This road test should actually have been about the Audi Q7 but Serendipity stepped in and I now know what I want for Christmas.
The Audi RS 4 saloon was first introduced at the end of 2005 and, since then Audi has completed the family by giving us the Avant and Cabriolet versions. Whatever the body-style, the engine and drivetrain are the same and are the real stars of the show
There are plenty of performance cars on the market today. I don't mean the Zonda's and Koenigsegg's, but the real-life stuff, such as the Subaru Impreza WRX STi or the Mitsubishi Evo IX, either of which provide instant gratification for performance fans.
The RS 4 quattro offers the same exhilarating performance but in more refined surroundings, as befits the Audi badge. However, you do pay a good bit more for the pleasure. At £50,930 the RS 4 is almost twice the price of the 2.5-litre, turbo-charged, Impreza WRX STi.
The Audi, on the other hand has a big 4.2-litre V8, naturally aspirated petrol engine that makes a delicious noise through the twin, oval tailpipes. The RS 4 was the first of Audi's B-segment cars to have both a V8 block and FSI technology, thus creating a car with punch and fuel efficiency.
When FSI (Fuel Stratified Ignition) first arrived on the scene, it was associated with the Le Mans-winning diesel engine in the R8. It was such a leap forward, that it could have been alien, whispered to the people at Audi, by little grey men. It wasn't long before FSI became available in the company's road-going cars. Now it also works with petrol units, to great effect.
There is no arguing with the output figures of 420PS (414bhp) at 7,800rpm and 430Nm (317lb ft) of torque at 5,500rpm. For sure, it's a big engine but what makes the RS 4 special is the engine mapping and the clever FSI direct injection system, which makes 90 per cent of the peak torque, that's 387Nm, available from just 2,200rpm through to 7,600rpm. Moreover, the free-revving nature of the engine means that you have to get to 8,250rpm before you reach the cut-off point. It's not cruel - the car begs you to try it.
This is a 15-year+ news article, from our Audi archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Audi dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2006.
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