New dimensions in driving dynamics combined with innovative ideas and concepts – and, in addition, exciting lines and a level of equipment living up to even the highest luxury performance standards: The new Audi RS 4 combines the latest high-performance motoring qualities offered by Quattro GmbH in a thoroughbred sports saloon with supreme everyday driving qualities in the premium segment. Indeed, the new RS 4 is the top-of-the-range model in the A4 series, a development all-new from the ground up.
Available as a sedan in the U.S. in mid-2006, RS 4’s numerous technical achievements – many of which hail from motorsport – give the new Audi RS 4 its unique class and character. These features include the high engine speed concept now being introduced for the first time in a production Audi, innovative FSI technology, as well as the latest generation of quattro drive with asymmetric/dynamic distribution of torque. Devel oping a maximum output of 420 bhp, the V8 revs up to a speed of 8250 rpm. With its displacement of 4163 cc, this outstanding engine exceeds the magical barrier of 100 bhp per litre truly outstanding in a production saloon. Maximum torque of 430 Nm comes at 5500 rpm in this very compact engine, with 90 per cent of the engine’s torque consistently available between 2250 and 7600 rpm. The result is excellent muscle and pulling force at all times, enabling the driver whenever he – or she – wishes to drive in truly relaxed style without frequent gear changes.
Audi has chosen its trendsetting and groundbreaking FSI technology for the RS 4 saloon, direct gasoline injection ensuring even more effective combustion of the fuel/air mixture and, as a result, an even better power yield. This is matched by the highly responsive development of power, the RS 4 accelerating to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaching 200 km/h in 16.6 seconds. Top speed is cut off electronically at 250 km/h.
Audi’s FSI technology has already proven its qualities impressively in Audi’s four-time Le Mans winner, the Audi R8.
A further essential point in the brief given to Audi’s development engineers was to optimise the car’s power-to-weight ratio, avoiding every superfluous gram on the Audi RS 4. Accordingly, virtually every component was checked and cross-checked for minimum weight. The front wheel arches and the engine compartment lid are therefore made of aluminium, just like most components on the chassis and suspension. The specially designed RS bucket seats, in turn, are not only very light, but also offer extremely good body support in every situation.
The result is a power-to-weight ratio of just 3.93 kilos per bhp – a figure truly reminiscent of a thoroughbred sports car, which would not even have been conceivable just a few years ago in a midrange saloon.
New generation of quattro drive
The challenge, of course, is to get all this power on to the road in perfect style and with optimum handling. And for no less than 25 years, Audi’s answer to all the particular requirements in this respect has been that magical name “quattro”. Now the latest generation of Audi’s permanent four-wheel drive featured for the first time in the RS 4 offers asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution and a self-locking Torsen centre differential, making a significant contribution in enabling the RS 4 with its sports suspension to enter new dimensions in driving dynamics. Indeed, Audi quattro technology still provides traction when other drive concepts have long reached their limits. And in this case quattro drive is further enhanced by Audi’s DRC Dynamic Ride Control, significantly reducing both body roll and dive.
The brakes also enter new dimensions, an 18-inch brake system ensuring optimum stopping power. The cross-drilled, inner-vented brake discs at the front measure 365 millimetres in diameter, as opposed to 324-millimetre brake discs at the rear. Flow-optimised ventilation geometry incorporating Naca jets on the underfloor of the car ensures first-class cooling of the brakes under all conditions.
As a result, brake fading is significantly reduced even under extreme loads, for example on the race track.
Focusing on the RS 4, quattro GmbH has carefully re-aligned the latest generation of ESP to the particular properties and features of this high-performance sports saloon. With the system intervening later and for a shorter period than on a conventional car, driving dynamics are improved significantly. The integrated dry braking function in wet weather, in turn, ensures additional safety on the road, with the brake pads being unnoticeably placed on the brake discs at regular intervals in order to dry the brakes for instantaneous use whenever required.
The RS 4 features racing technology in civilian clothes. While many of its features look similar to the new Audi A4, the RS 4 is far more than just a “fast” derivative of Audi’s highly successful midrange saloon. Quite simply because the car is an almost entirely brand-new development tailored to the highest performance requirements.
The single-frame radiator grille, the rear section with the distinctly horizontal orientation of the car’s lines, and the side surfaces with the shoulder line plastically filling in the car’s contours, all prove that the RS 4 is a member of the A4 family. However, the radiator grille in diamond look, the additional air intake scoops in the front section, as well as the wheels developed specifically for the RS 4, clearly set the car aside from a “normal” Audi A4.
The newly designed rear air dam encompassing two extra-large tailpipes as well as the discreet but highly effective spoiler integrated in the luggage compartment lid and the rear side panels all bear clear testimony to the saloon’s dynamic driving potential also in terms of their looks. Compared with the Audi A4, the entire body of the car has been lowered by 30 millimetres. And at the same time the development engineers at quattro GmbH have widened the car’s track both front and rear. At the end of the day, however, all these modifications to the body of the car are significant not only in terms of design, but also above all in terms of function.
Inside, the RS 4 combines the straightforward function of a sports car with the luxurious ambience so typical of all Audi models. The dominating materials are leather, aluminium, and carbon. But at the same time the RS 4 comes with all the additional qualities so typical of a genuine sports car.
This superiority becomes clear immediately when you take your seats in the car: The RS bucket seats with their high side sections provide excellent support. A further feature of these bucket seats is the control button on each seat for inflating the side support elements adjusting perfectly to the driver’s anatomy. The sports steering wheel tapering down at the bottom and the engine starter button on the centre console, in turn, are also clearly reminiscent of motorsport, just like the aluminium pedals.
You start the engine of the Audi RS 4 by pressing the starter button housed conveniently in the centre console right next to the driver. Pressing the sports button in the steering wheel, in turn, the driver is able to modify the gas pedal control map, giving the engine even sharper and more direct response.
Features and equipment
Driving the Audi RS 4 means driving a sports car without making any concessions. Right from the start, therefore, the RS 4 comes with virtually all the features already boasted by the Audi A4. Apart from a wide range of advanced safety components, this also means high-comfort automatic air conditioning, central locking with remote control, and electric window lifts at the front. Further features of the RS 4 include the acoustic parking system at the front and rear, the Concert radio system, as well as sports suspension with variable damper control (DRC). Furthermore, the purchaser of an Audi RS 4 can also opt for a particularly high standard of comfort amenities such as Audi’s navigation system plus or dynamic adaptive light headlights literally guiding the driver round bends in the road.