Audi RS4 2007 review
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Audi's RS4 is just about the only model in the German manufacturer's lineup that the BBC's Top Gear seems to like. But I guess when you get to drive the creme de la creme of the motoring world, one can afford to be choosey.
For our money, the RS4 (a super duper V8-powered version of the bread and butter A4) is an amazing piece of machinery. The 4.2-litre V8, which pumps out a prodigious 309kW of power, is simply stunning. Power delivery is brutal and the note from the drain pipe-sized twin exhausts is music to the ears. Let's just say that at full noise the RS4 sounds more like a V8 supercar than any Aussie fare.
In Audi speak, the car is “race technology in plain clothes”, or as we see it a wolf in sheep's clothing. “While many of its features look similar to the new Audi A4, the RS4 is far more than just a fast derivative of Audi's successful mid-size saloon,” Audi spokesperson Anna Burgdorf said.
“The car is an almost entirely brand-new development tailored to the highest performance requirements.”
Priced from $164,500, the RS4 comes in three guises: sedan, cabriolet and station wagon. Our test vehicle was the most expensive of the trio, the cabrio priced from $187,500.
Unlike many cars of its kind it retains a soft, fabric roof which can be raised or lowered at the push of a single button. The trend these days is to hard, metal roofs that stow in sections, but of course they come with a weight penalty.
Before slipping behind the wheel of the RS4 for the first time we were urged to remember to push the “Sport” button, which is located on the steering wheel.
As well as sharpening throttle response, it opens a set of baffles in the twin exhaust system that elevates the note of the engine to a deep rumbling bass, a bit like an orchestra coming together for the grand finale of the 1812 Overture. Boy, does that small button make a difference.
Maximum power output of 309kW is achieved at a lofty 8250rpm, while peak torque of 430Nm arrives at 5500rpm. Ninety per cent of this torque is available between 2250 and 7600rpm.
The V8 in our test vehicle and, indeed all RS4s, is mated to a six-speed manual change (there is no automatic).
The cars sits on 19 inch wheels, 30mm lower than a standard A4, with power fed to all four wheels through the Quattro all-wheel dive system. It's biased 60 per cent towards the rear most of the time, but the Torsen style centre differential sends more power to the front or rear wheels as required.
Dynamic ride control is fitted to reduce body roll.
Big eight piston stoppers are fitted to the front of the car, with 365mm front and 324mm rear discs. Thankfully, they're a match the car's prodigious power, with the ability to pull it up quickly and in a straight line. That's a good thing, otherwise we'd be reporting to you from the bushes.
Straight line performance is staggering, with the dash from 0-100km/h taking just 4.9 seconds. At 1845kg the cabrio is actually 195kg heavier than the sedan and is a tenth of a second slower not that you'd notice.
What is noticeable, however, is a surprising amount of flex from the roofless body, which is only exaggerated by the firm and at times down right harsh suspension.
That's the price one pays for wind in your hair motoring.
Range and Specs
|Quattro||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$29,150 – 35,090||2007 Audi RS4 2007 Quattro Pricing and Specs|
|Quattro||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$31,460 – 37,950||2007 Audi RS4 2007 Quattro Pricing and Specs|
|Avant Quattro||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$32,670 – 38,830||2007 Audi RS4 2007 Avant Quattro Pricing and Specs|