Audi RS4: Market Watch


Like a B-2 stealth bomber, Audi's RS4 has always possessed the ability to travel at high speed with the minimum of unwanted attention, whilst carrying a heavy payload. And although the intentions of most RS4 drivers are usually good deal more peaceful, the ability to outrun almost anything else when the need arises is a key attribute.


The ability to do just that has made successive generations of Audi's supercar-rivalling five-door one of the most desirable fast estates on earth. And just like its Northrop Grumman alter ego, the investment required to make the RS4 go that quick is substantial - which is in turn reflected in the asking price.

Fortunately, the RS4 has been extensively updated over the last 18 years, and as each generation has aged it has also depreciated. So the B5 and B7 cars can now be bought for less than £20,000, although the original B5 is now starting to appreciate.

Owning an RS4 does require you to make some compromises in terms of running costs but - when the mood takes you - you can savour the kind of performance normally reserved for only the very fastest of sports cars. Whilst the rest of the time you can happily travel about almost incognito.


In the beginning of course, Audi and Porsche created the legendary 1994 RS2 - a 315hp estate car with a five-cylinder turbocharged engine that broke the mould. And the RS2's successors have carried that mantle all the way through to the present, boasting front-mounted, longitudinal engines and Audi's trademark Quattro four-wheel-drive transmission.

The original 1999 B5 bi-turbo V6 RS4 was produced as a five-door Avant only and was reasonably well received, but Audi decided not to produce a B6-based RS4 to replace it. A second-generation V8 B7 RS4 did finally arrive in 2006 - initially produced as a four-door saloon, with the Avant following a short while later. A two-door, four-seat Cabriolet was also eventually added. The third-generation B8 RS4 arrived in 2012 - this time again in Avant form only - and very latest fourth-generation B9 RS4 Avant will arrive later this year.

Soon to be four generations then, but which one makes the best buy right now? Will all RS4s become future classics? And which incarnation makes the best starting point for further modifications? These are all questions we're aiming to answer.


Introduction
Audi RS4 B5 (1999-2001)
Audi RS4 B7 (2006-2008)
Audi RS4 B8 (2012-2015)

Many thanks to Revotechnik, MRC Tuning, RS246 forum, Audi Sport and Glass's Guide for their help with this feature

 

 

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Comments (47) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Onehp 30 Jul 2017

    Always fancied an RS4.

    Roomy
    Quick as few
    Unassuming (kind of)
    Handles well and (B7)
    Quite an engine (B7)

    But a modern hot hatch like a type R is just as roomy and probably faster around track, and while depreciation will be high, running costs won't. Want even more space, a Golf R/Cupra ST is even roomier and a lot more stealthy again. And not far off in pace, if behind at all irl.

    In the UK I would still scratch that RS4 itch, in Europe the RS4 prices are still a lot higher still and I went for a ~300kg (450kg for the B8) lighter fwd Cupra ST...



  • Harvey Mushman00 30 Jul 2017

    Faster round a track? I wouldn't know, but if you always wanted one why didn't you buy one, the fact that the Seat is lighter, would, in my opinion count for nothing, to me if I always wanted something and had the means to buy it I would, my problem is I want so many cars I just don't have the money............................

  • Onehp 30 Jul 2017

    Guess I don't want one that bad anymore. They are the great Halo cars one can actually use from my youth, growing up with the RS2, then the RS4 i succession etc.

    But now that I am actually in the position to buy they don't really appeal that much anymore as an actual proper owner proposition. Not the kind of person that buys cars just to have owned them for half a year, always buy to keep long term and end up owning them for years if they get under my skin. Having seen some more recent objective reviews on the driving experience (all but the B7 are off the list for sure), and doing quite some miles with the practical car and enjoying the same cars on roads where weight does matter, the RS4's just don't appeal that much anymore to me. But that is my personal sentiment, if they still appeal to you don't let that stop you smile

  • MegaCat 30 Jul 2017

    I had a great Mugello Blue B7 for 3 years. It was a lovely car, had a great time driving it - satnav was useless, but so what! The engine and manual gearbox, the steering, handling and noise were great. It should have been a keeper, but too poor for that! The only Audi I've driven that handled and let you feel what was happening through the steering wheel. In fact it feels closer to my Giulia QV than anything else I've driven ; )

  • MegaCat 30 Jul 2017

    I had a great Mugello Blue B7 for 3 years. It was a lovely car, had a great time driving it - satnav was useless, but so what! The engine and manual gearbox, the steering, handling and noise were great. It should have been a keeper, but too poor for that! The only Audi I've driven that handled and let you feel what was happening through the steering wheel. In fact it feels closer to my Giulia QV than anything else I've driven ; )

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