Whereas the roots of the RS dynasty can be traced to one car before the RS4 B5, this twin-turbocharged superwagon was perhaps the most valuable one for Audi. Its fierce power delivery could put many thoroughbred sports cars to the test, and combined with usability of a family car, it was the most versatile and daily-friendly performance car of the early 21st century.

Without any doubt, the pioneering RS4 ticks all the right boxes for becoming a cherished modern classic, so let’s dig into its origins and technical details and see what exactly makes it one.

History & Development of the Audi RS4 B5

Audi’s first foray into the performance longroof segment was the RS2. Based on the Audi 90 Avant and built alongside Mercedes-Benz 500E in Porsche’s factory in Zuffenhausen, this supercar beater single-handedly kickstarted the superwagon craze in Europe while also saving Porsche in its toughest times.

In addition to putting Audi and its quattro all-wheel drive into the spotlight once again, the RS2 also established a new high performance badge. A tier above the sporty S cars, RS stood for RennSport or racing sport and was initially restricted to A4 and A6, until Audi eventually expanded RS models to a larger portion of its lineup. The rights to wear the RS badge were, in fact, so exclusive that the gap between the RS2 and its successor was five years.

By the time Audi quattro GmbH started developing the next RS car, the company from Ingolstadt completed its transition into the upmarket, introducing a new alphanumeric nomenclature to underline its newly attained status.

The 80 and 90 lineup thus became the Audi A4 and the range debuted with a rejuvenated design. Looking considerably more modern than the competition, the A4 was on par, or even better than its rivals at BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Alongside the revolutionary A8, it became the car that shaped the Audi brand as we know it today.

Black Audi RS4 B5 sitting outside warehouse

Black Audi RS4 B5 sitting outside warehouse

Three years after the A4 premiered in November 1994, Audi introduced the 261-horsepower S4 sedan and wagon, powered by a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 unit based on the 90° 2.8-liter V6 found at the top of the A4 range.

The S4 was met with universal appraise for its brisk performance and obedient quattro all-wheel drive. As such, it was just the right foundation for the new RS model.

As Audi grew and Porsche gained financial stability through the Boxster and the 996 911, the production of the RS4 was handled in-house at the Neckarsulm factory. The majority of engineering was carried out within Audi quattro GmbH department, whereas Cosworth, one of Volkswagen’s many 1990s acquisitions, took care of the engine development.

Rear of Audi RS4 B5 showing logo near tail light

Rear of Audi RS4 B5 showing logo near tail light

The RS4 was built from 1999 to 2001 in 6030 copies, and was available in Europe and selected global markets in both LHD and RHD variants. It was priced at around $60,180, an equivalent of $99,910 in today’s money. Unlike the S4 though, Audi didn’t bring the RS4 to North American soil, which will make it a highly desirable collector car—just like the RS2 has become in recent years.

Front view of Audi RS4 B5 in lot near building

Front view of Audi RS4 B5 in lot near buildingRead More


By: Djordje Sugaris
Title: [In-Depth Review] Audi RS4 B5
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/audi-rs4-b5-in-depth-review/
Published Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2021 14:13:49 +0000

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