For this review we got our hands on a German monster: Audi RS4 Avant Quattro B8.
The sort of sports car a non-petrol head will hardly notice when it is parked in the street. However, they will notice it when it drives by thanks to the incredible exhaust sound. The people at Audi pitch the car as a “unique combination of supreme driving dynamics and daily usability”. No denying that it’s very dynamic with it a 450 HP 4.2 Liter V8.
This third generation of the RS4 has been available for about 3 years (2012-2015). Anno 2016 the car is only available as a secondhand car. The leaked Audi production calendar predicts that there won’t be a new RS4 in the next 2 years. However, there will be an RS5 in 2018 so the RS4 B9 should be released shortly after that. Meanwhile, Audi announced a new S4 this week. It has a 3.0 V6 TFSI engine that produces 354 HP. Sounds like a car I’d associate with “daily usability” a lot more than the bonkers RS4 we tested.
Audi fanatics recognize the RS4 from a distance: aggressive looking air intakes, front splitter and a grille with a honeycomb structure. Wider wheel arches, a spoiler on the roof, rotor design wheels, aluminum mirrors. And last but not least the black oval exhaust tips that releases a very characteristic soundtrack.
The RennSport 4 delivers the power through the lightning fast 7-speed dual clutch to the four wheels. Quattro is the biggest difference between the RS4 and the closest rival: Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate. The Benz is a rear wheel drive car, a bit more playful. The RS4’s Quattro will keep it together a lot better on wet roads. This third generation undertakes an attempt to be rear wheel drive at times, the crown-wheel centre differential allows it to send up to 85% of the power to the rear wheels. While testing however it becomes clear that it will have to be very wet before the tail even considers breaking out for the swiftest of moments (thanks to Torque Vectoring technology). This car feels very much like it’s on rails. I presume that a true drift king is not in the market for an estate or avant type of car. But if he was he wouldn’t go for the Audi.
Obviously all this technology isn’t there simply to take the fun out of driving. It’s mainly there because it’s safe and allows the driver to push the car harder with fewer risks. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a sports car without going sideways every corner.
The superb traction and electronics will mitigate small steering errors without any problems. Even the numerous potholes in Belgian roads can’t derail the RS4. I believe that is practically impossible to push this machine to the limit on public roads. Even someone with slim to no sports car experience will feel like a rally driver behind the wheel of this car. This is obviously risky when they try to drive a less forgiving car in the same manner.
Driving an RS4 is a feast for the senses. When you put it in sport mode the car takes off like a rocket, it snarls shakes and attacks like a madman. It almost spits fire. Even when respecting the speed limit this car causes a ruckus. It is bound to turn every pedestrians head. Driving near a group of cyclists and simply switching down a gear it a guaranteed laugh. On paper this car might look a bit clinical due to the insane amount of grip and steering that does not always give accurate feedback. While the RS4 you discover that it’s actually a pure and very enjoyable driver’s car. It made me deliberately slow down on nice country roads so the cars in front of me could get a head start. Creating an opportunity to unleash the monstrous RS4.
The infotainment system is very intuitive and easy to handle. You press the function button you want, navigation, radio, phone, car settings etc… And select the options you want with the selection button. This is how you switch between the available drive options: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and custom mode. These modes all have a different effect on the exhaust sound, steering, S-Tronic, suspensions and throttle response. In Dynamic mode the car switches down gears automatically which results in amazing exhausts noises. Those exhaust noises alone are a perfect excuse to drive
People who are interested in getting an RS4 you might be confronted with a bit of a dilemma. A secondhand RS4 B8 or a brand new S4 B9? They are equally priced and both seem to be a good choice. If you want a sporty daily driver I would recommend the S4 B9. If you are looking for a sports car that can occasionally serve as a daily car you should go for the RS4 B8. The enormous fuel consumption will bankrupt you if you use it daily. Unless you have limited funds but in that case there would be no dilemma.
- Sensational acceleration
- Super exhaust sound when switching down a gear
- Relatively subtle look
- Very forgiving while driving hard
- Fuel Consumption
Conclusion: For real petrol heads the V8 is the Audi RS4’s biggest draw. At the same time the thunderous V8 might be the reason why the car is no longer available at the moment. Anno 2016 big engines and ditto fuel consumption are frowned upon. So enjoy it while you still can: in sports mode the RS4 is the car equivalent to a Michael Bay movie: Explosive, sensational and a tad macho but most of all it’s a lot of fun!
Pictures & review: Jonas
This review was made possible thanks to: