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2007 Audi RS 4

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2007 Audi RS 4 Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2007

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 the RS 4
Driving Impressions

The RS4 is one of the best handling cars - with either two or four doors - we 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 response - the 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.

2007 Audi RS 4 Details
2007 Audi RS 4 photo Interior

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
2007 Audi RS 4 photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

4.2-liter V8
420 horsepower @ 7800 rpm
317 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14 /21

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