Audi keeps the hits rolling
Audi RS4 Avant
What is it? The Audi RS4 Avant is one MSN's favorites, and now there's an all-new version of the V8 super estate. With a hand-built engine, quattro 4-wheel drive and the most sophisticated chassis management system imaginable, the RS4 is bang on target.
What's hot? The 4.2-liter V8 engine now punches out 450 horsepower, compared with 420 horses in the previous version, and is now allied to a 7-speed S tronic transmission rather than a manual box. Chiseled sill extensions and flared wheel arches give the RS4 Avant a formidable physique.
What's not? No matter which way you cut it, the Audi RS4 Avant has to suffer in the weight department. That V8 and the quattro drive pile on the pounds, so the dynamics will be more drive-by-wire than seat of the pants.
How much and when? Cars arrive in the U.K. in September; no word on North America. Prices aren't available yet.
Anything else I need to know? The 450-horsepower V8 in the RS is a hearty beast that will take you to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds; there's launch control to get you off the line efficiently. Economy is said to be 25.7 mpg, though we take that with a pinch of salt.
Audi A6 Allroad
What is it? The A6 Allroad is a pumped-up version of the A6 Avant quattro, with taller suspension and lots of macho underbody protection — perfect for those who need to make the occasional off-road sortie in luxury.
What's hot? The Allroad formula is well-tried and finds a small but enthusiastic audience. Engines are all V6 with plenty of power. Interiors are luxurious.
What's not? The new A6 Allroad doesn't really move the game on much, and despite the sheer sophistication of the chassis, with its air suspension, there are plenty of tasty SUV rivals.
How much and when? The Audi A6 Allroad starts at $68,000 and will arrive late this summer.
Anything else I need to know? Every A6 Allroad engine is a 3.0-liter V6. The gas-powered TFSI makes 306 horsepower and propels the vehicle to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds. Fuel economy is 31.7 mpg.