What Changed for 2008:
- Available in a limited-run convertible
- Approximately 300 RS4 Cabriolets to be sold in the U.S.
- New Titanium package
- New Audi Exclusive package
- Sirius satellite radio standard on RS4 sedan
- Bluetooth phone compatibility standard on RS4 sedan
The German automaker known for its quattro all-wheel-drive system employs the initials "RS" to indicate a higher degree of performance and handling. When the RS4 sedan made its debut last year, the manufacturer touted it as the uber-hot-rod version of Audi's A4/S4 sedan, with a high-revving 420-hp V-8 engine and specially-tuned suspension with Dynamic Ride Control. For 2008, a limited-run convertible, known as the RS4 Cabriolet, joins the RS4 sedan.Model Lineup
The 2008 Audi RS4 is sold as a single model. The RS4 Sedan comes with power everything; leather sport seats with heat and power adjustment for driver and front passenger; dual-zone climate control; and 6-disc CD changer. An RS4 Premium package includes a navigation system, auto-dimming mirrors, heated rear seats, Bose stereo, and sunshades for the rear windows. The new Titanium package adds titanium-colored wheels and blacked-out interior and exterior trim, while the Audi Exclusive package includes red seats with black side bolsters and headrests and contrasting red piping; red door trim; red stitching on the shift boot and steering wheel; black interior trim; and special floor mats.
Because of the RS4 Cabriolet's limited production (Audi plans to sell around 300 examples in the U.S.), all vehicles will come with the same level of equipment: navigation system; heated front and rear seats; Bose stereo; memory for driver's seat and mirrors; active Bi-Xenon headlights; rear parking system; brushed aluminum interior trim (in place of the RS4 sedan's standard carbon-fiber trim); and an iPod adapter (in place of the sedan's 6-disc CD changer).Powertrain
The 2008 Audi RS4 is powered by a special, high-revving version of Audi's 4.2-liter V-8 with FSI direct fuel injection. The engine produces 420 hp at 7800 rpm and 317 lb.-ft. of torque at 5500 rpm with a 8250-rpm rev limiter. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission offered, and the RS4 uses Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system to deliver power to all four wheels. EPA fuel economy estimates for the RS4 Cabriolet were not available at the time of writing; estimates for the RS4 sedan are 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway.Safety
Front air bags are standard on the RS4; so are front-seat-mounted side air bags, two-row side curtain air bags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control; rear seat-mounted side air bags are optional. The RS4 Cabriolet features the same safety hardware except for the side curtain and rear-seat side air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) has not crash-tested a 2008 RS4; however, NHTSA has tested the structurally similar 2007 A4/S4 sedan. (The A4/S4 Cabriolet has not been tested.) Though not directly comparable, the A4/S4 sedan scored 4 out of a possible 5 stars for frontal impact; in the side-impact test, the score was a perfect 5 stars for the front passengers and 4 stars for the rear passengers. (It is not known if NHTSA's test vehicle was equipped with optional rear-seat-mounted side air bags.) For rollover resistance, the A4/S4 scored 4 stars.Technology
The RS4's 4.2-liter V-8 features FSI direct fuel injection, which injects the fuel directly into the cylinders (as opposed to traditional fuel injection, which sprays the fuel into the intake manifold, where it mixes with air and enters the cylinder via the intake port). Direct injection results in more complete combustion, which, the manufacturer claims yields better fuel economy, lower emissions, and snappier throttle response. The RS4 also features Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), which uses a central valve to link the diagonally-opposed shock absorbers (i.e. the left-front shock is connected to the right-rear and right-front is connected to left-rear). The system adjusts the shock valving according to the car's body motion, which Audi says will allow a drastic reduction in lean, squat and dive. The DRC system is entirely mechanical, with nary a microprocessor to be found.