Audi’s RS 4 Family is Now Complete


Audi RS4 cabriolet

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17th May, 2006

AUDI AG is this week launching, in Europe, its new RS 4 Avant and Cabriolet models, the latest high-performance products from quattro GmbH. The launch of these two models completes the company’s range of ultimate sports cars for everyday use.

New dimensions in driving dynamics, combined with innovative ideas – plus exciting styling for all three versions and a level of equipment that lives up to even the highest luxury performance standards - the new Audi RS 4 models, combine the thoroughbred character of a pedigree sports saloon with supreme, premium-calibre everyday suitability.

This is the first time that three new RS models have appeared simultaneously. Each version represents the crowning glory of the corresponding A4 car line.

The new Audi RS 4 incorporates countless new features, many of them with their origins in the world of motor sport. Most notably, there is the V8 engine with an output of 420 bhp. 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 with asymmetric/dynamic torque split and Dynamic Ride Control.

Like the RS 4 saloon, the Cabriolet and Avant have also been subjected to a rigorous regime of weight reduction measures to make sure that they are equally sporty. Despite the systematic application of 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 420 bhp V8 engine with a displacement of 4,163 cc breaks through the magic barrier for production saloons of 100 bhp per litre of swept volume. The highly compact power unit reaches its peak torque of 430 Nm at 5,500 rpm.

Some 90 percent of the total 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.

The Audi RS 4 saloon employs ground-breaking 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 particularly responsive.

Performance is correspondingly impressive: the saloon version reaches the 100 km/h mark in 4.8 seconds, and 200 km/h in 16.6 seconds. The top speed is governed electronically at 250 km/h.

The efficiency of FSI technology has already been demonstrated impressively in Audi’s four-time Le Mans winner, the Audi R8.

Another key requirement for the developers was an optimum power-to-weight ratio. It was important that the Audi RS 4 should not weigh a gramme more than it had to. The weight of practically every part was subjected to critical scrutiny. The front guards 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 figure truly reminiscent of a thoroughbred sports car which would not even have been conceivable for a mid-size saloon just a few years ago.

New quattro generation
The challenge is to transfer all this power to the road in the best way possible. For the last 25 years, Audi’s answer to all the particular requirements in this respect has been “quattro”. The latest generation of quattro permanent four-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential and offering an asymmetric/dynamic torque split of 40:60 (front:rear) is one of the main factors behind the ground-breaking performance of the sports suspension featured on the RS 4. Indeed, Audi quattro technology still provides traction when other drive concepts have long since come up against their limits. The quattro drive is further enhanced by DRC (Dynamic Ride Control), which significantly reduces both the rolling and pitching motions of the vehicle.

The performance of the brakes likewise represents the dawning of a new era. The 18-inch format provides optimum deceleration. The perforated ventilated brake discs at the front measure 365 millimetres in diameter, with similarly perforated ventilated brake discs at the rear in 324-millimetre 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 in line with the particular character and philosophy of the RS 4 models as high-performance vehicles. 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, including the traction control, can be completely deactivated, e.g. for use on a racetrack. All electronic control then ceases. The integral dry braking function provides added safety in wet weather. When the road is wet the brake pads are applied to the brake discs at regular intervals, unnoticed by the driver, and the brakes are dried.

An RS 4 constitutes racing technology in civilian garb. Visually, there is much that is reminiscent of the corresponding models in the Audi A4 car line. But the RS 4 models are more than just faster versions of Audi's successful midsize category. Both the technology beneath its bodywork and countless details of its exterior design drive this fact home.

The diamond-pattern radiator grille, the additional air inlets in the front end as well as wheels developed specifically for the RS 4 clearly differentiate the car from a standard Audi A4. Flared sills and lower door trims coordinated with the sills are other differentiating features. The newly designed rear apron with its two large tailpipes as well as the discreet but effective spoiler, integrated into the boot lid of the saloon, and the rear side panels all bear clear testimony to its dynamic potential.

The ride height has been lowered by 30 millimetres. The developers have also widened the front and rear track, resulting in a widening of the vehicle body, with correspondingly flared wheel arches. The car not only sits more unwaveringly on the road as a result, but also handles better.

The RS 4 Avant
Racing technology clad in civilian attire: a principle that applies both to the RS 4 Avant and to its saloon counterpart. The maxim that attractive estate cars are called Avant still applies. Sportiness and variability are combined in an impressive blend in the new Audi RS 4 Avant. This is the direct successor to the first RS 4 generation, which was available exclusively as an Avant. Although in production for only slightly more than one and a half years, sales of the first-generation RS 4 Avant topped 6,000 units. This statistic suitably reflects the immense popularity of the unique concept. With its functionality and outstanding driving characteristics, the new Audi RS 4 Avant surpasses the first generation in every respect. Even more sporty, spellbinding and practical: this Avant is a very special car.

The RS 4 Cabriolet
The RS 4 Cabriolet puts the brand at the forefront of the four-seater convertible segment. Audi has never before built such a powerful open-top car: the high-performance and above all high-torque V8 FSI engine transforms the open-top RS 4 into a 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.

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 up virtually 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 interior
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 fibre 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 support. 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 body. This is where the RS 4 Cabriolet differs from its Avant and saloon counterparts. The Cabriolet comes with sports seats as standard, though RS bucket seats can be ordered as an option. What all versions have in common is the flat-bottomed RS sports steering wheel and the engine start button on the centre console. These, too, provide echoes of motor sport, as do the aluminium pedals.

The Sport button on the steering wheel delivers even more dynamic performance when required. The accelerator characteristic changes progressively, so the engine is perceived to respond sooner.

A flap in the exhaust system opens to provide the RS 4 with an even sportier sound. As an additional feature, the side sections of the bucket seats are inflatable. This enhances lateral support. The steering wheel also provides buttons to operate the driver information system.

Attractive and convenient: the RS 4 Avant's load area combines an exclusive atmosphere with optimum usability and a versatile layout. The successful interior design and multifunctionality set new standards in this class.

A virtually level load area is provided by folding down the divided rear seat. The luggage cover and load guard are housed in a space-efficient housing that can be folded away together with the seat back. The variable load-area floor provides generous storage capacity. It can be opened wholly or in part, or removed altogether. The low loading lip and smooth side edges facilitate loading of objects of up to one metre in width. The smooth-surfaced inner side panels keep the load area looking neat and tidy. A full range of ingenious details such as a net for small items and lashing points enhance the practical utility of the Audi RS 4 Avant.

Driving the Audi RS 4 means driving a sports car without missing out on any of the comforts. 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 radio 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 as well as sports suspension with DRC variable damping. Furthermore, RS 4 drivers can opt for even higher levels of comfort in features such as the navigation system plus or the dynamic adaptive light technology.

Perfect for motor sport
It is hardly surprising that such an out-and-out sports car as the RS 4 will also become a regular feature in motor racing. In one of the few race series that still allow four-wheel-drive vehicles, Audi Sport Italia is competing with a near-series Audi RS 4 saloon.

Alongside Giorgio Sanna and Rinaldo Capello, Tamara Vidali is staging a comeback in the Italian Superstars Series. This Italian driver caused quite a stir in the world of super touring cars in the late 1990s in the Audi A4 quattro. At that time, the A4 quattro Supertouring dominated the field, with its 221 kW (300 bhp) two-litre, four-cylinder engine. Audi quattro enjoyed its most successful year ever in touring car competition in 1996. The A4 quattro competed in seven national championships: in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Belgium, South Africa and Australia – and won every single one of them.

The RS 4 in Australia
Audi Australia launched the RS 4 sedan in Australia this month. So impressive is its pedigree that around 50% of the company’s 2006 production was sold – sight unseen – before the vehicle was officially launched in Australia.

The RS 4 Avant will be launched in Australia in October 2006.

Audi RS4 Avant

Other Audi news: here.

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OF 2005!

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