The BMW M3 has long been the king of its segment. Cars like the Audi RS4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and even the Lexus IS F have all tried to take the M3 down, but few have ever even come close. However, the current BMW M3 is as vulnerable as ever. With the Cadillac ATS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63 becoming as excellent as they are, the M3 no longer seems like the king of the segment. So is it finally time for the RS4 to take the crown?
The new B9 Audi A4 rides on an entirely new platform, dubbed MLB. This new platform will underpin all A4 variants, including the RS4. Recent drive reviews of the upcoming A4 have all been extremely positive, claiming that this new A4 will handle better than ever. So, with the new platform, a new twin-turbocharged V6 making upwards of 450 hp and a new S-Tronic 7-Speed automatic, the upcoming Audi RS4 has all of the tools to take on the best in the segment.
The new B9 A4’s driving dynamics are better than ever and with the BMW M3 becoming as weak as its ever been, there’s a chance that the Audi RS4 becomes the car to beat in the segment. It still has the ATS-V and C63 to worry about though, however, I think the RS4 has a real chance of being better than those two as well.
The ATS-V is incredibly fast, with its 3.7 second 0-60 time, and supposedly handles incredibly well. But it’s massive torque and rear-wheel drive make it vulnerable to the Audi RS4 and its Quattro all-wheel drive and clever differentials. Plus, its new lightweight platform is more advanced than GM’s Alpha platform. The Audi RS4 might not be able to outrun the ATS-V, but it could be the more sophisticated handler of the two.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 S is brutally fast, with its 503 hp and its 3.9 second 0-60 time. The RS4 probably won’t have the firepower to compete with the C63 in terms of outright speed, but again, it could be more nimble and will almost certainly be lighter. The C63 is a great handling car but it’s very heavy. It’s also very expensive, with loaded S models cresting $90,000. So if the RS4 can be a little bit lighter, a little bit sharper and a little bit cheaper, it could outmatch the C63’s mighty horsepower.
We still don’t know how well the RS4 will fair up against its competition, or how it will be at all, actually. However, if the Audi RS4 can use its new platform, lightweight design and brand-new engine as best as possible, it has a chance of taking the crown in a segment that’s as wide open as ever.