Increasingly stringent emissions regulations have made the naturally aspirated engine somewhat of a rarity in Europe. The R8 supercar is one of the few surviving examples of the genre, but there was a time when automakers did not have to resort to forced induction. The RS4 Avant C8 comes from that era, complete with a 4.2-liter V8 producing 450 horsepower and 430 Newton-meters (317 pound-feet) of torque.
The folks over at Carwow decided to pit the second-generation of the fast wagon (third if you’re counting the original RS2 Avant) against two other German performance cars that used to have naturally aspirated V8s. They decided to go with a Mercedes-AMG C63 from the W204 generation in the sedan flavor with a massive 6.2-liter unit pumping out 460 hp and 600 Nm (443 lb-ft). The third car they lined up on the drag strip was a BMW M3 Sedan (E90) with a 4.0-liter developing 420 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft).
With the Audi being the only one to have all-wheel drive, it’s no surprise the RS4 Avant C8 was the heaviest car of the trio. But as you can see, its grippy Quattro system corroborated with the dual-clutch automatic transmission created a significant advantage for the speedy wagon off the line. The C63 and M3 then started playing the catch-up game, but it was too little too late.
It was a different outcome in the second drag race after Audi’s opponents warmed up their tires for better traction, a wise move for a rear-wheel-drive car. While the BMW had a horrible start, the AMG was quicker throughout the whole race and took the win by a significant margin.
The most interesting duel was the third and final drag race as although the RS4 had an excellent start, the C63 gradually narrowed the gap and eventually took the lead to claim another quarter-mile win.
Mat Watson and his two colleagues then spiced things up through a couple of roll races from 50 mph (80 km/h) during which the sedans had the edge due to their lower curb weights and RWD layout.
Rounding off the challenges was a brake test at 70 mph (113 km/h), and although some would’ve expected the RS4 to take the win because it weighs more, it was actually the AMG.
Results aside, the video is also a good opportunity to hear the roar of a naturally aspirated V8. With the proliferation of turbocharging, downsizing, and gasoline particulate filters, such an engine soundtrack will only get rarer with time.