The Audi RS4 turns fifteen this year, which is as good an opportunity as any to re-review this fast, appreciably luxurious estate care. back when the car was first launched in the year 2000, its release was followed by countless pleas to Audi USA to bring the car over to the States. The 1994 RS2 had proved a raging success on both sides of the Atlantic.
Prospective American car buyers were hunting for Audi RS4s for sale, but it took a while to get the car to their hands. Among enthusiasts of this fast car, the debate rages on to this day as to what the best model is. Some swear by the recent Audi RS4 Avant, others extoll the virtues of the 2006 Audi RS4, while others still state that any car bearing the RS Audi logo is going to perform with stellar results.
While the point of today’s post is not a rundown of all RS4 Audi models, it will try to help you get some idea as to what you can expect before taking an RS4 for a test spin.
Audi RS4 exterior and interior design
In terms of exterior design, the Audi RS4, much like the RS5 in its wake, is based on the MLP platform. Beyond this solid mechanical base, the car has perfectly distributed weight. The length-fitted engines of the B8 A4 have been moved to the rear. For those who remember the B7 and its 60/40 front/rear distribution, there’s good news. The RS4 comes with a far more balanced 56/44 ratio.
The balanced, good quality design of the exterior and elements under the hood are reiterated in the interior design of the RS4, which has great quality finishes. The dual clutch drive car allows for a comfy position in which to drive, since it has no offset pedals – as is the case with manual A4 Audis. The latest model RS4 is no different in terms of backseat comfort and room, nor is it any better than, say, the 2008 model with respect to its trunk size.
Audi RS4 performance and handling
Unlike in the case of many other makers, Audi models are still being fitted with normally aspirated V8 engines. This is the case with both the RS4 and the RS5 and it’s worth noting that, with this choice Audi is resolutely going against the grain that dictates smaller engines. The 2013 car also comes with 444bph, up 30bph when compared with its predecessor, plus a Quattro drivetrain.
The Avant goes from 0 to 60mph in 4.4 seconds, thanks to its 4.2 liter V8 engine. Though it weighs in at a hefty 1880kg (4144lbs), it performs just as stellarly in gear. Coming in to ample throttle from a low-revved engine in third gear, the car is able to go from 20 to 40mph in 3.0 seconds, then from 70mph to 90mph in 3.1 seconds.
As for performance, you know you’ve got a good car on your hands if it looks like a symbol of status, drives with a grip fit for a tractor and will maintain its amazing traction even in the most harsh weather conditions. Its driving dynamics are highly safe, too, making this a foul-proof car even for the more inexperienced drivers out there.
Though some have praised the C63 AMG over the RS4 in terms of performance, it is easy to notice that the Audi Avant comes with a better grasp, even in standing water or other scenarios caused by extreme weather conditions. All in all, the Audi Avant is great – yet it has its less strong suits. For one thing, it has a steep learning curve when it comes to adjusting the settings, and hasn’t evolved much compared to the 2007 or 2005 RS4.
The steering ratio is variable, which might turn out to be a bit much for those who want to use the wheel on this car on the road. Last, but definitely not least, it’s not a very fuel efficient car, coming in at a 32.4 mpg quotient – quite a lot for those who are not comfortable with burning that much gas, even in mild driving conditions. We know this is not a convertible or a cabriolet, but a wagon suited for people with kids. And while the 2001 model could still be found, purchased, and successfully used in 2014, this comes at a high cost in this respect.
The Audi RS4 versus other cars
The 2013 Audi RS4, also known as the Avant, was a hot contender vs BMW’s M3 when it was first launched and many will tell you that they prefer the former over the latter. Others have compared the RS4, both the 2013 and 2012 models versus the E6 M3, which, for all its virtues is a somewhat impractical 2-door car and one that’s not particularly suitable for harsher weather conditions.
When compared with Subarus, Evos, and other more racer-ish cars, the RS4 scores big points on dependability. Of course, there’s a huge difference between the two types of cars in terms of pulling and noise. An Audi RS4 will unfailingly provide a smoother driving experience, as it can reach a solid 90-100mph very quietly and subtly. To boot, many drivers who have experienced both types of cars praise the RS4 for its high quality parts: the shifter plate, for instance, is made of carbon fiber layers (as opposed to the plastic STIs use).
Lastly, in one of the most hotly disputed debates the Audi forum has ever seen, it’s safe to say that the RS4 is better than the S4 in many ways. This makes it more expensive to purchase and to fix, but it also makes for a more fun driving experience, particularly in terms of handling and acceleration (owing to the extra 25 per cent horsepower on the RS4).
The verdict: Should I buy an Audi RS4?
All in all, this is a car that comes highly recommended in many respects – though this is not to say it doesn’t have its weak points. The steering can come across as inert in many scenarios and some chassis settings don’t make for a very comfortable ride. In terms of mpg, the RS4 could do far better, but those interested in purchasing it need to remember that it’s an expensive car, both to own and to drive. For all the above downsides, the RS4 more than compensates with its typically strong points.
The engine is superb and it’s part of what makes the car perform spectacularly in high throttle mode. It has a ton of grip and traction and can even come to behave like a larger rally car of sorts. It’s practical and fit for a family, but it’s also undoubtedly a very good car for all those who can afford it, irrespective of marital status.
The materials used on just about all elements of the Avant are top notch, from the bumper to the dual shift stick, to the caps on the wheels, steering wheel, rims, and upholstery of the seats. In terms of reliability, this car performs far better than any Sedan ever will. Its impressive hp capacity make this Audi RS4 better than previous Audi models – even those as popular as the ones in 2004, 2010, and 2011. The Avant is a special car, which can be used with equally good results in a rally rave, as well as an oversized, yet sleek sports car.