By KBB.com Editors
The Audi RS4 is the German automaker's latest and most dramatic effort, especially in the U.S. market, to establish vehicles designed and built by its quattro GmbH tuning subsidiary as the pinnacle of Audi performance and exclusivity. The goal is to have the RS logo worn by quattro machines inspire the same soul-stirring and heart-pumping reaction that an AMG or M Series badge does on respective Mercedes or BMW vehicles. The limited-production, high-tech RS4 with its four-door sports car attitude fits perfectly with Audi's marketing philosophy that a commitment to racing and high performance will impress and attract more buyers to the regular production series of A4 models.
The RS4 is the best of both worlds for anyone who is turned on by the guttural sound and performance of a highly tuned V8 muscle car, but also demands the sophisticated agility of a European sport sedan. All-wheel drive satisfies those who live in four-season climate zones and crave a high performance sport sedan that does not have to hibernate during snowy winters.
The RS4 is definitely for the hardcore driving enthusiast willing to put up with a stiffer ride, snug fitting sports seats and an engine that can, when provoked, sing louder than the stereo. Those who prefer looking sporty while riding pretty will be better served by the S4 or an A4 with S trim package.
While the 340-horsepower S4 continues to be the performance king of the regular production series A4 lineup, the limited-production RS4 significantly ups the ante (and the price) with exclusive upgrades to the engine, brakes and suspension, along with unique bodywork draped over a wider front and rear track. As for its primary competition, the RS4 bests the current six-cylinder BMW M3 by offering two more doors, four-wheel as opposed to two-wheel drive and two more cylinders in an engine that puts out 87 more horsepower.
Driving Impressions The RS4 is one of the best handling carswith either two or four doorswe have driven recently. The DRC suspension, which controls pitch and roll via fluid transfer between diagonally...connected dampers that share a central reservoir, makes the RS4 feel incredibly balanced no matter the speed or road conditions. At the same time, the ride, though firm, remains comfortable enough to not rattle your teeth. The combination of DRC and a sport-tuned all-wheel-drive system produces an incredible level of cornering grip that, in concert with the responsive and communicative steering, allows the driver to place the RS4 exactly where desired, and the big disc brakes provide confident and impressive stopping power. The growl and responsiveness of the V8, however, is more like an American muscle car. Pushing the dash-mounted "S" button invokes the Sport Mode for an even louder exhaust note and an even more responsive throttle responsethe latter best suited for the track. Audi claims acceleration for zero to 60 miles per hour of 4.8 seconds, but that seems conservative.
4.2-Liter FSI V8 Engine
The heart of the RS4 is the high-revving 420-horsepower V8. It responds instantly to any degree of accelerator pedal pressure in any part of its wide-ranging operating band. Adding to the rush of instant acceleration is an exhaust note that ranges from a low growl to a high-pitched wail as the engine works toward its redline at 8,250 rpm.
Dynamic Ride Control (DRC)
The simple, but extremely effective, Dynamic Ride Control works better than many electronically adjustable suspension setups in adapting to changing road conditions. It provides a firm ride that never seems to get caught out by dips, potholes or other irregularities in road surface. The result is a car that responds with a high degree of precision in practically all driving situations.
Carbon fiber, aluminum and leather dominate the interior, with the steering wheel, shift knob and emergency brake handle covered in leather with grippy perforations. Thickly-bolstered Recaro sports seats, supportive but a bit snug, are covered in luxurious Nappa hide with embossed RS4 logos in the upper backrest. The pedals, including a substantial-sized left footrest, feature aluminum accents. A stopwatch with lap timer function has been added to the standard full-color LCD display panel that dominates the center stack.Exterior
The RS4 pushes the already-aggressive stance of regular production Audis, with boldly contoured fender flares draped over seven-spoke 19-inch wheels that have been stretched even farther apart by 1.5 inches in front and 1.9 inches in the rear over the S4. To save weight, the new front fenders and hood are aluminum. Flared lower side sills enhance the effect of the 1.2-inch lower suspension height, the rear deck lid incorporates a spoiler lip that flows into the rear fender contours and aluminum-colored side mirrors are mounted on twin stalk pedestals. Up front, the grille opening is basic black honeycomb discretely accented with narrow silver bright-work.
The list of standard equipment for the RS4 reflects its position as a showcase for the ultimate Audi driving experience. Performance is emphasized by the drivetrain that includes a 420-horsepower 4.2-liter V8, six-speed manual transmission and permanent all-wheel drive featuring a torsen center differential with a 40/60 torque split front-to-rear under normal conditions. Other features include a 1.2-inch lower ride height, Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) suspension, 19 x 9.0-inch alloy wheels with 255/35 tires, 14.4-inch, two-piece, cross-drilled rotors with eight-piston calipers up front and 12.8-inch cross-drilled rotors with single-piston calipers at the rear, with the brakes cooled from NACA ducts located in the undertray. The standard equipment list includes dual-zone climate control, a 10-speaker audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability, multi-function steering wheel controls, 12-way power adjustable leather Recaro sports seats with memory, heated windshield and headlamp washers, heated exterior side mirrors, Parktronic rear parking sensors, power glass sunroof and five-function trip computer with lap timer. The safety items include dual-stage driver and front-seat passenger front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, automatic self-leveling Bi-Xenon headlamps, and adaptive front lighting that pivots with the steering at certain speeds.
Since the RS4 is marketed as an exclusive vehicle tailored for luxury sport sedan driving enthusiasts, the list of options is a short one. A Premium Package includes a DVD-based navigation system, Bose premium sound, HomeLink, SIRIUS or XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth phone preparation and heated rear seats. Rear seat side airbags are a stand-alone option. No-charge options allow for deletion of the sunroof and substituting brushed aluminum for the carbon fiber interior trim.
The RS4 is powered by a high-performance, normally-aspirated version of the 4.2-liter V8 used in the A6, A8, and Q7. The four-valve, all-aluminum engine features FSI direct gasoline injection and a compression ratio of 12.5 to 1. It delivers a maximum of 317 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, with 90 percent of this torque available between 2,250 and 7,600 rpm, and makes 420 horsepower at 7,800 rpm. It thus achieves the traditional high performance target of 100 horsepower per liter, and gives the RS4 a weight-to-power ratio of just 10.6 pounds per horsepower.
420 horsepower @ 7800 rpm
317 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14 /21
By mera on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "8,200 RPM V8. Enough said"
Cons: "Maintenance is off the chart - bad quality parts."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have read many reviews and watched countless videos of B7 and B8 RS4. I went and bought a used B7 RS4 recently - 2007. I wanted to list quick pros and cons of what I experienced and learned: Pros: - Drop dead gorgeous car, flared fenders and wheels combination. - 8,200 RPM not only turns you on every time, but makes you love the car every time. - Steering/handling is awesome. It's great and very enjoyable in stock form. Cons - Sits very high- almost as high as a Camry. Look at a stock one yourself. - Very over-hyped. Yes they are amazing. But not when you have to spend serious amounts of money at each maintenance interval - belts, axles, brakes, transmission and engine mounts. Yes, there is a sensor in engine mounts. Get ready to spend some serious dinero. - Carbon cleaning has to be done every 20k miles. This is not a Ferrari or Audi R8 or Aventador where I should have to take my car into maintenance for $800 every 20k miles. Of course, gaskets, manifold arm flaps and many other items come into play at the same time. - This is a rare car. So dealerships never carry parts for it. If you need anything, it always has to be ordered leaving your car useless for days at the dealership. Even if they overnight it, it still takes too long. - Not many can work on it. I took my car to two dealerships (Audi) and they told me bluntly that this is not an everyday car and they would have to consult with someone in Germany. I almost lost my footing. - For a car with 420 HP, it sure isn't as fast as cars with 420 HP. An S4 with few bolt-ons becomes just as fast as this - I tested this at a 3.5 mile grand prix track. And they are half the cost. No A4 or S4 will give you a rush like this, but this thing requires constant maintenance where A4/S4 don't. Shoot me but I said it and I owned S4 before this. This is my third Audi and fourth German in the house. - MRC shocks go bad and then hope that you don't have to pay arm and a leg for it. - Stock clutch has a problem. Look up transmission clutch issues on B7 RS4. Stock LUK clutch/flywheel combo goes bad after x number of miles based on driving patterns. Lads, this is a 8,200 RPM beast. Why did Audi screw up by using cheap parts? So if you are looking to buy a B7 RS4, make sure it will shift gears above 7,500 rpm from 2nd to 3rd and so on. Also, due to this issue, many RS4s are plagued with Transmission synchro issues - another $1,000 just in parts. Folks, if you weren't a religious man before this car, you will become one after owning it. This shouldn't be a Kanye West / Kim Kardashian marriage where you have to pay to stay married to it. Just my .02c"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By b on Saturday, December 17, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine, sound, 4 wheel drive"
Cons: "Gas mileage, rear seat room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I wish I could keep it forever, but at some point, the maintenance will likely get ugly. Overall, this car is unmatched for the money. I've had an e46 m3 and driven many 911s and m5s, but the overall package of this car is unbeatable. My m3 was more fun on the track, but I'm not on the track 99.9 percent of the time. All weather stability, the best sound you can ask for, and a big high revving v8 is sublime. I would highly recommend."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Billy on Monday, October 31, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acceleration, Quattro traction, Exhaust, Safety"
Cons: "Limited leg room in the back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The RS4 is very responsive and powerful yet it can be driven year round in Colorado. It is a fun car to drive in the city or in the mountains. The unassuming appearance turns heads when accelerating due to the quick start and awesome stock exhaust sound. In addition, the Quattro traction, safety features, four doors and large trunk make it a practical family sports car."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By The Doctor on Sunday, August 15, 2010
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"I have driven my RS4 90,000 miles. In that amount of time, I became very familiar with my car. The RS4 has had a few minor gliches along the way, one just recently corrected with the engine needing a new Intake Manifold. I bought the extended warranty and most was covered. The engine uses oil. The same engine in the R8 also uses oil. You can expect to add a quart about every 7 to 8K miles. For a high reving normally aspirated engine, I feel that is no big deal. The Quattro has been wonderful, in any weather the car tracks straight and tru. I have switched to All season sport tires to make it a machine for ice and snow. The famous Audi interior is still as sharp today as when it was new. The cornering and acceleration as with all the mechanics are now back to 100%. I've replaced the exhaust with a full Milltek custom sport exhaust system that has no resonators but does have the Sport Valves like the OEM system. Along with a Level II Revo Sport ECU computer upgrade, the car now pulls somewhere above 450 to 460 HP. The power band seems endless and the 8400RPM redline is incredible. I would say my car could easily pass the 160 MPH mark and could easily reach a 180 MPH top speed. I've had it since it was new, and it still turns heads, and it's still just as fun to drive now as it was when I picked it up. Audi is reaching their stride in the quality and performance of their cars. My next car will be another Product of Audi GmbH, the RS5. That will sit in the garage next to my 5.2L V-10 R8. So many cars and so little garage space!"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By The Doctor on Sunday, May 02, 2010
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"I first purchased an Audi tt years ago when they increased the power. As I developed a love for the Audi brand, the RS4 was announced. Without even a test drive, I ordered one there and then. It took a year and a half before the car made it to Oklahoma. It was well worth the wait. No other car can touch me in quickness, speed nor comfort. With a top speed at 136 mph few cars can keep up. Since those first days I've installed sport cats and exhaust system that allows the V8 to scream. Now with 80k miles, it's the best car I've owned or driven. That is unless of course, you count my Audi R8. But thats a whole different review."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By ac61 on Thursday, March 25, 2010
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"The RS4 is a beast. Replaced a V8 S4 with it, and it's not even close. RS4 pulls harder, sounds better, handles better, more comfort...it has it all. Exhaust note is killer, and it's got that high performance "whine" to the engine note. One observer said it sounded like "an F1 car." Can't get this car to slip on dry pavement. The Quattro just sticks to the road. Interior is typical high quality that you expect from Audi. Audi service has been excellent- I got this car in 12/06, so I have the 48K/4 yr free maintainance. Only issue is I had to replace the front brakes and rotors at 25,000 miles, which is more due to the way I drive than a problem with the design. Had to have it aligned a couple of times, which is pricey. Nice to have four tires all the same size- you can rotate freely and reduce wear, unlike an M3, where the front and rears are of different size. Still have the OEM Michelin Pilot Sport 2's after 32,000 miles (I strongly recommend NitroFill for tire wear and performance). Better exhaust note than the V8 M3, which is my wife's car. M3 is a touch quicker, and more fun to drive, but for trips, the RS4 is clearly superior in comfort and stowage space, as well as being a better everyday driver. This is just a fantastic automobile, and Audi afforded all the owners a bit of exclusivity with the limited two year production run, as well as bringing only 1500 RS4's to North America. This car will keep me in the Audi brand for as long as I drive performance vehicles. It's a stellar vehicle."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful