Future Cars

2006 Audi RS4

Thanks to Audi, you can cross one vehicle off the list of Europe-only cars you wish were sold in North America. The previous-generation RS4 was available only as a wagon and wasn’t sold in the U.S., but the new RS4 has been sold stateside since the middle of the year. And since Audi realizes that most Americans aren’t keen on super-fast grocery-getters, it has wisely chosen the sedan version of the newly face-lifted A4 as the foundation for the scorching RS4 derivative. Continued development of Audi’s venerable 4.2-liter V-8 has brought the redline to 8250 rpm and output to 420 horsepower without the use of forced induction, as on the previous RS4, which was powered by a twin-turbo V-6.

Engineers attempted to keep the weight down by employing aluminum on body panels and suspension parts, but the car still weighs a rather chunky 3600 pounds. We predict that the upcoming 400-hp V-8 BMW M3 will be at least 150 lbs less. Audi claims the RS4 can achieve 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, which is about what we predict the next M3 will do. Even if the RS4 can’t shake an M3 on a road course, it may be able to beat its BMW counterpart on looks–a revised front fascia, larger tailpipes, and lightweight wheels effectively portray a much more aggressive stance than the common S4. We’ll find out who takes the next round of the classic Ingolstadt-Munich rivalry as soon as we can get our hands on both of these highly desirable Teutonic muscle cars.