2008 Audi RS 4 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Audi RS 4 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Audi RS 4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 420 hp @ 7500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Audi RS 4

  • Want high-end sports car performance, but need an actual backseat and trunk? The 2008 Audi RS 4 may be just what the doctor ordered, as it's more fun than an M5 and much less expensive. No one will ever call it cheap, though.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superb ride and handling balance, world-class engine, robust brakes, supportive seats.

  • Cons

    Eyebrow-raising price, weighs nearly 2 tons, smallish rear seat.

  • What's New for 2008

    There is a new, limited-production RS 4 Cabriolet model for 2008. A pair of new trim packages are the only changes to the Audi RS 4 sedan.

Full 2008 Audi RS 4 Review

What's New for 2008

There is a new, limited-production RS 4 Cabriolet model for 2008. A pair of new trim packages are the only changes to the Audi RS 4 sedan.


Audi made a giant leap when it shoehorned a V8 into a compact luxury sedan with the S4. To make sure it wasn't quickly outdone by its perpetual rivals from Munich and Stuttgart, the 2008 Audi RS 4 is its pre-emptive strike of sorts, boasting a manic 420-horsepower V8 attached to a tweaked version of the Quattro all-wheel-drive system that skews power to the rear wheels. Beyond its fiercer V8, the RS 4 further differs from the relatively tame S4 via a more sporting chassis, bigger brakes and 19-inch wheels. These additions create a car that is simply superb in all the areas that make a top-notch performance car: acceleration, braking, ride quality and cornering.

For 2008, the RS 4 sedan is joined by a Cabriolet model that will be available in limited numbers. With the same supremely powerful V8 squeezed under its hood, the RS 4 Cabriolet should provide some of the most topless fun one can have outside the Playboy mansion. Like the tamer S4, the convertible version has less aggressively bolstered sport seats and a slightly different interior design, as well as obvious reductions in body rigidity.

As BMW and Mercedes prepare to up the ante in the ever-increasing horsepower war with their respective new M3 and C63 AMG, Audi can rest assured that it already has a thoroughly awesome weapon ready for battle. In a comparison test, we even picked the RS 4 over the BMW M5. The shocking price tag attached to the 2008 Audi RS 4 (and its new competitors) will probably make some people think twice about ponying up that much for a compact sedan, but between its power, agility and utility, the Audi makes a rational case for itself against similarly priced sports cars and larger luxury sedans.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Audi RS 4 is a compact ultra-performance car based on the Audi A4, and it's available in sedan and convertible body styles. Standard features include 19-inch wheels with 255/35 high-performance tires, Dynamic Ride Control suspension, xenon headlights, Recaro sport seats with power adjustment (the Cabriolet has less aggressive, non-Recaro seats) and front seat heaters. Silk napa leather upholstery, carbon-fiber cabin trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker audio system with six-disc CD changer, a sunroof (on the sedan, obviously) and rear park assist are also standard.

A premium package is optional on the sedan and includes auto-dimming mirrors, a navigation system, an upgraded Bose audio system with satellite radio, heated rear seats, Homelink, a power rear sunshade and Bluetooth capability. These items are all standard on the limited-production RS 4 Cabriolet. Integration for an iPod is a stand-alone option on the sedan and a no-cost option in place of the standard six-CD changer on the Cabriolet. The Titanium and Audi Exclusive Packages add special exterior and interior trim features to the RS 4 sedan.

Powertrains and Performance

A 4.2-liter V8 engine powers the RS 4. Equipped with direct fuel injection and sporting a 12.5:1 compression ratio, this powerhouse makes 420 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox (the only transmission offered) sends the power to all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which has a 40/60 front-to-rear power split in this application. During instrumented testing, an RS 4 sedan shot to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 13 seconds at 107 mph, which should be good enough to hang with the new M3 and C63 AMG.


Stability control, antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard on the 2008 Audi RS 4. (The Cabriolet doesn't have the curtains, though). Official crash tests have not been performed on the RS 4, but one could assume with fair confidence that its scores would be similar to the good ratings achieved by the regular A4 sedan.

Interior Design and Special Features

Audi consistently produces some of the finest automobile interiors, and the 2008 RS 4 is no exception. The sedan design differs slightly from the Cabriolet's, but both models feature superb materials, excellent fit and finish, and efficient controls. The navigation system isn't the most user-friendly design, though. As a serious performance car, the S4 sedan is saddled with standard Recaro front seats, which feature aggressive bolstering to hold one in place when zipping around corners. Although the rear seat is fine for small children, adults seated back there will likely complain about a shortage of legroom. Of course, it's a welcome amount of space compared to sports cars that offer similar performance.

Driving Impressions

With more than 400 hp and the grip of all-wheel drive, the 2008 Audi RS 4 has no problem catapulting itself off the line or out of a corner. With a broad torque spread, there's always power on tap. Apart from the incredible acceleration, the RS 4 makes a strong showing in the braking and handling departments. Through the curves, the RS 4 is a composed master despite its hefty curb weight. Inside Line testers recorded a slalom speed of 70.6 mph, which puts the RS 4 in an elite circle of cars with four doors. In fact, we awarded it first place in a comparison test against the BMW M5. Confidence and grip from the front tires are superb, balance is good and steering feel at speed is better than any Audi we've ever driven.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Audi should just bring this

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

My 2008 Audi RS4 with the available options has now turned 32,000 miles. The hardest part of owning this car during my 60 mile per day over a twisty highway is in keeping my speeds down. I put a K&N air filter in, and keep the S button pushed down and whether it is raining or dry, the handling, sounds, speed, control and Gallardo sourced brakes are incredible. This is a phenomenal car. Buy one if you want a Porsche GT3 with usable back seats, that in turn can be flattened out to create a cargo bay, or a place for your dogs to lay down on a trip. Unbelievable car!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Awesome car!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

This is one of the greats, for sure. Classic lines, great build quality, amazing powertrain. The engine always feels 'on boil' and the transmission gearing matches the power band perfectly. Great noises - I almost never turn on the radio with this engine and exhaust note filling the cabin. Still gets a lot of looks even though the B8 body style is out. I'll be keeping this one for a long time to come.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best audi ever

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

This is one of the Best cars out there, better than a BMW M3 or M5, Better than a Benz 63AMG. I enjoyed Herb's comments on this car, obviously he's never driven an RS4 and must dislike Audi. Anyone who compares this car to an EVO is, well, not well informed. Best of luck to you Herb!! LOL There's no car out that that can compare to this, it looks like a cute little kitty, but can tear your head right off. Handling is out of this world and has a fully defeatable traction control which blows your mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

It is a rocket ship

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

First, the Review by Herb posted earlier about this car...is complete nonsense. He clearly has NOT driven an RS4. Everyone that goes for a ride or drives this car...wants one! This is a monster in a business suit! It can rip 100mph quickly from stoplight to stoplight, if you are not careful. This car is about performance and handling with a lot of luxury. Any mention of an Evo or a Subi is ridiculous...this is not an A4 review. The suspension on the RS4 can turn 75-80mph on the highway exchange loop, yes I have done this several times. It performs that well! The car can be pushed farther than I am willing to push it.

Not truly an "r" car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

After owning 3 Evos, I really regret buying this car. The gear box is very clunky and sounds frightening on cold shifts. The acceleration is rather flaccid because of the low torque output. The brakes are mediocre and really upset the balance of the car on hard braking. The engine note is horrible. On acceleration the engine makes an excruciatingly high pitched whining nose with no corresponding feeling of acceleration. The steering is terribly numb requiring constant adjustments in corners. Understeer is its preferred mode in corners. It also gets miserable gas mileage, on par with cars with bigger engines and more horsepower. The in-dash CD player went out within 500 miles.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Audi rs4

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi RS 4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

I've had my RS4 for just over a year. The V8 is amazing. Put it in S mode and it gets scary. The suspension tightens and it sounds like you have a whole different engine in the car. The torque really shows its face when going uphill on the freeway. It just accelerates as if someone is feeding more horsepower. Very little sign of fatigue. It's a heavy car but I like that. Built solid.

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Gas Mileage


  • 13
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

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