2008 Audi RS4 – Wheels.ca

28 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Audi RS4 – Wheels.ca

2008 Audi RS4

Moments after picking up the 2008 RS4 at Audi central, I#039;m coursing the on-ramp to the westbound 401, gently probing this über-sedan#039;s considerable grip.

Moments after picking up the 2008 RS4 at Audi central, I#039;m coursing the on-ramp to the westbound 401, gently probing this über-sedan#039;s considerable grip.

The steering feels meaty and direct, and initial understeer turns into a neutral and unerring arc as I roll on the power and all four 19-inch P Zero Pirellis claw at the tarmac.

G-forces build and the 4.2 L direct-injection V8 starts making the most delicious noises. Sweet.

Time to let a few more of these 420 ponies out of the corral and #8230; whoaaa!

Rounding the last few meters of the ramp I#039;m facing a police officer with her radar gun pointed at me.

I jump on the binders, scrub off a fair whack of velocity and rumble by#8230; the picture of innocence.

Well, I may have looked innocent, but this Audi RS4 had felony written all over it.

Audi has knocked one out of the park – building a ripsnorting sports sedan that can run with the BMW M3. It looks the part, too, advertising its formidable talents with blistered fenders, a bulldog stance and well-integrated body add-ons. It stares you down like a body builder in an Armani suit.

This is the last year for this RS4, built as it is on the outgoing A4 platform. Like a backward Porsche 911, the RS4#039;s engine (same unit as in the two-seat R8 sports car) hangs out beyond the front axle – not an ideal layout as it creates an imbalance that promotes understeer.

But Audi engineers, diligently working against the laws of physics, have managed to pretty much erase the inherent bugaboos in this car.

Also helping out is the RS-exclusive Dynamic Ride Control, which reduces pitch and body roll by interconnecting the dampers via a central valve.

If you could level any criticism at the RS4 (and this is a bit like looking for a zit on Halle Berry), it would be that it is perhaps too capable. This is a point-and-shoot car if ever there was one.

It never seems to run out of grip (in the dry, anyway), and despite the claimed rear-drive bias, you#039;re hard-pressed to find a whiff of oversteer. The quattro all-wheel drive allows you to put the power down wherever and whenever you want.

You#039;d expect a car with this much grip and body control to give a harsh ride, but it is surprisingly compliant.

Of course, the soul of the RS4 is its engine, and this naturally aspirated, direct injection 4163 cc V8 is a honey.

Twist the key and it barks to life and settles into a busy mechanical idle – the twin titanium-look tailpipes emitting a velvety baritone rumble.

There#039;s a button on the console marked with an S (for Sport). Push it. Throttle response quickens and the exhaust gets louder.

With 420 hp on tap, Audi has crossed the magical 100-hp/L threshold. The engine#039;s max torque of 317 lb.-ft. arrives at 5500 rpm, but 90 per cent is available from 2250 to 7600 rpm, making for a smooth and linear power delivery.

It#039;s when the tach needle starts chasing the 8250 rpm red line that all hell breaks loose.

The engine bellows a hair-raising howl, and with each upshift of the slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, the V8 lands back in the sweet spot, ready for another go.

It#039;s an addictive ritual, and one that will have you blowing by the 100 km/h mark in just 4.8 seconds.

The only fly in the ointment is pedal placement – heel and toe downshifting is nigh impossible.

The huge vented and cross-drilled discs (apparently lifted from the Lamborghini Gallardo) provide eye-popping stopping power – perfect for those times when, ahem, encountering the local constabulary.

Being an Audi (and an expensive one), the luxury quotient is high and interior quality unassailable.

The current A4 cabin may not be the most adventurous in design, but this car#039;s piano black trim and cream-coloured leather 12-way Recaro sport seats provided a most agreeable ambience. The perforated leather-trimmed wheel feels wonderful in hand.

So does the RS4 make much sense in this time of growing environmental awareness and roadside impoundments?

It sure didn#039;t during day one of my watch, as I encountered two more radar traps on my journey home.

The problem with the RS4 is that licence-busting speeds are so easily attainable, and with such little drama, you#039;re just a Nike-twitch away from a potentially nasty situation.

But let#039;s put all that tiresome left-brain chatter to rest. This is a truly spectacular car. Period.

As far as compact, luxurious, all-weather four-seat missiles go, the 2008 Audi RS4 is in a class by itself.

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