Audi RS4:

My Favorite Rides of the Year

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At this time of year, everyone wants you to know about the best cars, trucks and SUVS of the year. AutoPacific has already taken a big step in that direction, but with a twist: Partnering with Intellichoice, AutoPacific shared the best vehicles of the year, as picked by you – and that’s saying something! The Awards are called the Motorist’s Choice Awards and this year included the Lexus LS430, The Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4×2, the Infiniti QX56 and the Audi A6 4.2 Quattro. Where else can you go to get the best possible input from your own peers about the latest vehicles in the marketplace? Since you’re here, we think you’ve come to the right place.
Watch the Podcast: AutoPacific & IntelliChoice Motorist’s Choice Awards

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My Personal Choices for Best Rides of the Year
It’s part of my job to drive a new vehicle nearly every week. In some cases, more than one vehicle at week gets the once-over, not only by me, but by a number of the analysts and experts at VehicleVoice and AutoPacific. As the resident speed-guy, I might have a slightly different take on things and while I do try to avoid going to court, I do need to put my foot down. And that’s part of what my list is about. The other things I’m taking into consideration are everyday drivability, cost, and return on investment. And as you know, everyone is concerned about fuel costs and gas mileage. Not me! Not yet… So, let’s get to it.


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Audi's Power Play 2007 – S6 & S8

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As luck would have it, VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staff had the chance to drive the Audi S6 and S8 this October, after spending time in the RS4 in spring and summer (click for our RS4 driving impressions and general overview). Audi’s high-performance sedans have provided some of our happiest driving hours this year.

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Hierarchy Weakens S6
Seemingly as an effort to carve out a niche for the S6, Audi has given it a middle of the road personality; it is sporting, but not as involving as the RS4. It is nearly as powerful as the S8, but doesn’t offer as much luxury or presence. The S6 is a nice, powerful sedan. But the more involving driving experience of the RS4 is worth the loss in interior room compared with S6. And the S6 doesn’t fill power and luxury shoes nearly as well as the S8, even keeping in mind the S8’s $92,000 base price.
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The 450HP S8 and the 435HP S6 share a 5.2L V10. The S6’s exhaust is tuned for a higher, sportier note, but the S8 gets a throatier and more pleasing rumble. The S8’s deeper tenor supports its powerful personality. Both are tuned to deliver 90 percent of their 398 pound-feet peak torque starting at 2500 rpm, so putting your foot in the throttle always brings the immediate rewards of acceleration and the pleasing exhaust notes.
The V10 gets a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that is smooth and quiet in both applications, and the S6’s Sport button can liven up the experience. All in all, I’d rather have a manual for the smaller S6. Its mix of a stiff chassis, superb sport seats, and power is let down by the lack of a manual and, by extension, a lack of driver involvement. The automatic is at home in the S8, with its more remote and powerful personality.
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Selecting an Audi S car, understated as they are, can bring the admiration of those who know what to look for and keep those who don’t away. One of the coolest elements of the S6 is the daytime running lights under each headlight; each bank has five white LEDs to honor the V10 under the hood.
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The S6 offers a usual Audi quality interior and uplevel equipment, with wonderful sport seats (the S8 seats tip to the comfortable side of the scale) wrapped in silk nappa leather. The S6 does not offer as many features as the S8, including the ultra-special Bang & Olufsen stereo, but does come with more stuff than the RS4.


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Let's Talk Cars: Exclusive Test Drives – Audi's New RS4 – M3 Killer – and a Big Red Fire Truck – Life Saver

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, exclusive, red hot test drives. And we’re not just being metaphorical here.

First, VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett revisits his racing past when he hops inside Audi’s new RS4 to spend a few hours roaring through Pasadena’s Old Town and whipping past the Rose Bowl. With 420 horses, the latest Quattro AWD setup and a purring/screaming V8 motor, the RS4 is everything you’d ever want a sports sedan to be, and then some. The sound alone makes this podcast special.

Plus, a ride in a big red fire truck, (a 1997 Seagrave Triple Apparatus to be exact) courtesy of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Find out what it’s like to maneuver a truck that weighs over 40,000 pounds through the crowded city streets of downtown Hollywood. Sparky says this is the best job in the Department.

Yeah, this week’s Let’s Talk Cars is red hot.

Show Rundown
02:06 Exclusive Test Drive – Audi’s New RS4: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
13:36 Exclusive Test Drive – LAFD Fire Engine: Brett Sparkman, LAFD Engineer


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Driving the Audi RS4 – California Dreaming

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Pasadena to Willow Springs
The line of RS4s was waiting behind the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena under a fine mist of heavy California “coastal haze”.

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Grabbing the keys for a stunning muted silver RS4 my co-driver twisted the key (thankfully no start button like in Europe) and the 420-horsepower V8 rumbled to life. Luckily he got to drive the first (lots of congestion) half of the route from Pasadena to the Hidden Springs Cafe on Angeles Crest Highway. As navigator, I listened to positive descriptions of shift quality and engine tractability. After all, with all that torque on demand, you could keep the RS4 in fifth and negotiate most of the winding mountain roads from leaving the Freeway to Hidden Springs.
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By the time we had reached Angeles Crest, the day had turned glorious and the Los Angeles funkiness was left far behind. Now… for Willow Springs and some real driving. Switching drivers at Hidden Springs, I got to drive the RS4.
The dynamics of the car are outstanding. It goes where pointed. The engine sound is thrilling under full throttle. The ride is very well controlled but just a bit harsh – not unexpected with an aggressive suspension set-up and 19-inch tires and wheels. Nice ride – puts a smile on your face.


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Audi RS4 – Top of Audi A4 Range Finally in USA

The Audi RS4 is the highest performance model from Audi’s popular A4. Final assembly is by Quattro GmbH, Audi’s high performance house, in Neckarsulm, Germany. AutoPacific had the chance to drive the RS4 from Pasadena to Willow Springs Raceway in early May. The car goes on sales in the USA in June, 2006.

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Subtle Styling Tweaks Even With Substantial Exterior Sheetmetal Differences
Available in the USA only as a 4-door sedan, but in other markets as an Avant (wagon) or cabriolet (convertible), the RS4 is very different from the rest of the A4 line. First, only the basic body shell is the same. Doors and roof are common, but front fascia, front fenders, hood, rear quarters, decklid are all unique to the RS4. Ride height has been lowered by 1.2-inches and the USA-spec RS4 rides on 19-inch tires. With all this uniqueness, the appearance of the RS4 is not, at-a-glance, hugely different from the A4.
The fenders have muscular flairs that cover larger 19-inch tires and wheels riding on a wider track. This forces the rear quarter panels to be unique and Audi uses this as an opportunity to style a unique decklid with a subtle integral spoiler.
Exterior appearance is strong, subtle and powerful. But, it is still clearly an Audi A4.


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