As you might’ve seen whilst following the Frankfurt auto show, Audi’s boffins at the RS division have unveiled their new Swiss Army Knife; the latest version of the widely loved RS4.
The Audi RS4 to me is like getting a lap dance from someone who I’ve known for a long time.
Comfortable pleasure is the best way to describe it.
Unlike other fast cars, it’s one you could really genuinely use every single day, without any sacrifices.
Whenever I see one, I tip my hat to the owner and think; “Sir, you could’ve had an M3, but you thought it through and realised what really matters!”
The new B9 however, isn’t really boiling my blood for some reason. Here’s why:
The Engine Doesn’t Seem Heroic
Powering the B9 Audi RS4 is exactly the same engine as it’s sister- the RS5. A 2.9 litre twin turbocharged V6 producing 444bhp and 442 lb ft of torque.
It’s clever too: like AMG’s ‘hot V’ power-train, this V6 has the two turbos mounted within the heart of the combustion chamber, which effectively helps to reduce lag.
Clever thinking, but the overarching reason why I loved the old B8 RS4 so much was because of it’s howling 4.2 litre V8. An engine which obliterates carbon dioxide, and turns it into noise.
When I had the chance to experience that car, I instantly fell in love with the power band and quality of that fabulous engine. You could almost imagine it at 8000rpm barrelling down the Autobahn with Jason Statham weaving past Polish trucks.
This V6 however, doesn’t boil my blood in the world of the truly great engines. It almost sounds too similar to the considerably less expensive S4 (which it’s derived from, just with tweaked valve positions and a modified crankshaft).
But from what I’ve experienced with the B8, the sound and feel of the engine really defined the car’s fabulous characteristics. Although I’ve not experienced the B9 yet, I’m not getting the feeling I’ll enjoy it as much.
Will It Be Too Competitive?
What set apart the new RS5 from the old one was the fact that the power sent to the transfer box was far more rear-biased than it used to be in the old V8.
The same setup is found on the new B9 RS4, which coincidentally means that the chassis has bee tweaked for one thing- agility.
Fast Audis of old used to understeer like pigs, but the B8 proved that those days were gone. I was happy that Audi made a car that was agile enough to get round a corner quickly, yet comfortably enough to not make it quicker than an M3.
I’ve always liked Audi’s RS range because they focused on making a powerful car, that you can comfortably use in any realistic weather condition. Something that AMG or M could only dream of!
The thing is, with this new rear-biased Quattro system in the new B9, even more power is sent to the back than in the B8. Which means it’s destined to set lap times comparable to it’s rivals.
And whilst the Nurburgring chart may look impressive, how on earth is that going to cope when the roads become white and icy?
Audi have to remember that people who buy RS cars literally use them every day, not as a track tool which can also drop the kids to school.
What I’m feeling, is that the RS engineers at Audi are focusing that this, alongside the RS5 are technically better and faster than their rivals.
And that’s the wrong way to do it, if you asked me. A car like the RS4 shouldn’t have to be compared with something like a BMW M3, because both are completely different animals.
Audi shouldn’t be making lap-time focused sports cars, that’s BMW or Alfa’s job. Audi should be able to make a fast car that sticks 2 fingers up at lap times, yet pulls a smug face when the weather gets seriously harsh.
That’s exactly why I loved the old B8 RS4 so much! It had the right recipe, yet with a brilliant 4.2 litre naturally aspirated V8.
So What Do You Think?
So, that concludes why I’m not convinced about the new B9 Audi RS4. It’s bound to be focused, too rear biased and too competitive with rivals.
Not to mention (what I think) is a disappointing new engine.
But then again, if you disagree, please leave a comment below!