THE VERY BEST USE FOR £20K
Four reasons we love the B7 RS4, the car that transformed Audi’s performance image
1. THAT ENGINE OH, THAT ENGINE
The 4.2-litre V8 from the S4 was sweet and revvy but modestly powerful, and the previous RS4 went down the turbo route. By contrast the B7 used an enhanced version of the 4.2 that would also power the earliest R8s, with a stack of changes transforming its personality. Switching back to four valves per cylinder instead of five meant higher revs – 8250rpm before the limiter cut in, kicking out 414bhp in the process, just shy of the magic 100bhp-per-litre mark. Spectacular exhaust note, too.
2. THE PERFECT BLEND OF LOWKEY AND LAIRY
The standard B7 A4 was clean, smart and unadorned in that way Audi nailed long ago, but the RS4 took on a whole new personality, as if its DNA had been spliced with something far more sinister. The arches are pulled over the wider track and its vents speak of hardcore hardware beneath. It also rides on some of the prettiest multi-spoke alloy wheels ever created. Nevertheless, subtle colours helped it blend in, as a genuine Q-car should.
3. RIGHT CAR, RIGHT TIME
With no M3 Touring and AMG yet to get its act together, the Avant RS4 was a masterstroke. Sufficiently compact to drive daily, big enough to deal with the family and refined enough not to upset them, it was still capable of delivering an electrifying drive when the opportunity arose.
4. BROAD WEAPON PAR EXCELLENCE
Driving the RS4 at speed on a typical UK road is an exercise in finding your own limits, not the car’s. All those lightweight components up front help quell understeer and the meaty, linear steering is a revelation. Quattro drive means 8000rpm over and over again, every chance you get rewarded with searing pace and a warbling roar from the exhaust. Oversteer might be effectively off the menu, but what you get instead is rock-solid confidence to wring out the engine and the buzz of unshakeable grip, heroic traction and a delicacy previously unseen in an RS. To drive one once is to want one forever more.