Driven: Audi RS4

Driven: Audi RS4

Some cars you know are going to be terrific driving machines. Others come from nowhere and bite you on the nose, such is the surprise they bring. It's 2005, and Audi has just launched a new RS4. It's a sedan, unlike the previous bearer of the name which was an wagon with a twin-turbo V6. That one was one of the more soporific ways to experience serious acceleration and a stratospheric top speed; few cars were better at sucking out thrills.

Unlike some I wasn't a great fan of the straight-five, Porsche-developed RS2 that preceded it, either. You could drive it for days and not realize it had a turbocharger, so chasmic was its lag. But I digress. R8 apart, Audi was not noted in the mid 2000s for cars a driver could really love, although the V8 RS6 showed some off-message promise. It had suspension with pipes interconnecting diagonally-opposite wheels via damper valves designed to counter pitch and roll by closing the valves when needed, and the 2005 RS4 inherited this so-called Dynamic Ride Control.

That RS4 also had the V8 engine shared with the R8, a madly-revving thing of 4.2 short-stroke liters and 420bhp. Plus a manual gearbox. It was a total hoot, with a sound like a Weslake-head GT40 and handling so interactive that Audi's mainstream chassis engineers must surely have been extraordinarily rendered somewhere far away from Quattro Gmbh's Neckarsulm base come sign-off time.

So that was then. This is now, and we have a new RS4 which

Published Dec 7th, 2015