Geneva Motor Show: Audi RS4 – The Sports Car for 365 Days a Year Share Comments Taking a new approach, once again clearly proving Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik”: quattro GmbH’s new Audi RS 4. An outstanding new saloon boasting numerous innovations for absolute superiority on both road and track. This latest model developed by Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH combines motor sport technology with a high standard of practical value for everyday use. In creating this car, Audi’s engineers have succeeded in placing an intelligent all-round concept on the road able to thrill its driver in every situation, whether on the race track or in the big boulevards of the world. The Audi RS 4 continues the tradition of quattro GmbH in bridging the gap between motorsport and everyday motoring. It is a car which brings together strong emotions and perfect function in an ideal synthesis of both worlds, a car which meets all the demands made by the driver of a premium saloon in general and of the most outstanding Audi in particular in the world of motoring today. At Audi, the “RS” abbreviation stands for ultimate performance of the highest calibre, supreme technological innovation and truly unique driving dynamics. To quote just two examples, the 420 bhp eight-cylinder is Audi’s first high-speed power unit, and it comes with Audi’s highly innovative FSI technology. A further forte of this exceptional V8 is its extremely compact dimensions. The RS 4 is also the first car to feature Audi’s new generation of permanent four-wheel drive with asymmetric/dynamic distribution of torque, a concept particularly suitable for a sports car of the calibre of the RS 4. And with each and every component of the new car being checked for minimum weight, the result of the consistent weight reduction process is a power-to-weight ratio of 3.93 kg per horsepower. The RS 4 is a truly unique, intelligent car concept with superior drivetrain qualities offering driving dynamics of a standard not to be found anywhere else in this segment. Power Unit FSI for even better power and performance The engine is crucial to the power and performance of every sports car – which is precisely why quattro GmbH features a compact V8 with direct gaso-line injection in the new RS 4. Indeed, FSI fuel injection technology now reaches a new level of perfection in this 420 bhp high-speed eight-cylinder, gasoline being injected directly into the combustion chambers of this top-end product boasting a young but already extremely successful technology, creating an absolutely smooth, balanced, and consistent fuel/air mixture in the process. And thanks to the cooling effect of the directly injected fuel, Audi’s development engineers have at the same time been able to increase the engine’s compression ratio. The result is an even more effective combustion process and an even better power yield all in one. This is borne out in particular by the engine’s even greater responsiveness, the elaborate fuel injection technology further optimising the development of power and performance in every situation on the road. Audi’s FSI technology is already to be admired in the world’s most successful racing car, the Audi R 8 bringing home victory in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans no less than four times in the last five years alone (to mention just some of the car’s outstanding achievements). Clear facts and figures prove the impressive potential of this outstanding eight-cylinder: maximum output of the 4.2-litre power unit is 420 bhp. Peak torque is 430 Newton-metres at 5500 rpm. And no less than 90 per cent of this maximum torque is maintained consistently throughout a wide range of engine speed from 2250 all the way to 7600 rpm. Performance on the road is naturally equally impressive, the RS 4 accelerating to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaching 200 km/h in 16.6 seconds. The ongoing surge of power and performance is then gently cut off by electronic control at 250 km/h. The high-speed engine principle The RS 4 is Audi’s first car to feature the high-speed engine principle, the power unit reaching speeds of up to 8250 rpm. The significant advantages of this principle are superior power at high engine speeds, consistent and smooth development of power and performance, as well as superior responsiveness throughout the entire speed range. Further fortes are the car’s outstanding agility and fast-revving response as well as an engine sound reminiscent of motorsport – the sound that the driver of such a car simply expects. As a result of these qualities, the eight-cylinder power unit provides maximum thrust and performance in virtually all driving situations. The ultra-compact V8 The V8 power unit is ultra-compact in its dimensions, fitting snugly into the engine compartment of the RS 4 without requiring any changes to the body of the car. The camshafts and ancillary units, with the exception of the alternator, are all driven by a chain for easy maintenance. An all-new development, the eight-cylinder powering the RS 4 comes, inter alia, with modified pistons and connecting rods, as well as a new crankshaft together with its bearings and new cylinder heads. A double-chamber exhaust system with extra-large pipe cross-sections helps to boost engine output and performance to an even higher level, these significant improvements all adding up at the end of the day to give this 4163 cc power machine an output per litre beyond the magical 100 bhp limit. The car’s power-to-weight ratio is equally impressive: 3.93 kg per horsepower is a figure only the most thoroughbred sports cars were able to offer just a few years ago. It almost goes without saying that the V8 featuring FSI fuel injection technology complies in full with the Euro 4 emission standard. Drivetrain New generation of quattro drive Getting all this power on to the road was of course a significant challenge. And to successfully meet this challenge, Audi – naturally – focuses on quattro permanent four-wheel drive, where 25 years of experience and superior market leadership in the four-wheel-drive passenger car segment give the customer significant benefits. Now, the RS 4 features a new generation of quattro drive with asymmetric/dynamic distribution of engine power and torque. The Torsen power divider delivers the output and torque of the engine individually to the front and rear axle as required, thus ensuring optimum traction at all times: reflecting even minor changes in road conditions, the flow of power is re-directed immediately as a function of torque, with up to 100 per cent of engine power and torque going to just one axle whenever appropriate. This new distribution of drive power makes the Audi RS 4 an even more dynamic performer on the road. Apart from traction, ease of control, stability, load change and transient behaviour, the car’s agility and steering behaviour in particular have been significantly improved once again, clearly underlining the very sporty performance and character of the RS 4. The term “Torsen” comes from “torque” and “sense”, which, taken together, quite literally means “sensing the development and build-up of torque”. The Torsen differential is a self-locking worm gear system building up its locking action only under power, while allowing differences in speed both when applying the brakes and in bends. Ensuring very short gearshift travel, the six-speed gearbox combines compact dimensions with low weight and a high standard of shift comfort. Adapted to the power unit of the RS 4, the individual gear increments provide excellent power yield in practice, conveying the output of the engine to the drive wheels of the car with maximum efficiency. Chassis and Suspension Superior at all times Even the best drivetrain is nothing without the right chassis and suspension. Which is precisely why quattro GmbH consistently uses the benefits of quattro drive and a supreme engine on the Audi RS 4: The sports suspension featured as standard serves to reliably convey the superior power of the engine on to the road appropriately at all times. This superiority is ensured on Audi’s new sports saloon by high-performance aluminium suspension with a four-arm front axle and trapezoid-arm rear axle. Precise steering behaviour, sensitive feedback from the steering, sporting agility, and excellent directional stability make the RS 4 the perfect car both for the race track and for the motorway and country road. Each wheel on the front axle runs on four aluminium track control arms. The trapezoid-arm rear axle, in turn, offers an equally outstanding, first-class potential in driving dynamics, the torsionally and flexurally stiff trapezoid arm taking up most of the forces acting on the wheels. Together with the track arm further to the rear, this special configuration defines the elastokinematic behaviour of the rear axle with ultimate precision. Dynamic Ride Control The Audi RS 4 comes with Audi’s DRC Dynamic Ride Control featured for the first time in the Audi RS 6. DRC serves to reduce both body roll and dive along the car’s longitudinally and lateral axes. This dynamic body control is ensured by the specific flow of oil between the damp-ers in diagonal arrangement, largely eliminating any movement of the body when setting off (squat effect) and preventing both body dive when applying the brakes and body roll in fast bends. The result, clearly, is an even higher standard of driving dynamics in the RS 4. DRC has already won over many enthusiasts in the RS 6. And now, introducing the system in the RS 4, quattro GmbH has succeeded in making DRC Dynamic Ride Control even more compact and lighter, the system now not even requiring an electronic control unit. Instead, the individual suspension dampers are connected hydraulically to one another by a central valve, adjusting instantaneously to every driving situation on the road. The combination of quattro drive, DRC, and the suspension specifically geared to the RS 4 allows this outstanding high-performance Audi to quite literally “run on rails” even at the highest speeds in bends, thus maintaining its superior performance when other drive concepts have long reached their limits. And it almost goes without saying that the Audi RS 4 features the latest generation of ESP stability control designed and configured especially for this car. 18-inch wheels featured as standard The new Audi RS 4 comes as standard on 18-inch wheels boasting 255/40 tyres. 19-inch wheels are available as an option. Focusing carefully on the RS 4, Audi’s designers have created both light and at-tractive cast aluminium wheels in five-arm design, a special production process ensuring enhanced stiffness and lower weight on even thinner walls. The 19-inch wheels come on 255/35 19 tyres, and are also available as an option with special Pirelli P Zero Corsa sports tyres made specifically for racing but also suitable for road use. Compared with the “normal” A4, the RS 4 is lowered throughout by 30 millimetres. A further important change is the wider track, up by 37 millimetres at the front and 47 millimetres at the rear. Both the springs and dampers have of course also been adapted to the superior potential of the RS 4 in their dimensions. The servotronic power steering has likewise been modified to meet the particular requirements of Audi’s new sports saloon, responding directly to the driver’s commands and ensuring short, crisp steering travel most appropriate for the RS 4. Brakes for the race track The RS 4 also offers truly outstanding deceleration and stopping power ensured by the 18-inch brake system. Cross-drilled and inner-vented, the brake discs measure 365 millimetres in diameter up front and 324 millimetres or 12.8” in diameter at the rear. They come in floating arrangement, meaning that the cast-iron friction ring on the brake system is bolted on to the aluminium brake disc cover. The result is a significant improvement of the brakes’ resistance to fading, particularly under extreme loads, that is at high operating temperatures. This serves to prevent the so-called “bulging” effect, with the brake discs bulging out and the brake pads no longer coming to rest perfectly on the discs. A further positive side-effect of this technology is the reduction of unsprung masses in the interest of enhanced driving dynamics, which almost completely eliminates any distortion or adverse tension in the materials used. A further advantage is the optimisation of brake venting geometry by means of Naca jets keeping the brake discs appropriately cool at all times. Featuring custom-made RS eight-piston fixed callipers on the front wheels (four pis-tons and two brake pads on the inside and outside of each brake disc) as well as single-piston swing callipers on the rear wheels, the Audi RS 4 offers supreme stop-ping power and directional stability. The ESP 8.0 stabilisation program, electronic brake-force distribution EBD, and the ABS anti-lock brakes have all been tailored to the specific dimensions of the brake system. An additional safety feature offered by ESP is the dry braking function: In bad and wet weather the system regularly applies the brake pads to the discs in a pro-cess virtually unnoticeable to the driver, thus removing water from the brake discs in the interest of enhanced stopping power. Further features included in the ESP stability program are the electronic differential lock, anti-spin control, and the ABS anti-lock brakes. Design Self-assured and highly functional In its design, the Audi RS 4 combines superior function with equally superior aesthetic looks: at very first sight, this outstanding car makes a clear pledge to uncompromising, ultimate performance. In particular, the RS 4 demonstrates its enormous power and performance potential where such qualities really count, thus boasting features such as: • Flared wheel arches • Bumpers in RS design with the ornamental grille in diamond look • Flared side-sills as well as door cut-out trim strips matched to the sills • A rear spoiler integrated in the rear lid and side panels • A twin-chamber exhaust system with oval tailpipes • Exterior mirrors on twin-support arms and finished in matt aluminium • Newly designed 18-inch five-arm wheel rims (and optional 19-inch wheels in seven-arm double-spoke design) • The “RS 4” model designation front and rear • Trim strips in matt aluminium The sporty and aesthetic look borne out so clearly by this exceptional saloon is combined with an equally high level of functionality. Large intake openings at the front end of the RS 4 guarantee optimum cooling of the V8 FSI power unit, widely flared wheel arches offering ample space for the 18-inch wheels featured as standard. With its wider cross-section, the twin-chamber exhaust system ensures a smooth flow of combustion gases with resistance reduced to a minimum. And last but not least, the entire body lowered by a significant 30 millimetres versus the Audi A4 allows an even higher level of lateral acceleration and excellent driving dynamics. Despite this uncompromising pledge to sporty performance, the new RS 4 clearly shows its close relationship with the Audi A4: The striking single-frame radiator grille and the sweeping lines of the headlights carried over from the Nuvolari prototype all accentuate the family heritage of the new RS 4. Audi offers the new RS 4 in no less than nine exterior colours ranging from discreet Avus Silver all the way to brilliant Imola Yellow. And through Audi’s virtually unrestricted exclusive customisation program, quattro GmbH offers even the most discerning customer a virtually unlimited range of individual colours and combinations. Interior The premium sports car through and through Premium quality typical of Audi, combined with the sporting performance naturally expected by the demanding purchaser, upgrades the interior of the RS 4 to the highest standard. Indeed, right from the start when getting into the car you notice immediately that you are entering sports car country of the highest level of excellence. The bucket seats with their high-rising side sections give your body excellent security at the side further enhanced by special seat side cushions on the front-seat backrests. These cushions can be inflated individually by means of two control buttons on the seat or by pressing the sports button on the steering wheel and thus align themselves perfectly to the driver’s anatomy. A further special feature is the sports button serving to modify the map control line of the gas pedal for an even higher standard of engine responsiveness and an even more sportier sound from the exhaust system. The RS bucket seats are available either in full leather throughout or in a combination of leather and cloth. Thoroughbred sports seats are available as an option. The attention to detail Audi gives to its cars comes out clearly in the choice and finish of the materials used, the interior being dominated by exquisite leather, aluminium, and carbon. The steering wheel tapered at the bottom developed exclusively for the Audi RS 4 is covered almost throughout by perforated leather. Carbon trim appliqués inside the car serve to additionally accentuate the sporting qualities of the RS 4, with a wide range of further trim options providing almost unlimited freedom of choice (Piano finish black, Fine grain myrtle nutmeg, aluminium matt). The cockpit in RS design incorporates a lap timer in the driver information system, thus offering useful assistance for the really ambitious driver of the RS 4 trying out his car on the race track. The driver information system welcomes the driver upon entering the car with the exclusive RS welcoming logo. And reflecting the tradition of a genuine sports car, the eight-cylinder power unit starts at the touch of a button. This starter button integrated in the centre console is indeed a further reminiscence to motorsport, an area where Audi has been so successful in recent years. And yet another feature carried over from motorsport are the aluminium pedals which are not only most appropriate for a car of the calibre of the RS 4, but also very efficient in the further reduction of weight. Safety Superior traction in every situation The safety package Audi has put together for the RS 4 is both comprehensive and highly sophisticated. Particular attention was given in the development of this high-performance saloon to the overriding need for active driving safety. With quattro permanent four-wheel drive offering more traction in a critical situation to begin with than a conventional drive system ever could, variable power distribution to the two axles now enhances this benefit to an even higher standard than before. The Audi RS 4 also comes with the latest generation of Audi’s electronic stability program, ESP 8. Geared specifically to the RS 4, this superior stabilisation function consistently balances out the car by intervening specifically on the individual brakes. In addition, it comprises ABS, electronic brake-force distribution EBD, the electronic differential lock EDL and ASR traction control. The dry braking function also integrated in the ESP system ensures even better brake performance and stopping power on wet roads, the brake pads being placed against the brake discs almost unnoticeably to the driver in regular intervals to remove water and keep the brakes dry for immediate action whenever required. The tyre pressure monitoring system is also featured as standard, sensors on the wheels measuring air pressure in intervals of three seconds. In the event of an acute loss of pressure, the driver information system gives the driver both a visual warning sign and an acoustic warning. Extra-large brakes ensure stopping power quite comparable to that of a thoroughbred sports car. The cross-drilled, inner-vented brake discs measure 365 millimetres in diameter at the front, and 324 millimetres in diameter at the rear. Flow-optimised ventilation geometry incorporating special Naca jets ensures optimum cooling of the brakes, literally preventing even the slightest fading also under extreme loads (i.e. very high temperatures). With the brakes coming in floating configuration, frictional heat is kept away from the wheel bearings to avoid any distortion and brake “studder”. Passive safety of the highest standard Passive safety was also given particular attention in the development of the RS 4. The stiff body structure, deformation behaviour with perfect harmony of all features, the most advanced restraint systems such as new two-stage frontal airbags, and, finally, the sideguard head airbag system ensure occupant protection of the highest standard. The head airbag system at the side covers almost the entire side window area from the A pillars all the way to the C/D-pillars. The airbags themselves are inflated by a hybrid gas generator subsequently maintaining airbag pressure for several seconds in the interest of ongoing protection. Given these qualities, sideguard provides significant protection even in a secondary collision with the car subsequently rolling over after the initial impact. And in conjunction with the new RS bucket seats, the belt system offers such a high standard of safety and restraint in a collision from the side that the RS 4 does not even require side airbags in order to meet the strictest crash standards and requirements. The floor assembly, finally, provides a safe and sturdy foundation, extra-large sills with an aluminium profile inside serving, together with stable crossbars, to transmit and, respectively, absorb impact energy in a specific, predetermined process. Features and Equipment Light and comprehensive Although weight was one of the main considerations in the development of the Audi RS 4, the car boasts a wide and sophisticated range of equipment. Two features fitted as standard, for example, are the high-comfort automatic air conditioning and the Concert radio system. Central locking and electric window lifts, in turn, should be offered as a matter of course in this segment. Aluminium pedals accentuate the sporting character of the RS 4 and serve at the same time to save even more weight. The acoustic parking system front and rear, in turn, protects the car from unwanted scratches when parking, and the particularly powerful xenon plus headlights ensure optimum visibility whenever required. The “RS” symbol is to be admired not only on the sports leather steering wheel tapering down at the bottom, but also on the gearshift lever knob in leather with its aluminium look and on the trim strips in the door cut-outs. Two of the functions controlled directly from the ergonomically designed sports steering wheel are the lap timer and the sports button. Variable DRC Dynamic Ride Control, finally, raises driving behaviour to an even higher standard by significantly reducing both body roll and dive. The Audi RS 4 comes on specially developed 18-inch cast aluminium wheels in five-arm design. As an option, the particularly demanding purchaser also has the choice of 19-inch wheels in seven-arm double-spoke design, again combining the benefits of low weight with beautiful looks. Audi offers a wide range of special equipment on the RS, including, inter alia, Audi’s navigation system plus, the Symphony radio, various types of exterior mirrors (as an option also folding in when required), as well as sports suspension plus. The comfort package comprises amenities such as cruise control as well as heated seats at the front. Given all these qualities, the Audi RS 4 combines the performance of a sports car with the superior level of equipment of a premium saloon. Without having to forego any of the features and creature comforts they appreciate so much, the driver and his passengers will still enjoy driving pleasure in its purest form. RS Models The new Audi RS is the latest highlight from quattro GmbH. Indeed, ever since making its debut in 1999, the first RS 4, the first fully independent high-performance car developed by Audi’s sports-oriented subsidiary, not only hit the headlines but also re-interpreted the very definition of high-performance motoring. In a truly impressive manner, the first RS 4 proved the great potential offered by Audi’s new sports car concept for the future. But even the first RS model still developed and built by Audi itself thrilled fans and aficionados everywhere: The RS 2 Avant immediately caught the attention of experts through its outstanding performance. Launched in 1994, this five-cylinder turbo-powered performance car remained in production for well over a year. Engine output was 262 kW or 315 bhp even back then, no less then 2,881 purchasers opting for this sports car based on the Audi 80 Avant. Today the RS 2 has for a long time been a highly coveted classic with a large group of fans and enthusiasts. The first generation of the RS 4 already showed what every RS is able to offer today: the features that make this car so unique – the uncompromising combination of emotions and functions. And even the very first Audi RS 4 Avant thrilled customers through its high standard of family orientation and everyday motoring qualities blended with driving performance offered up to that time only by the most thoroughbred sports cars. Given this outstanding success, quattro GmbH was prompted to develop further RS models. And although the RS 4 remained in production for only slightly over one year, more than 6,000 thrilled purchasers opted for this sports car in its distinctive Avant look. The subsequent RS 6 also won over a large group of thrilled enthusiasts very quickly, quattro GmbH even building a limited edition RS 6 plus with maximum engine output of 480 bhp. The RS 6 was incidentally the first RS model to be sold by Audi in both saloon and Avant guise. This successful combination is now being continued with the new RS 4, worldwide sales of the RS 6 and RS 6 plus amounting to more than 8,000 units. Creating the new Audi RS 4, quattro GmbH has proven once again that there is no need for compromise in developing a sports car fully suited for everyday motoring. Indeed, more than virtually any other models, the RS versions highlight the technical and technological skills and abilities of Audi, conveying a clear message to the customer. The new Audi RS 4 also comes with a wide range of innovative technical features and emphasises the strengths of the brand through the use of FSI technology and the new quattro generation. And at the same time Audi is taking a new approach with this outstanding model, for example by introducing the high engine-speed concept already tested successfully in motorsport. The most essential point to quattro GmbH in all of its cars is to consistently maintain a well-balanced overall concept. So far Audi has always offered the RS driver perfect and highly emotional driving machines with a high level of everyday motoring quality just right for a growing group of thrilled fans in the market. And Audi quattro GmbH will continue this philosophy with the new RS 4. Responsible also for the “S line”, “Audi exclusive”, and “Accessories” special features and product lines within the Audi Group, quattro GmbH makes a significant contribution in upgrading Audi’s high level of sporting performance and the dynamic image of the brand. The equipment, data and prices stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted. SPECS: Audi RS4 For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left. For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.