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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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  • Audi RS4

    £29,449 £29,449

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Audi RS4 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 42912 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £29,449 £29,449
    Prestige Cars Kent-Prestige Cars Kent
    01689 660603 View contact number
  • Audi RS4

    £26,995 £26,995

    All vehicles are located at GU315EA. All come with 12 Months MOT, Pre Delivery Service and 6 Month warranty. Low rate Finance with zero deposit available. Opening hours Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm. Sundays by appointment only. Please call 01730 821816 for further details.

    • Mileage: 74000 mi
    For sale
    £26,995 £26,995
  • Audi RS4

    £37,500 £37,500

    Variant name:RS4 AVANT FSI QUATTRO ,Derivative:MK4 FL (8K) (B8) ,Variant: FSI Quattro Auto Low mileage RS4 with an Audi service history! With a 4.2 petrol engine with 444 BHP! Misano Red with matte black alloys, open sky sunroof, driver assistance pack, black styling pack, half suede/ leather with heated front seats, sat nav & much more!

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 19099 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £37,500 £37,500
  • Audi RS4

    £16,845 £16,845

    Variant name:Cabriolet ,Variant: RS4 Quattro 2dr We are delighted to offer this fantastic 2006 Audi RS4 Convertible. Presented in Gloss Black with Creme Full Leather Interior. Being an RS model this car has exceptional specification including, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Bose Surround Sound System, Flat Bottom Steering Wheel, Quattro Alloy Wheels, Gloss Black RS Brake Calipers, Fully Electronic Adjusting Seats with Lumbar Support, Push Button Start, RS4 Logo Embossed on Seats, Electric Windows, Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, Electric Folding Mirrors, Cruise Control, Trip Computer, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, Heated Seats, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Heated Rear Screen, FM Radio, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Fully Electric Folding Roof, Dual Oval Exhaust. To discuss this great car in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 64800 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £16,845 £16,845
  • Audi RS4

    £29,745 £29,745

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic We are delighted to offer this wonderful 2013 Audi RS4 Avant. Presented in Sepang Blue Metallic with Black Full Leather Interior with Grey Contrast Piping. Throughout you will find this RS4 has exceptional specification including, Adaptive Cruise Control, Fully Electronic Adjusting Seats, Diamond Cut 5 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Dual Exit Oval Exhaust, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Reverse Parking Camera, Rear Privacy Glass, Gloss Black RS Brake Calipers, Flat Bottom Multi Functional Leather Steering Wheel, Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, Trip Computer, Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, RS4 Logo Embossed on Seats, Trip Computer, Electronic Parking Brake, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Heated Rear Screen, Heated Mirrors, Electric Windows, Two Keys, Switchable Driving Modes, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth Phone & Audio Streaming, Brushed Aluminum Exterior Trim. To discuss this fantastic Audi RS4 in more detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 49400 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £29,745 £29,745
  • AUDI RS4 AVANT EXCLSUIVE PORSCHE RIVIERA BLUE WITH HIGH SPEC 2018

    £74,995 £74,995

    **VAT QUALIFYING** SPECIAL ORDER PORSCHE RIVIERA BLUE RS4 WITH GREAT SPEC! THIS VEHICLE IS EQUIPPED WITH PANORAMIC SUNROOF, SPORTS EXHAUST, BLACK STYLING PACK, COMFORT AND SOUND PACK, MATRIX HEADLIGHTS PLUS LOADS MORE! CALL FOR A PERSONALISED FINANCE QUOTATION. ;;2018/18 Reg Audi RS4 Avant Finished In Audi Exclusive Porsche Riviera Blue with Black Leather. Great Spec to Include- RS Matrix LED Headlights with LED Rear Lights and Dynamic Front and Rear Indicators, 20in Alloys Finished in Anthracite Black, RS Super Sport Front Seats Black/Rock Grey Stitching, Bang and Olufsen 3D Sound System, Advanced Key with Electric Hands Free Boot Opening, Reverse Camera, Black Styling Package with Black Mirror Housing, Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Privacy Glass and Front Acoustic Glazing, Aluminium Race Inlays, Extended LED Interiors Package, Electric Folding Door Mirrors with Memory Function, RS Sports Exhaust, Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi Smartphone Interface. INDOOR SHOWROOM- LOW RATE FINANCE WITH ZERO DEPOSIT OPTIONS- PART EXCHANGE- FREE DRIVE AWAY INSURANCE- NATIONWIDE DELIVERY.

    • Mileage: 500 mi
    For sale
    £74,995 £74,995
  • Audi RS4

    £29,445 £29,445

    Variant name:Avant ,Variant: 4.2 FSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Prestige are delighted to offer this wonderful 2013 Audi RS4 Avant. Presented in the very desirable Sepang Blue Metallic with Black Full Leather Interior. Being an RS model these come pretty well equipped from factory, but this car has a long list of optional extras including, Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, 5 Spoke Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels, Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, Heated Seats, Reverse Parking Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Sports Exhaust System, Rear Privacy Glass. Standard features include, Fully Electric Adjusting Seats, RS4 Logo Embossed on Seats, Multi Functional Leather Perforated Steering Wheel, Paddleshift, Trip Computer, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, Brushed Aluminum Exterior Mirrors, Gloss Black Honeycomb Grilles. To discuss this RS4 in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
    £29,445 £29,445