Future of the Audi RS4
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Posted 03 August 2007 - 06:10 PM
Oh, no! The blogosphere has been bleating about next year's demise of the RS4 sedan, blaming it on the new RS4 cabrio and the upcoming RS6. Audi unveils the RS6 this fall at Frankfurt, probably in avant (wagon) form, although the U.S. probably gets the sedan only.
Fact is, the RS4 sedan is only going away until after Audi introduces an all-new A4, on which it's based. The new A4 launches this fall and will be sold alongside remaining RS4s (based off the current A4 platform). The RS4 cabrio gives Audi a chance to extend "buildout" of the high-performance car-use of remaining component stock-after the base A4 model has changed. Only 300 or so RS4 cabrios are destined for the United States, arriving this fall ($89,675). The salient goodies include the 420-horse/317-pound-foot 4.2-liter FSI V-8, six-speed manual, quattro AWD with asymmetrical dynamic torque split, 255/35-19 performance tires on RS-style wheels, and tuned sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, 14.4-inch front and 12.8-inch rear brake rotors. The RS4 sedans get new features for the end of its run in 2008, including a $750 Titanium option package.
Now for more good news: Audi wants 450 horsepower for the next RS4, despite tightened European CO2 standards. That challenges BMW, which worked to get 420 horses out of its new M3 V-8, up from an expected 400. Mercedes-Benz is in this game too, with its C63 AMG (see horsepower in our "First Drive" story, page 70). The next RS4 will bow at least a year after the new A4-or fall of 2008 at the earliest.
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