Audi Ups Ante with Bahnstorming RS 4
Motoring Channel Staff - 6/9/2005
2006 Audi RS 4
The RS 4's V8 revs to beyond 8000rpm
and makes more than 300kW of power
Audi's new RS 4 features the company's tried-and-true
4.2-litre V8, albeit with a number of upgrades,
the likes of which will make BMW very nervous.
On top of the base V8, quattro engineers have
added modified pistons, conrods, added a more
aggressive crankshaft and all-new cylinder heads,
while increasing the compression ratio. Together
with a less restrictive exhaust system the engine
can now take much deeper breaths, able to rev
beyond 8000rpm, which is simply astounding for
an engine displacing more than 4.0-litres.
It also places the RS 4 in the magic 300kW club
(or the magic 400 horsepower club if you like),
and with a sub 5.0 second 0-100km/h sprint, Audi
is issuing a serious warning to its rivals.
- Feann Torr, Editor
The 4WD RS 4 has a wider track than its A4
brethren, which together with ultra-wide tyres
gifts the RS 4 with race car levels of grip
2006 Audi RS 4
2006 Audi RS 4
Audi's answer to the venerated BMW M3 has arrived in the
form of the all-new RS 4, the most potent A4 derivative the
German company has ever created.
As with all RS models from the Audi stables, prerequisite
features such as quattro AWD, huge brakes, grippy wheels and
a luxury-sports interior feature prominently.
But topping the list of motorsports-derived equipment is
the new RS 4's core: a devastating 4.2-litre V8 engine.
With a rev ceiling that would instil envy in some motorcycles,
the new highly strung V8 engine will spin to 8250rpm and propels
the welterweight German sportscar to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
Created by Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH, the new RS 4 features
subtle bodywork, which accentuates the A4's already contemporary
lines. Flared wheel arches allow ample space for the big 18-inch
alloy wheels (equipped with 255/40 R18 tyres), which do little
to hide the vehicle's potential to grip the road, and also
increase the car's track.
Deep front and rear aprons with exaggerated air dams guarantee
optimum cooling of the V8 FSI engine, and a twin-chamber exhaust
system with oval tailpipes lend the car a neat and sporty
character at the rear.
Other exterior updates for the RS 4 include tastefully flared
side skirts (plus door cut-out trim strips matched to the
skirts), a rear spoiler integrated in the boot lid and aerodynamically
optimised twin-arm design RS exterior mirrors.
Despite this uncompromising sportiness, the car's close family
relationship with the Audi A4 is unmistakable. The distinctive
single-frame grille and the sweeping headlights, borrowed
from the Nuvolari prototype, underscore the family heritage
of the RS 4.
The RS 4 is lowered a further 30 millimetres over its A4
siblings, adding to its sporty look, but also increasing levels
of driving dynamics the car offers.
Another boon for the RS 4's handling characteristics is the
revised quattro 4WD system, which apportions torque between
the front and rear axles in a 40:60 ratio, giving the car
a rear wheel drive bias. This latest generation of Audi's
permanent four-wheel drive offers an asymmetric/dynamic torque
distribution ratio as mentioned, plus a self-locking Torsen
Audi asserts that it's quattro technology still provides
traction when other drive concepts have long since reached
their limits, and in 2006 the quattro drive system will be
further enhanced by DRC (Dynamic Ride Control) which significantly
reduces both the rolling and pitching motions of the vehicle
when it corners and accelerates/decelerates.
The brakes, too, represent new dimensions in their innovation.
The perforated ventilated brake discs at the front measure
a very large 365 millimetres in diameter, with similarly perforated
ventilated brake discs at the rear in 324mm diameter. Flow-enhanced
ventilation geometry incorporating NACA jets on the underbody
of the car ensures optimum cooling of the brakes. As a result,
brake fading is significantly reduced even under extreme loads,
such as on the race track.
The latest generation of ESP has been modified specifically
to suit the special properties of the high-performance RS
4. Its interventions are now later and shorter. It is also
possible to disable the ESP in two stages. In the first stage
only the traction control (ASR) function is disabled; the
other ESP functions remain fully active. In the second stage
the ESP is completely deactivated, including the traction
control. All electronic control then ceases.
Numerous technical innovations – many of which hail
from motorsport – give the new Audi RS 4 its unique character,
and one of these features is the high-revving V8 FSI engine.
Developing a maximum output of 313kW (420hp), the V8 revs
up to a speed of 8250rpm.
With its displacement of 4,163cc, this outstanding engine
breaks through the magic barrier for a production saloon of
100 horsepower per litre and will surely give the BMW M3 a
royal headache. The highly compact power unit reaches its
peak torque of 430Nm @ 5500rpm, and Audi says that 90 percent
of the total torque is available between 2250 and 7600rpm.
The RS 4 saloon employs groundbreaking FSI technology, or
fuel stratified injection. Essentially a petrol direct-injection
system, the new 4.2-litre unit delivers enhanced power output
based on more efficient combustion of the fuel/air mixture.
New features of the 8-cylinder unit powering the RS 4 include
modified pistons and conrods, a new crankshaft together with
its bearings, and new cylinder heads.
A twin exhaust system with enlarged pipes provides even higher
power output, and makes for an incredibly responsive powerplant:
it reaches the 100km/h mark in 4.8 seconds, and 200km/h in
16.6 seconds, and like all German super saloons top speed
is limited electronically to 250km/h.
The car's prodigious torque levels are transferred to all
four wheel via a 6-speed close ratio manual transmission,
and addition cooling fins have been fitted to the rear axle
differential, in response to the high loads to which the RS
4 may be subjected. No DSG (direct shift gearbox [twin clutch])
option has been talked about yet, but could be introduced
at a later date to combat BMW's SMG-equipped M3 and M4 models.
Another key requirement for the RS 4's developers was an
optimum power-to-weight ratio. Practically every part was
checked in terms of its weight: the front quarter panels and
the bonnet are made of aluminium, as are most of the chassis
components. The specially designed RS bucket seats are not
only very light, but also offer excellent body support.
The result is a power-to-weight ratio of just 3.93 kilos
per bhp – a sports car-like accomplishment which would
have been inconceivable for a mid-size saloon just a few years
ago. Compared to the current model M3, the new RS 4 is quite
a bit more powerful, but the new M3/M4 due to be released
at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show should even the odds.
Inside, the RS 4 combines the functionality of a sports car
with the luxurious ambience so typical of all Audi models.
Leather, aluminium, and carbon are the predominant materials.
But at the same time the RS 4 comes with all the additional
qualities typical of a genuine sports car.
This becomes clear as soon as you sit in it. The RS bucket
seats, with their high side sections, offer firm hold. They
also have an additional feature. By pressing buttons on the
seat the side sections can be inflated to mould perfectly
to the driver's anatomy. The flat-bottomed RS sports steering
wheel and the engine start button on the centre console are
also clearly reminiscent of motorsport, as are the aluminium
There's even a 'Sport' button on the steering wheel that
can deliver an even more dynamic performance when required.
The accelerator characteristic changes progressively, so the
engine is perceived to respond sooner. The sport model also
engages a flap in the exhaust system that opens to provide
the RS 4 with an even sportier sound.
Beyond all the motorsports-inspired fittings - the insane
300kW+ engine, the massive brakes, the Dynamic Ride Control
and the 40:60 torque split - Audi has ensured that occupants
are well taken care of - the RS 4 therefore comes with virtually
all the features already boasted by the Audi A4.
Apart from a wide range of safety components, this also means
deluxe automatic air conditioning, central locking with remote
control and electric front windows. Further features of the
RS 4 include the Audi parking system at the front and rear,
the concert radio system, while options such as the Audi navigation
system plus or the adaptive light dynamic cornering lights
can also be factored in, providing for what may well be the
ultimate European luxury super sports saloon.