San Francisco: The
Audi RS 4 looks pretty much like the more mundane Audi A4, but the
resemblance is only skin deep. The RS 4 is closer to a purebred race car
than it is to a family grocery-getter.
With carbon fiber trim
and firm Recaro leather seats, the Audi RS 4 has a cabin that's all
business. It shows off Audi's excellent fit and finish, and it even
comes with a built-in lap timer for the racetrack.
It's just after
daybreak on the mountain roads of western Arkansas, and I'm having one
of the most disappointing moments of my life. This is supposed to be a
heavenly time, seeing how I'm driving an amazing, 420-horsepower sedan
from Audi through one of the most beautiful landscapes in America.
It's the perfect place
to test the limits of this $73,000 chunk of German engineering with
ridiculously wide tires, cross-drilled brake discs the size of Montana,
and a V8 engine that could rattle windows for miles around. This should
be my dream come true.
Only it's not. I can't
see a darned thing because I'm driving through low-hanging clouds,
forcing me to go 15 mph in a car designed to travel 10 times that fast
on the Autobahn. It's my own personal hell.
Finally, the road
starts to descend through the clouds and I see a little bit of sunlight.
As soon as I can tell what's in front of me, lush hills splattered with
ribbons of asphalt stretching to the horizon, I stomp on the gas to see
what this car can do.
Instantly my kidneys
are pinned to the back of the Recaro driver's seat as the V8 starts to
howl, screaming with joy as it celebrates an escape from automotive
Alcatraz. Its primal yell echoes down in the valley below, waking up any
poor souls who wanted to sleep late this Saturday morning. Finally,
finally! my dream is coming true.
The Audi was created
for moments like this. Called the RS 4, this four-door machine is more
closely related to a race car than to the boring things you see parked
at the grocery store every day.
Its body looks
relatively mundane, with the same basic, classy lines of the Audi A4,
but beneath those familiar curves lies a very unfamiliar monster.
Everything about the RS
4 was designed for speed, pure and simple. The big, 4.2-liter engine
uses the same direct-injection technology as Audi's all-conquering Le
Mans race cars.
Virtually every part on
the RS 4 was checked to reduce weight, including through the use of an
aluminum hood and body panels. It has an advanced all-wheel-drive system
that transfers power to the pavement with a mind-blowing level of grip,
even on damp roads. It has a wonderfully firm suspension that keeps it
perfectly composed through high-speed sweepers, letting the driver know
exactly what each wheel is doing at any given moment.
Of course, with 420
horses on tap, it helps to have good brakes. With eight-piston calipers
on the front brakes, that's right, eight, and with huge discs, at all
four corners, the RS 4 doesn't just stop quickly. It stops so fast
you'll want to check the windshield to be sure your brains aren't
splattered across it.
If there's a downside
to this car, it's that it's very difficult to drive slowly. And I mean
that in two ways.
For one, it has so much
power and such a responsive drivetrain that it punishes every little
mistake you make. If you let out the clutch just slightly too fast when
pulling away from a stoplight, the car jerks forward so suddenly that
you hardly know what happened. This isn't a car you'd want to drive
Grandma in ... unless you wanted your inheritance a tad early.
For another, it's
designed to travel so wildly quick that you lose all sense of how fast
you're actually going. Traveling 80 mph in the RS 4 literally feels like
traveling 30 mph in an average car. Even when you reach speeds well into
the triple digits, it still feels like a normal car does at 50.
It's really, honestly,
that stable. I could tell you how fast I drove the RS 4 on those
Arkansas roads. But I won't. You simply wouldn't believe me.
What was tested?
The 2007 Audi RS 4 with a base price of $66,000. Options: Premium
package ($4,700). Price as tested including a $720 destination charge
and a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax: $73,520.
Why avoid it?
It's very difficult to drive at legal speeds.
Why buy it? It's
an enthusiast's dream car. Everything about it is designed for speed and
it even comes with a built-in lap timer. By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Audi Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The Audi RS 4 is an unbelievable
Topic: The 2007 Audi RS 4
Word Count: 855
Photo Caption: The 2007 Audi RS 4
Photo Credits: Audi RS 4 Internet Media
Series #: 2007 - 60
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2007 Audi RS 4
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2007 Audi RS 4