car that many driving enthusiasts want to step in and enjoy out on the road.
Should Audi expect high-volume sales from the wagons?
The Avant performance models have never been volume models from this luxury brand. Instead, these are low-volume, specialty vehicles that have everything required to make the wagon body style cool again. Americans tend to gravitate more toward SUVs and trucks, but when you stuff a performance-oriented drivetrain in a small wagon, we pay attention. The Avant models are the perfect blend of practicality and sportiness to offer some amazing driving experiences on the road.
Why would the Audi wagons do well in America?
The Audi RS 4 Avant might represent a vehicle that we aren’t allowed to have in the United States. Bring a few over, and, as we saw with the RS 6, we tend to gobble them up. Of course, this permission-based situation doesn’t mean we expect to continually buy performance wagons. There’s a small market of consumers looking for these vehicles. If Audi includes the interior qualities this brand is well-known for and develops the electric powertrains that provide ample performance and fun on the road, these wagons could be a hit.
Will we ever see a time when wagons are accepted in the United States again? Maybe we won’t ever go back to the term “station wagon,” but sportback, shooting brake, and Avant names used to replace wagon as the descriptor are a great way to hide the fact that these performance luxury models are actually wagons.
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