Caught in the classifieds: 2006 Audi RS4 Quattro
If you want a fast, comfortable, and luxurious executive saloon, the Audi RS4 is just one of a handful of cars which fit the bill. Initially launched in 1999 on the B5 Audi A4 platform, the original RS4 was one of the quickest performance cars in its day. Packing a 2.7 L twin-turbo V6, it was able to keep up with and demolish most sports cars in its time.
Because Audi decided not to offer an RS4 based on the B6 platform, there was a 5-year hiatus until we were given a brand new RS product in 2006. Based on the B7 generation Audi A4, the latest RS4 deviated from the original RS4 formula by quite a bit.
For reasons which I'll get to in a moment, the Audi RS4, especially this B7 generation, is still considered as one of the greatest RS products to ever come out of Quattro GmbH.
Obviously, the RS4 was offered in both saloon and estate variants, but since a fast estate car is much cooler, that's what I've chosen to highlight today. Because automatics of this era were generally quite sloppy and poor, I'm really glad Audi decided to only offer it as a manual car.
This particular example highlighted in our ‘Caught in the classifieds’ section has 106,000 miles on the clock and it was built in 2006. It's currently offered on our website for just under £15,500, making it excellent value for money.
I realise that that's a considerable amount to pay for a car that's essentially 14 years old, but then again, look at what you're getting in return. Plus, these cars have already bottomed out in terms of depreciation, so it'll likely be worth as much as it is right now should you decide to sell it a few years down the line.
Design-wise, the B7 generation of the Audi A4 is still one of the most gorgeous cars Audi have ever made, possibly with the exception of the R8. It looks timeless and elegant even today, perhaps even more than it once used to, as we now witness Audi and other major car brands uglify more and more cars from their current line-up.
If you love understated performance and stealthily flying under the radar, then you'll definitely love the B7 RS4. In contrast to its BMW M3 and C63 rivals, the RS4 looks just a bit subdued and slightly tame. I've chosen this particular example because it's been completely blacked out, from the wheels all the way to the windows and even the repainted chrome accent trims.
That being said, it's still an aggressive-looking car, especially to petrolheads who know what they're looking at. The wheel arches have a subtle flair to them, the rear twin exhaust outlets are a major giveaway, and so are the various RS and Quattro badges scattered throughout the car.
Inside, the RS4 is largely the same as its Audi A4 sibling. That means you get a ton of space in the cabin with excellent headroom and legroom, and this being an estate version, the boot is massive as well. This is easily one of the best performance family cars ever made, possibly except the Audi RS6 and a few other AMG products from Mercedes.
Although the cockpit design in the RS4 is the same as it is in the regular A4, you do get a couple of special features, especially in the areas which truly matter. The seats, for instance, are amazingly supportive and yet comfortable at the same time. These are some of the best seats you'll ever find on any performance car, and I'm including modern RS products in that comparison.
The steering wheel is exactly the right size and thickness, unlike modern RS wheels. I love the simple gear stick as well. It's a real joy to use and row through the gears.
Engine and Performance
The B7 RS4 is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.2 L V8 producing 420 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. It'll sprint to 62 mph in just 4.8 seconds, provided you know how to shift properly, and flat out you'll be going at 155 mph mainly due to an electronic limiter. What's more impressive is the fact that it'll do 0 to 124 mph in 16.6 seconds.
Obviously, being a Quattro product, the RS4 is equipped with a permanent all-wheel-drive system. What that means is come rain or shine, the RS4 or will always remain one of the quickest cars on the road on any given stretch of tarmac.
For being such a large estate car, the RS4 is surprisingly nimble and agile. It obviously won't oversteer like its M3 and C63 rivals will, but on the flip side, it has a way of extracting performance from the surface the others can only dream of. If you want a safe, planted performance car, the RS4 is your only choice, as it will fill you up with confidence even in the trickiest of weather conditions.
My favourite RS4 party piece is the engine note. This 4.2 L V8 loves to be revved out and it absolutely screams at the top of the rev range. Because most of the power and the available torque is located past 5000 RPM, you have to rev it out to extract maximum performance.
Because of this, you get a car with a dual personality. When you're just cruising at low RPM, it drives no more different than a regular A4. When you want to have some fun, however, and you decide to open it up, it turns into a complete animal.
Model: Audi RS4
Trim: Estate Quattro
Why buy one
I have to be honest in saying that the BMW M3 is probably one of my all-time favourite cars. Despite that though, even I will admit that the RS4 is the more rounded performance car, especially in this estate variant, which the M3 can't match. If you've got the cash and are in the market for such a vehicle, I'd say check out the used Audi RS4 cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk right now.
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