Audi RS4 and RS5 Competition revealed – key chassis upgrades for Audi Sport’s BMW M3 rival
RS4 Avant and RS5 Coupe and Sportback soon to be available with limited-build Competition packs
It’s fair to say that from the highs of the B7 and B8 Audi RS4 (and their naturally aspirated V8s), the current generation RS4 hasn’t received quite the same level of adoration. There’s good reason for this, of course: its rivals have become harder, faster and more involving, while Audi Sport took the path of making the RS4 smoother and more GT-like. Well, that’s about to change for a limited number of RS units coming this year, as Audi Sport has revealed a new Competition package for the RS4 Avant and its RS5 Coupe and Sportback siblings that it’s hoping will add some much needed pizzazz to the driving experience.
This starts with a new coilover suspension set-up. As standard, the RS4/5 features adaptive dampers on coil springs, with an optional Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) system that hydraulically cross-links the dampers to improve lateral stability under load without making the damping over-firm. For the Competition versions, however, both systems have been pushed aside and replaced with a new set of three-way adjustable coilovers. These units have a higher spring rate than those of the standard RS models, and are paired with new calibrations for the dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars.
The new coilovers also sit the body 10mm lower from the factory, while a further 10mm drop can be dialled in manually. The upgraded suspension is paired with new forged and milled 20-inch Y-spoke wheels and standard-fit carbon-ceramic brakes.
Along with the new hardware, Audi Sport has been working on the calibration of the existing dynamic components, with a revised set-up for the Dynamic Steering system, which now has a ratio locked in at 1:13.1, plus updated parameters for the Sport Differential mounted on the rear axle, enabling it to lock faster and offer more aggressive torque vectoring.
The engine itself is unchanged – the twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 still producing 444bhp and 442lb ft of torque – but some of the peripheral elements have received attention, including software tweaks for the eight-speed automatic transmission to shorten shift times and create a greater distinction in shift feel between transmission modes. This small change on its own helps yield a subtle 0.1sec drop in the 0-62mph times, now 3.9sec for the RS4 and 3.8sec for the RS5s.
Also upping the ‘sportiness’, as the Germans might say, is a more vocal RS sports exhaust system and the removal of some of the interior’s sound deadening around the engine bay and dashboard, which will hopefully give the cars a bit of more aural character – an element that defined their V8-powered predecessors.
Audi UK has yet to confirm specific timing and pricing, but considering the standard fitment of carbon-ceramic brakes and those new coilovers, expect a hike of more than £10,000 above the current base prices of £69,275 for the RS4 and £73,850 for both RS5s. Audi UK has also confirmed that no more than 100 Competition units will make their way to the UK, with the split between RS4 and the RS5s still to be confirmed.
While the notion of more expensive Competition versions of both of these cars with no extra grunt may initially disappoint, it’s their chassis that have the most to gain from a technical update. However, it remains a big ask for these Audi models to compete with the new BMW M3 or Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio.