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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
The RS4 puts Audi in the running for compact übercar bragging rights
It's tough looking for sure but it's also got the moves to back it up
“Every turn brings a new thrill in the RS4”
The 2008 Audi RS4 gets its motivation from a massively powerful V-8 engine and has the agility to dance with the best European sports sedans. Those seeking one of the best-performance drives on the road today won’t be disappointed with the Audi RS4.
According to reviewers at Cars.com, the 2008 Audi RS4 boasts a “4.2-liter V-8 [that] makes 420 horsepower and 317 pounds-feet of torque,” which is “an increase of 80 hp and 15 pounds-feet of torque over the S4.” Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com reveal that the engine is an absolute beast, and Edmunds claims “the 2008 Audi RS4 has no problem catapulting itself off the line or out of a corner.” Car and Driver says that even the Audi RS4 Cabriolet, which is 300 pounds heavier than the sedan, is “good for 0-to-60 toots in 4.8 or so seconds,” which compares favorably with the 4.5 seconds posted by the Audi RS4 sedan. Even the exhaust note of the engine wins over reviewers, with Car and Driver finding that “the 4.2 screaming to its 8250-rpm redline is one of the tastier exhaust symphonies this side of $100,000.” Audi 2008 RS4 drivers who are just dying to push the car to its limits might be disappointed to find the 2008 Audi RS4 has an “electronically governed 155 mph top speed,” according to ForbesAutos, but they add “it’s been reliably reported” that “the car will hit an indicated 165 mph.”
The Audi 2008 RS4, in either sedan or Cabriolet form, comes with just one available transmission. ForbesAutos describes it as “a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission” with “no Direct Sequential Gearbox or automatic option.” Edmunds notes all-weather capabilities are enhanced by the fact that the transmission on the Audi RS4 “sends the power to all four wheels through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which has a 40/60 front-to-rear power split in this application.” Cars.com reviewers love the transmission, which they call “precise” and say “moves easily from gear to gear” with “rather light” clutch pedal effort.
While that big, powerful V-8 engine may be a boon for enthusiasts, it certainly isn’t one to brag about to the environmentalists in the family. The 2008 Audi RS4 sucks gas at an impressive rate, and the EPA estimates the RS4 sedan will get just 13 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The 2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet is slightly worse, managing a meager 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
Reviewers are impressed by the engine and acceleration in the 2008 Audi RS4, but they are absolutely floored by the car’s impressive handling. Cars.com loves that “the RS4 also features the Dynamic Ride Control adaptive suspension,” which they say “is designed to lessen body roll as well as acceleration squat.” The DRC seems to work, since Edmunds calls the RS4 “a composed master” in the turns “despite its hefty curb weights.” The steering also gets high marks from reviewers, and Edmunds goes so far as to say the “steering feel at speed is better than any Audi [they’ve] ever driven,” and Cars.com reports the “variable-assist steering system provides plenty of boost for easy parking lot maneuverability, but once the car is up to speed the assistance lessens.”
Ride quality is the one area where reviewers express some disappointment with the 2008 Audi RS4. ForbesAutos feels the 2008 Audi RS4 will “sharply but not painfully [communicate] bumps in the road, at least on manicured German roads,” but Cars.com says “that firmness will become an issue if the roads you drive on are in poor repair,” since the 2008 Audi RS4 “crashes over expansion joints on the highway with seemingly enough force to knock your fillings loose.” On the positive side, all reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the brakes on the 2008 Audi RS4, and Automobile points out that the brakes, which are “borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo,” boast “huge rotors” that “kill energy with the finiteness of a master switch.”
The 2008 Audi RS4 offers impeccable steering feel, neck-snapping acceleration, and a sporty but firm ride.