The Audi Rs4 might be an auto buff's dream machine. This outstanding vehicle was initially available only as a wagon. It is seen more now in its sedan incarnations than the Avant body style. Avant means "wagon" and Americans seem to have an aversion to anything bearing that body style. Probably due to repressed childhood memories of Clark Griswold-like vacations in the family wagon.
Audi has had an on-again-off-again love affair with the Rs4, but mainly the Avant. First produced in 1999 for the 2000 model-year, the Audi Rs4 Avant got quietly discontinued in 2001. It was brought back in 2006 with an impressive V8 4.2L engine. This production line included a 4-door sedan, a limited edition Cabriolet 2-door convertible, and of course, the original wagon 5-door hatchback. After 2008 the Rs4 Avant was placed back on the shelf. In 2012, Audi resurrected the Rs4 again. The 2018 model likely won't be sold in the US.
So You Bought Your Dream Car -- Now What?
If you followed and fell in love with the Audi Rs4, you would likely do anything to get your hands on one. Average resale pricing on the Rs4 remains high. The listed prices range from around $17,000 to $35,000 and more to purchase a ten-year-old model.
So why spend that kind of money when you could buy a comparable, new car? One word -- performance. This car continues to deliver the speed and handling of a premium model vehicle.
Initial inspection of your new-to-you Audi Rs4
You must have a general idea of the condition of the engine and body of your new-used car. If you are not mechanically-inclined, ask a friend or mechanic to check out any used vehicle with you. You will want to do an in-depth inspection of your purchase and make a list of what it needs.
Don't try to figure out how the stale pretzels got into the spare tire compartment, toss them out. The scissors are in the glove box to open stubborn snack packages on road trips -- those can stay. Those golf balls you're finding in every nook? They're responsible for half the scary noises you heard on your first test drive. Toss them out too and continue your inspection.
Using a checklist to make sure you find everything
We found some fantastic used-car checklists online that you can use as a starting point for your inspection. You may choose to use an available list, or develop one of your own. Either way, inspecting a used vehicle is always the best starting point.
An in-depth inspection will include an extensive check of the engine, suspension, and chassis. Note everything, even small items that you will probably never worry about fixing. Check the upholstery, carpeting, trunk lining, door handles, and all the gadgets, gizmos, and buttons. Play with the window controls, the radio, the heat and air conditioning. Check all the lights, seat belts, spare tire and emergency jack.
Take it for an extended test drive. Check out how it handles full turns, tight turns, and how responsive the steering wheel is. Examine the tread wear on the tires and the condition of the wheels. Check the brakes while driving, and again by viewing the actual hardware.
Familiarize yourself with every ding, dent, and cosmetic imperfection. Inspect the vehicle frame and undercarriage for rust, and normal wear and tear. Please support the vehicle on jack stands for any undercarriage inspection and repair. Safety is a must.
Listen to every little ping, wheeze, knock, and clunk in the engine. Spend some time on this inspection. You will appreciate the extra time spent as you refurbish your car and watch your dream materialize.
Determine your starting point
If your ride needs brakes or safety repairs, those should, of course, move up to the top of your list. Routine maintenance, performed by you or a friend with a basic set of tools, is an excellent money-saving option here.
Purchase an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) owner's repair guide, or find one at your local auto parts store. Haynes and Chilton both produce excellent quality manuals on most makes and models. These vary in price and availability. Some manuals and guides are available digitally or on DVD, or from your local library.
Engine Repairs and Upgrades
The base V8 4.2L engine used in the re-launched 2012 Audi Rs4 model remains in use in the newest 2018 incarnation. They have incorporated new features for safety and environmental enhancements while leaving the base engine the same. The Rs4 included the V8 4.2L engine since 2006 although they did add a few slight improvements with the 2012 model year.
If you aren't satisfied with the performance of this high-end engine, there are several things you can do to speed and performance.
APR Tuning - Boosting Power and Performance
Audi Performance and Racing, LLC (APR) offers a series of after-market upgrade options, classified in three stages. APR performance enhancements and the three stages of transition appeared in another article on our site, Find Out if You Need APR Tuning for Your Car. We'll break down the basics here, but please refer to the more in-depth article for specifics.
Boosting your horsepower - Stage One APR Tuning
Stage One APR Tuning can happen with no modifications to the engine or vehicle. Three immediate results of APR Stage One tuning are an increase in boost pressure, optimized ignition timing, and optimized lambda (exhaust).
The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is the computer module that controls the engine. This simple software upgrade for the ECU can boost your engine's horsepower (HP). APR technicians have worked diligently to make sure that their improvements operate seamlessly with your onboard equipment. A low-torque version of each staged upgrade is available also.
Upgrading the ECU - Stage Two APR Tuning
APR offers an ECU unit through Bosch, the Bosch MED 17 ECU to begin a Stage Two upgrade. While almost Plug-N-Play, we recommend that you turn this stage over to a licensed technician.
With the new control module, you'll need some physical modifications. The increased power requires high flow intake and downpipe exhaust systems. Both systems are available as after-market parts kits.
With APR's Stage two modifications, you will gain performance points in several areas. Automatic calibration changes will increase your acceleration rate. A rev limiter will allow the engine to reach maximum RPM without slowing the ECU acceleration. You should also note increased fuel economy.
Pull out your BIG wallet - Stage Three APR Tuning
APR's Stage Three upgrade adds the APR EFR7163 Turbocharger System to your ride. Your horsepower will increase to as high as 536 and possibly boost your fuel economy a bit. As with the lower APR stages, this one is also considered a Plug-N-Play addition. It is designed to work with and enhance your car's existing systems. Fully integrated, it is the top-of-the-line upgrade.
Body and Cosmetic Repairs
The Audi Rs4, both the sedan and Avant, are relatively unique in the auto world. Audi has made very few significant changes in either the body style or engine capabilities throughout its many incarnations. It has made only minor changes in streamlining and rounding the body style to meet with new aerodynamic design norms.
Got a few dings and dents? Many will be easy to correct, while others may require some elbow grease and a professional auto painting facility. Let's start with the small ones. If the body of your vehicle has a panel that got pushed in, but the paint is intact, and there are no creases in the metal, a simple sink plunger might work. We recommend purchasing a new plunger specifically for this task, for obvious reasons.
Body filler, sandpaper, metal surface primer, and a new paint job
If your dents and dings have missing paint, rust forming, or more extensive damage than described above, you'll need additional skills, tools, and patience. If you aren't familiar with these procedures, you can find instructions in books and online tutorials.
Body filler is available in your local auto parts store. There are instructions on the product, but we recommend finding a YouTube or other video tutorial before beginning. You can fill minor scratches with specialty products that apply like a wax or touch up paint. The scratch, filled with a color-matched wax or dab of paint, becomes virtually invisible.
Small dings and dents usually require a little pre-sanding, filling, finish sanding, and priming. Larger areas will need more extensive work, power sanding equipment, and special techniques. Repairing small areas before paying for a paint job is a money-saver.
If your ride requires extensive bodywork, we recommend that you take it to a professional repair shop. They specialize in repairing the body of vehicles and can use manufacturer-quality matching paint. A professional paint job will bring a like-new quality to your finished masterpiece.
Your First Road Trip
You're finished super-charging your ride. You fixed all the cosmetic imperfections. The body shop repainted her beautifully. She is entirely cherried out and ready to roll. You paid the insurance. You have her registered and installed the license plate. Now what? Now you ride. The Audi Rs4 is a premier vehicle. With proper maintenance, she will offer years of service. You will experience the sheer joy of unencumbered driving. Road trip!
We didn't have space here to detail specific repairs in this article for an Audi Rs4. We may do specific repair how-to articles in the future. Let us know if that is something you would like to see.
Featured Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, Alexander-93 via https://commons.wikimedia.org.