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Wednesday 15th February 2012


All-new Audi RS4 gets RS5's 450hp normally aspirated V8

Hot Audis can be a mixed bag but the previous RS4 remains very much a high point. And after details of the new RS4 leaked recently Audi has finally broken its silence and revealed more.

And we thought normally aspirated V8s were dead
And we thought normally aspirated V8s were dead
And, yes, it will get the RS5's 4.2-litre 450hp V8. A distinct lack of turbos is unusual in this day and age but something to celebrate, the old RS4's soundtrack being among the mightier of recent times. Meaningfully, Audi has included pictures of fat oval exhaust tips among the teaser images, suggesting that noise will be a big part of the RS4 experience. We hope so.

There's certainly plenty of Technik underpinning the RS4's predictably impressive Vorsprung (0-62 in 4.7 seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph or 174mph 'on request') too. Every toy in the Quattro GmbH cupboard has been thrown at the chassis, which includes the latest crown gear differential running a default 40:60 front/rear split and torque vectoring as standard. As much as 70 per cent of the drive torque can be sent forwards or 85 per cent rearwards as the black boxes dictate. And if it's the latter you'll be wanting to make sure you opted for the Sport Differential, which on the S4 unleashes previously unheard of driftability. It should be standard, by all rights.

Seven-speed S Tronic among RS5 tech
Seven-speed S Tronic among RS5 tech
Much of the powertrain (seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox for example) and chassis tech (electric steering that 'nudges' you back on line included) comes from the RS5, which does raise some cause for concern. The RS5 majors on the technology, but falls short dynamically in many respects, so we'll have to hope Audi has been listening and addressed some of the concerns; numb steering, snatchy drivetrain and unyielding damping among them. Options for the RS4 include ceramic brakes and Audi's cross-linked Dynamic Ride Control suspension, another RS hallmark.

If Audi is looking for inspiration to avoid RS5 style criticisms it could do worse than use the old RS4 as a blueprint. But then, why not just buy one of them instead? Looking at the specs it's surprising how close the old car runs the new one, being just 30hp down and a tenth slower to 62mph. And there was a manual version. Good ones are still making strong money - as much as £30K - and a quick browse of the classifieds reveals a plentiful supply.

RS6 style arch extensions now included
RS6 style arch extensions now included
And though UK pricing is yet to be confirmed for the new car, a price of 76,600 Euros has been confirmed for Germany, 20,000 Euros more than an S4 Avant. Here in the UK the S4 costs just shy of £40K, so you can do the maths and if your number starts with a 6 you may not be a million miles out. It certainly will by the time you add the Sport Differential, DRC and a few other toys.

It is, of course, a good thing that the RS4 is back. We just hope the spirit of the previous one has been captured and lives on.

Author: Dan Trent
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