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Audi RS4 B7: Buying guide and review (2005-2008)

Audi RS4 B7: Buying guide and review (2005-2008) Classic and Performance Car
Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide
The Audi RS4 story started in 2000 with the B5 version and it set a template that remains as compelling now as it was over a decade ago: sure-footed quattro drivetrain, relentless performance, a quietly sinister aesthetic and the sense that 100 years from now, this car will still perform with the same deadly combination of speed, stability and sheer grip. 
 
The second-generation car, the one we’re looking at here, could scarcely have been more different in many respects. Out went the estate-only configuration, the heavily turbocharged engine and a bit of the sense that the RS4 was just a skunkworks project. However, those changes were resoundingly offset by the star feature of the B7 RS4 when it was launched in 2006: a normally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 that revved to 8250rpm and produced 414bhp. 
 
It was as if some rogue BMW M engineers had seen into the future and decided to get out before the turbos arrived, infiltrating quattro GmbH and living out their wildest engineering dreams. One or two might have even made it into the chassis department, because Audi’s usual 50:50 torque split was tweaked so that 60 per cent of drive went to the rear wheels. 
 
Saloon or Avant, this RS4 was something special, with a sensational six-speed manual gearbox and a chassis that coupled Audi’s usual stability-first DNA with some real fluency, adjustability and entertainment. It cemented the RS4’s legendary status, showed us that Audi had the ability and desire to take on BMW head-to-head in dynamic terms and plain just made us happy. 
 

Which Audi RS4 to buy? 

 
The B7-gen RS4 first appeared in summer 2005, though UK sales didn’t get into full swing until early 2006. It was available as a saloon and estate (Avant) and also as a rather unhappy cabriolet (best avoided). It bowed out barely two years later when the B8 version of the A4 appeared. Given such a short production run, it’s surprising just how many you can find in the classifieds, but that’s enduring proof of the way it gripped the petrolhead imagination. The B7 RS4 was simply the best drivers’ Audi since the Ur-Quattro. 
 
Beneath the flared arches and aluminium front wings and bonnet, the spec remained essentially unchanged throughout the run: 414bhp 4.2-litre all-aluminium V8 (basically the same unit that would propel the mid-engined R8 that followed soon after), six-speed manual gearbox only, rear-biased four-wheel drive, those DRC reactive dampers to provide added tautness in corners, and a Sport button to sharpen throttle response and open bypass valves in the exhaust. There was an optional Sport pack, which made the car sit a little lower and ride a little more firmly and which added ‘active’ side bolsters to the front seats. 
 

Performance and specs 

 
Engine V8, 4163cc 
Power 414bhp @ 7800rpm 
Torque 317b ft @ 5500rpm 
Transmission Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Weight 1650kg 
0-62mph 4.7sec
Top speed 155mph (limited)
 

Dimensions and weight 

 
Wheelbase 2651mm
Length 4586mm
Width 1816mm
Height 1415mm
Kerb weight 1710kg
 

Common problems

 
• A lot of cars suffer a build-up of carbon around the inlet valves. Not every car is affected, but it’s a common problem after around 60,000 miles. 
 
• You get oil from the breather system in the inlet tract. Direct injection means there’s nothing to wash it off the back of the valves. It’s basically a good day’s work to decoke the heads. 
 
• Telltale signs include an engine light on the dash and embers coming out of the exhaust (noticeable from a following car at night). Avoiding lots of short journeys will delay the inevitable build-up. 
 
• The V8 is otherwise reliable, but some ancillaries can need attention. The two side water radiators are vulnerable to corrosion. Look through the ducts in the bumper for seeping pink antifreeze. If you can get the car on a ramp, also check the oil cooler and pipes for corrosion and seepage. Replacement means taking the front of the car off, and parts alone are over a £1000. 
 
• Service intervals were officially every 19,000 miles, but a good specialist will recommend 10,000 miles or annually. 
 
• Drivetrains are robust but beware a heavy clutch – replacing it takes around eight hours. 
 
• The Dynamic Ride Control dampers are prone to leaking. You can keep replacing them, but many owners go for Bilstein coilovers, which retain the standard ride height. 
 
• Bushes and ball joints in the suspension last pretty well but may need replacing around 80,000 miles, depending on the life they’ve had, so listen out for knocks and bangs from front and back 
 
• Bouncy suspension means the DRC’s gone. There is a drivetrain clonk, but that’s just Audi AWD. 
 
• The brakes are massive – 365mm vented and drilled discs at the front with eight-piston, four-pad calipers. A full set of discs and pads is around £1500 just for the parts, so if they’ve been recently replaced, that’s a big tick. Vibrations through the pedal mean a bill’s looming. 
 
• The driver’s seat outer bolster may show signs of wear, while the swollen arches are prone to stone-chipping. 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites  

 
• audi-sport.net – Forums and advice
• rs246.com – Forums and advice
• autops.co.uk – Independent specialist
• fontain.co.uk – Independent specialist
• mrctuning.com – Independent specialist
• unit20.com – Independent specialist
 

Summary and prices 

 
The B7 RS4 still enjoys a strong following and prices have levelled out, meaning there’s plenty of support while depreciation is no longer an issue. Running costs can be, though, so be aware of the potential for hefty bills and take care to find a car that’s been well maintained. 
 
Scan the classifieds and you’ll find a vast range of prices. At the bottom end there are high-mileage cars with multiple owners – usually private sales – for as little as £15,000. Don’t necessarily be put off by a high mileage, but an inspection by a specialist is likely to be money well spent. At the very top end, pristine, low-mileage, one-owner cars are advertised for as much £35,000. But around £20,000 gives you a fantastic choice of average-mileage cars with only one or two owners and excellent service histories, and that’s where we’d be looking. It’s worth noting that you’ll pay £250 less road tax a year on cars registered before March 23, 2006. 
Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide Audi RS4 B7 buying guide
Last updated: 20th Sep 2016
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Audi RS4
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  • 2013 Audi RS4 Avant Fsi Quattro

    POA POA

    1 Previous owner, SAT NAV, Panoramic sunroof, sports exhaust, Dynamic Pack, Red calipers, B&O sound, Optic Pack, Carbon Inlays, Partial Lather, Heated Seats, Front and Rear Parking Senors, ROTA Alloys, Audi Sports Differential, Drive Select with Paddleshift and Sport Mode, Welcome Lighting, Interior Lights Pack, ABS/EBD, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Panoramic Sunroof, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps,Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Privacy Glass, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Ibis White

    For sale
    WRC Sales
    01274 734657 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Audi RS4

    £39,990 £39,990

    Variant name:Avant ,Derivative:4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Audi RS4 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant finished in Daytona Grey, pearl effect. Specification includes privacy glass, open sky panoramic sunroof, MMI radio Plus, Audi quattro with sports differential, leather armrests in front and rear, matt Aluminium styling package, sports exhaust, sports package and 20" x 9j '5 v-spoke' design polished titanium alloy wheel

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 24961 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
  • Audi RS4

    £37,995 £37,995

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant Audi RS4 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant finished in Daytona Grey, pearl effect. Specification includes cruise control, privacy glass, black roof rails, electromechanical parking brake, light and rain sensor, black styling package, sports exhaust, sports package, sports suspension Plus with dynamic ride control (drc) and 20" x 9j '5 v-spoke' design polished titanium alloy wheel

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 27771 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
  • Audi RS4

    £42,995 £42,995

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant Audi RS4 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant finished in Misano Red, pearl effect. Specification includes bang & olufsen sound system, privacy glass, black roof rails, black styling package, sports exhaust, sports package and sports suspension Plus with dynamic ride control (drc).

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 17157 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
  • Audi RS4 RS4 Saloon RS4 QUATTRO

    £21,950 £21,950

    Body: Saloon Transmission: Manual Mileage: 50,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2007 (57) Doors: 4 Engine Size: 4.2 Finished in: DAYTONA GREY METALLIC WITH BLACK LEATHER 19" alloys Bose sound Satellite Navigation System

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 50000 mi
    For sale
  • Audi B5 RS4

    £19,995 £19,995

    Dressed in carbon fibre, the superb 2.7-litre V6 powerplant is very clean having been well maintained from new. There are eight stamps in the book with the most recent service having been carried out less than 5k miles ago. As with the rest of the car, all components and plastics are in fine order.

    • Year: 2001
    • Mileage: 85287 mi
    For sale
  • Audi RS4

    £19,995 £19,995

    Air Conditioning, Adjustable Steering Column, Climate Control, Power Steering, Full Leather, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Bose, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Alloy wheels, Locking Wheel Nuts, Immobiliser, Alarm, Parking Sensors, Push Button Start, Power Hood, Full Service History, Traction Control, 4x4 Miltek exhaust, recent new ceramic front brakes....car is superb! All cars locate at GU315EA, 12Months MOT, Pres Sales Service and 6 month warranty all included. Low Rate Finance with Zero deposit available. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.00 to 18.00, Saturday 8.30 to17.00, Sunday by appointment only. Please call 01730 821816 for further details.

    • Mileage: 53627 mi
    • Engine size: 4163
    For sale
  • Audi RS4

    £45,990 £45,990

    Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Dual Climate Zones, Bluetooth, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Panoramic Sunroof, Powered Folding Mirrors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Satellite Navigation, Bang & Olufsen, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Privacy Glass, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Electric Handbrake, Auto-dip Rearview, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Tracker Fitted, Rear Spoiler, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, ABS, Air Bag, Child Locks, Curtain Airbags, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Quick-Clear Screen, Side Air Bags, Twin Air Bags, 20'' Alloys, 4x4 RUN OUT MODEL FOR THE RS4 HAS MASSIVE SPEC WHICH INCLUDES AUDI EXCLUSIVE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR,PANORAMIC ROOF,GLOSS BLACK ROTA ALLOYS,BUCKET SEATS,DYNAMIC PACK,FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY

    • Mileage: 27000 mi
    • Engine size: 4163
    For sale
  • Audi RS4

    £40,995 £40,995

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Audi RS4 4.2 quattro (450PS) Avant finished in Audi exclusive customised paint finish. Specification includes bang & olufsen sound system, 20 x 9j '5 v-spoke design' polished titanium alloy wheels w, dynamic steering, convenience package, driver's seat with memory function - incl. electrically adj, door mirrors - with memory and auto dimming function. elect, sports suspension Plus with dynamic ride control (drc), garage door opener (Homelink®), sports package and sports exhaust.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 11676 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
  • Audi RS4 Avant ON SALE NOW

    £43,495 £43,495

    ONE owner Audi RS4 Avant presented in Audi Exclusive Peridot Green comes with a full Audi history and the following specification; Fine black Nappa leather and alcantara interior, bucket seats, heated front and rear seats, multi-function flat bottom steering wheel, Piano Black inlays, black styling package, technology package advanced, sports package, advanced key, dynamic ride control, sports exhaust, phone prep high with connect, Bang & Olufsen sound, navigation, panoramic open sky roof, roof rails in black, privacy glass, power fold exterior mirrors, power tailgate, park assist with reverse camera, high beam assist, red brake calipers and 20" V-spoke titanium alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Estate Transmission: Automatic Mileage: 28,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2015 (15) Doors: 5 Engine Size: 4.2 Finished in: Exclusive Peridot Green

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 28000 mi
    For sale
  • Audi RS4 AVANT 4,2L V8

    POA POA

    Features : Book a day, Next to 9000 km, Sport Chassis .... Comment : Electric sunroof, full sports package rims + Wheel + Sports seats, GPS, iPod, Bluetooth, parking sensors, Xenon, automatic climate control, Aluminium finish ...

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 24239 mi
    For sale
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