From this summer, Audi will for the first time be offering additional versions of the RS 4. Following the successful market launch of the saloon at the end of last year, the Avant and Cabriolet versions will be appearing at dealers from the summer. This will round off the RS 4 family. This highly emotionally charged, high-performance product from quattro GmbH unites the characteristics of a sports car with supreme everyday qualities. This is as true of the saloon version as it is of the Avant and the four-seater Cabriolet.
The RS 4 has numerous new features to distinguish it. Most notably, there is the V8 engine with an output of 420PS. This is the first time that a manufacturer has combined petrol direct injection with a high-revving concept. Engine speeds of up to 8,250 rpm are possible. Another highlight is the suspension with the latest generation of quattro permanent four-wheel drive and Dynamic Ride Control. The Cabriolet and Avant have likewise been subjected to a rigorous regime of weight reduction measures to make sure that they are equally sporty. Even though the engineers have systematically applied lightweight construction principles, all RS 4 versions feature luxurious equipment that singles out the Audi RS 4 as a high-performance vehicle suitable for everyday driving.
The Audi RS 4 Cabriolet
Never before has an open-top production Audi had so much power on tap: the RS 4 Cabriolet puts the brand at the forefront of the four-seater convertible segment. The 420PS V8 engine transforms the open-top RS 4 into a veritable sports car that is also ideal for relaxed cruising. As well as sporty performance, the RS 4 Cabriolet treats its passengers to an acoustic experience of the finest calibre, because the unmistakable sound of the V8 engine is enough to set the pulse of any car enthusiast racing. Particularly with its roof open, the hearty sound of the eight-cylinder engine reaches the occupants’ ears unfiltered.
Visually, the Cabriolet is recognisable at first glance as a member of the
RS 4 family. The rhombus-pattern single-frame grille, the additional air outlets and the new RS 4 wheels lend the open-top four-seater a highly dynamic flavour.
Inside, the seats are the main feature distinguishing the RS 4 Cabriolet from the Avant and saloon. Whereas the other two body versions are equipped with RS bucket seats, the Cabriolet comes with sports seats as standard, though RS bucket seats can be ordered as an option. The most important information units in the Cabriolet are combined beneath a domed cover.
The electro-hydraulic hood can be opened entirely automatically in 21 seconds. The roof can be operated at up to speeds of 30 km/h. This makes it possible to open or close the roof when out and about in town, for instance, or before parking the car. The glass rear window is heated. This guarantees a clear view to the rear in all weather. The acoustic hood, a standard feature of the RS 4 Cabriolet, sets new standards for soft tops. New fabrics of a higher material density and an additional cushioned mat around the C-post keep the noise level inside the car with the hood almost on a par with the saloon.
As with the saloon and Avant, the ride height of the Cabriolet has been lowered by 30 millimetres compared with the A4 Cabriolet. This emphasises the car’s sporty appearance.
Even if the Audi Cabriolet’s weight has been rigorously trimmed down, in common with all other RS 4 models no corners have been cut with either its equipment or its standards of safety.
The further improved crash strength of the latest A4 Cabriolet generation has likewise benefited the open-top RS 4. The front and side airbags are standard features, as are the rollover bars that extend behind the rear seats in the event of the car overturning.
The 420PS V8 revs up to a speed of 8,250 rpm. With its displacement of 4,163 cm3, this outstanding engine breaks through the magic barrier for a production saloon of 100 bhp per litre. The highly compact power unit reaches its peak torque of 430 Nm at 5,500 rpm. At least 90 percent of the maximum torque is available between 2,250 and 7,600 rpm. The result is excellent pulling power at all times, enabling the driver to drive in a relaxed style without frequent gear changes.
Audi’s RS 4 saloon employs groundbreaking FSI technology. The petrol direct-injection unit delivers enhanced power output based on more efficient combustion of the fuel/air mixture. The engine is also more responsive. The performance of the RS 4 clearly demonstrates this progress: it reaches the 100 km/h mark in 4.8 seconds (Avant 4.9 seconds, Cabriolet 4.9 seconds), and 200 km/h in 16.6 seconds (16.9 seconds; 17.5 seconds). On all three versions, the speed is governed electronically when the needle reaches 250 km/h.
Audi has deployed the high-revving engine principle for the first time in the RS 4. The advantages of this principle are superior power output at high engine speeds, a smooth power flow and eager responsiveness all across the revs range. Further fortes are the car’s outstanding agility and fast-revving response as well as the kind of racing-style engine sound that drivers of such cars simply expect.
As a result of these qualities, the eight-cylinder power unit provides maximum thrust and performance in virtually all driving situations. The constant flow of power from bottom-end speeds all the way up to 8,250 rpm is equally appropriate for a relaxing driving style with minimum gearshifting and for exploits worthy of the racetrack.
The V8 power unit is ultra-compact in its dimensions, fitting snugly into the engine compartment of the RS 4 without necessitating any modifications to the body. The camshaft and ancillaries, with the exception of the alternator, are all driven by a chain for easy maintenance. An all-new development, the eight-cylinder unit powering the RS 4 includes such features as modified pistons and con rods, a new crankshaft together with its bearings, and new cylinder heads.
A dual-branch exhaust system with enlarged pipes provides even higher power output. These extensive measures have enabled the 4,163 cm3 engine to break through the magical 100PS per litre barrier.
The car’s power-to-weight ratio is also impressive: 254PS per tonne is a figure that only the most thoroughbred sports cars were able to offer just a few years ago. The figure for the Avant is only slightly higher.
Audi translates the engine’s power into locomotion in typical style: the latest generation of quattro permanent four-wheel drive, which featured first in the RS 4 saloon and offers a asymmetric/dynamic torque split of 40 (front axle) to 60 (rear axle) in conjunction with the self-locking centre differential, is one of the main reasons why the RS 4 is still able to provide traction when other drive concepts have long since reached their limits. quattro drive is further enhanced by the DRC suspension system (Dynamic Ride Control), which significantly reduces the rolling and pitching movements of the vehicle about its transverse axis and rear axle.
The 30 millimetre lower ride height compared with an Audi A4, the wider track at the front and rear axle and the sporty spring and damper settings help the RS 4 to meet the developers’ ambitious handling objectives and place it in the realm of a genuine sports car.
The brakes, too, represent new dimensions in their innovation. Floating, perforated, ventilated brake discs measuring 365 millimetres in diameter are fitted at the front, and there are likewise perforated, ventilated brake discs at the rear with a diameter of 324 millimetres. The specifically flow-enhanced brake ventilation incorporating NACA ducts on the underbody of the car ensures optimum cooling of the brakes, however high a load they are subjected to.
The latest generation of ESP has been modified specifically to suit the particular properties of this high-performance vehicle. It now intervenes later and for shorter periods. 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.
The servotronic steering has been specially tuned to the requirements of a sports car. With its direct response and short travel, it is outstandingly well suited to the overall character of all RS 4 versions.
Audi has likewise adapted the six-speed gearbox to the handling requirements of a sports car. With its precision navigating through the shift gate and its short travel, it enhances driving pleasure and prompts the driver to change gear more often than the universally free-revving engine actually needs.
Light and comprehensive
Although weight was one of the main considerations in the development of the Audi RS 4, the car boasts an extensive range of equipment. Standard features include a deluxe automatic air conditioning system, as well as the concert radio system.
Central locking and electric windows are also featured as a matter of course in a car of this class. The Audi parking system at the front and rear helps avoid irritating dents and scratches when parking.
The high-intensity xenon plus headlights provide optimum visibility. The RS logo is worked into the flat-bottomed RS sports steering wheel as well as into the seat upholstery and door sills.
Two of the functions controlled directly from the ergonomically designed RS sports steering wheel are the lap timer and the Sport button. Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) provides sporty, dynamic handling by significantly reducing body roll and pitch, while nevertheless providing an exceptionally high standard of ride comfort for a sports car. All RS 4 models come with 18-inch cast aluminium wheels of 5-spoke design. As an optional extra, there are 19-inch wheels of a double 7-spoke design. Here, too, weight saving is combined with sporty design.
There are countless echoes of motor racing around the interior of the RS 4 models. These include the extensive use of carbon fibre and aluminium. The engine is started at the push of a button.
In the saloon and Avant, the front passengers are accommodated on sports bucket seats. These provide maximum support even when the car is driven energetically, for instance round a racetrack. On these seats, the width of the seat base and seat back can be adjusted electrically as preferred. Even greater lateral support can be obtained by pressing the Sport button. As well as calling up a modified, more spontaneous throttle response and an even more sporty sound from the exhaust system, this function inflates the seat side sections, supporting the driver even more securely.
The Cabriolet is equipped with leather-upholstered sports seats, which likewise provide very good support but also take the higher comfort requirements of Cabriolet drivers into account. Here too, RS bucket seats are available as an option.
Audi offers an extensive range of optional extras for the RS 4. They include the navigation system plus and the symphony radio system. On the RS 4 saloon and RS 4 Avant, various exterior mirror versions (optionally also with fold-in function), the sports suspension plus and the comfort package are also available. This comfort package comprises features such as cruise control and heated front seats.
For customer preferences above and beyond this range, quattro GmbH offers an extensive customisation service by the name of Audi exclusive.