Is This JonSibal Render the Face of the New RS 4? Evidence Suggests It Just May Be.
byon 02-09-2012 at 08:29 AM (9581 Views)
Just after we'd announced the winner this of our RS 4 Render Contest , well-known render artist Jon Sibal stepped up with a very interesting shot... similar to his version 2 above and the only artist to add in the box-style flares of the RS 5. Alas, Jon was too late to get in on the competition for the prize, but we think everyone would agree his work is top notch and win-worthy. Then Jon sent us a curve ball, a different take (seen above) and based on some evidence from a mysterious source. Now this is most interesting.
Since doing his render, Jon was sent the above image and several more. The collection of shots, viewable on his blog via the link below, depicts what look like they might be production RS 4 bumpers and were from a known source of ours as well who is notorious for finding interesting backchannel media on the internet.
Jon looked the shots over and rather deftly mimicked the look in his second render, seen at the top. We've also looked them over and done some quick sleuthing. So what's our take?
Frankly, we wish we had an RS 5 bumper to use as comparison. The images show the bumpers from both the fascia side and the inner side, so you can see how they're assembled. With ugly dirty hardwood flooring as a backdrop and the word "auto-plast" watermarked on the shots, these are clearly not taken in some clean and sterile Audi factory or design studio.
We googled "Auto-Plast" and came up with any number of hits. One was a component supplier in Northern Europe that could be credible as they list work for Porsche that we found on our quick perusal of their site. Another was a plastic component manufacturer in India and yet another was an accessories company in Eastern Europe. Of course there were countless more and we weren't able to find this watermark in any other images that we could then trace. Knowing the source would be helpful.
These are not top quality photos, but from what we can tell the finishes don't look production... but they could be prototype. The rear valance doesn't seem to fit in a way we've experienced on the B8 S4 and the exhaust tips seem moulded in... which is odd. We were ready to chalk these up as a seriously impressive on the part of the aftermarket, but a few critical things nag at that theory and suggest legitimacy.
First, if you were an aftermarket company, why do a B7 facelift body kit. Understanding the OE+ trend there's no doubt that owners would flock to a kit that made their A4 look like an RS 4 and with OEM-looking details like grilles and inserts. Still, this component is clearly for the B8 facelift and if we were going to invest our money in such a kit we'd think it would be a safer move to do an early B8 kit more consistent with known RS design language. There'd be more of a market for that.
In the end, how we draw our conclusion is based on the test mules. We've got numerous RS 4 spy photos from the Nurburgring with B8 facelift shots in the mix (the car with white psychadelic wrap. Something that's always bothered us about the spy pics is how much smaller those frowning intakes are than the ones on the RS 5. If Sibal's render and those mysterious bumper shots are accurate, this would explain the bumper masking on the Nurburgring test mules. If the Audi Design Team were about to implement a change in the RS face, no doubt they'd want to hide it until it's revealed. Those outer openings likely don't effect airflow anyway so they could be hidden. And for the record, spy shots of the RS 6 show similar smaller mouths and hidden sections, suggesting the face will consistently go across all new RS cars.
If this is the case, then Audi's choice to not do new language on the RS 5 is an odd one. With the A5 and A4 facelifts timed closely together, you have to wondeer why they didn't do a similar change on the RS 5.
Make sure to check out Jon Sibal's blog via the link below. Jon's got all of the mysterious bumper pics that you can investigate for yourself. He's also got two renders of the RS 4, one with a look like the RS 5 and one with the new face as seen in the grainy bumper shots.