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    Anatomy of a Super Touring car 1996 Audi A4 quattro B5

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 27 February 2018

    The anatomy of a super touring car. This year the BTCC turns 60, but one of the series’ most exciting periods was the 2-litre ‘Super Touring’ era of the 1990s. Audi’s A4 quattro dominated in ’1996 – we take a closer look and find out why… Text by Antony Ingram and photography by Aston Parrott.

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    Five star. This ballistic B5 is packing 500bhp so has the go to back up all that show… Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker. AUDI RS4 500hp B5.

    There’s something about an original that gets under your skin. The first version of something – whether it’s a trainer, a film or a car is somehow special. It’s odd when you think about it, as quite often, the first version of something isn’t quite right. It’s not until it’s refreshed and V2 is releases that everything comes together. This may be true of smart phones, TVs and other tech gadgets, but with cars? I’m not so sure.

    On the one hand, you can’t deny that each time Audi releases a new version of a well-loved model, it will be bristling with technology. It’ll be more powerful, more reliable and generally better all round. Yet many of us still hanker after the original. Nowhere is this more so than with the RS4.

    The original B5 was released in 2000 and immediately made a statement. Here was a 375bhp, four-wheel drive estate car that could outflank a Porsche. It boasted a Cosworth-tuned, twin-turbo V6, fantastic blistered wheel arches and a presence that oozed understated aggression – something #Audi does so well.

    But here’s the thing: the B5 RS4 is now 17 years old. Two further generation of RS4 have been released, with another, the B9, due to drop later this year. But, for many, the original B5 is still the one.

    Forget the fact that it’s been eclipsed dynamically by the newer models. Ignore the issues with reliability inherent in a highly-tuned-from-the-factory machine like this. Put to the back of your mind the horror stories you’ll hear from B5 fans who have almost bankrupted themselves attempting to keep their pride and joy on the road (times this by ten if you’ve tuned it) and focus on the good bits. Of which there are many. Which is why there’s such a healthy appetite for these things.

    So when serial Audi tuner, Julian Loose and our man, Adam Walker, spotted this in-your-face RS4 in Austria, I was keen to find out more.

    On the face it, this is ‘just’ another RS4 with a fancy wrap. It has a taste of the Jon Olsson about it– he of the extreme RS6 and R8 Gumball fame. However a bit more investigation revealed that this was a proper build, featuring a 500bhp engine, tuned chassis and more.

    Let’s kick off with that engine. The twin-turbo V6 needs no introduction. The 2.7-litre unit came with a factory fettled 375bhp and went very well indeed. But, as the years pass, this highly-tuned lump needs plenty of TLC to keep it running as it should. It’s a complete arse to work on and needs to be dropped for many, even routine jobs, which is why it can end up costing a small fortune in labour rates alone. Plus there are numerous documented issues that will occur at some stage from corroded pipework to blown turbos.

    So, it you’re really going to do it, you may as well get stuck in and go for more power right from the off – and make sure you uprate all the necessary parts in one hit. That way, you (hopefully) won’t be spending more time in the garage than on the road.

    The owner, Ilkka, has gone for a tried and tested setup of RS6 hybrid turbos to provide the boost. There are 630cc injectors and a TFSI coil conversion, plus Wagner intercoolers, a cold air intake and custom made exhaust with the cats removed – a sure fire recipe for big fun. With around 500bhp on tap performance is best described as brisk.

    The whooshing of those twin-turbos, combined with the snarl from that unrestricted exhaust means this thing emits the kind of V6 howl that makes you smile. It’s a special B5-ness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

    The stock transmission copes admirably with the extra grunt and the tough sixspeed box takes it all in its stride. Again the manual gear lever is part of the reason so many people love these things.

    With significantly more power than when it left the factory and with the ravages of time, the chassis needed updating to cope. A full complement of poly bushes was fitted, to remove that saggy, vague feeling that occurs when stock bushes wear out.

    Again it’s a pain in the ass job to complete, but it makes a big difference, especially on older Audis. With less play in the suspension and steering components, the B5 feels tighter and more responsive. To allow the suspension to be finetuned, a set of KW Variant 3s were ordered.

    These multi-adjustable units allow full control over bump and rebound, to provide a sporty, yet forgiving feel. The geometry has been professionally setup to give this RS4 a more dialled feel, with far more adjustablity than the neutral, understeer focused stock set up.

    The final upgrade for the chassis is a set of brakes nicked off a Porsche. These meaty calipers were designed to stop a 170+mph sportscar, so do a fine job on the RS4 teamed up with ECS Tuning discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads.

    Styling wise Audi got it right first time and there’s no need to add bits, aside from the odd splitter or maybe vent if you’re into that sort of thing. So this B5 remains stock, aside from a wrap. Now, it’s not going to be to all tastes, but Ilkka wanted something to make the car stand out at events and the Jon Olsson-inspired camo wrap certainly ticks that box.

    One thing that had to be bang on the money was the wheels. The 3-piece, multispoke Rotiforms fill the wide arches very nicely – and at a girthy 10.5-inches, they should. Some work was required to get them to fit right, but they look great.

    Inside, the stock seats have been replaced with some of the best in the business, Recaro Pole Positions. These fixed back efforts not only look great but also save weight. The GT-inspired interior is completed with a suede steering wheel and gear knob.

    So there we have it – another wellfinished RS4 B5 that reminds us how much love there is for these things.

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2000 / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi / #KW / #Rotiform

    Engine 2.7 twin-turbo V6, #RS6 hybrid turbos, #Wagner intercoolers, cold air intake, custom turbo back exhaust with cats removed, custom map, #Siemens-Deka 630cc injectors #TFSI coil conversion
    Power 500bhp
    Transmission 6-speed manual
    Brakes Porsche 911 calipers with #ECS discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads, braided lines
    Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, polybushed, full geometry set up
    Wheels 10.5x19in #Rotiform-INDT 3-piece wheels with 255/30 Michelin Pilot SuperSports
    Interior Recaro Pole Position seats, suede RS4 steering wheel and gearknob, PLX a/f ratio meter FIS control in the OEM screen to show boost, exhaust temp etc
    Exterior Full Avery charcoal matte metallic wrap

    “There’s still so much love for the B5”

    Above left Recaro Pole Positions.
    Above Alcantara-clad wheel.

    Above top: Porsche brakes sit behind 10.5x19in Rotiform INDs.
    Right: The 2.7 #V6 heart pumps out around 500bhp.
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    / #Audi RS4 B5 with a 5-cylinder engine / Words Davy Lewis / Photography Andreas S Jansson and Bjorn Eirik Odegård

    FIERCE FIVE
    This track-prepared RS4 is running a #5-cylinder-engine that makes 939hp – now there’s something a bit different…

    RS4 B5 940hp 5-cylinder swap

    Doing things differently is a risky business. Get it right and you’ll win the respect and admiration of your peers. Get it wrong however, and people will tear you apart on social media. This couldn’t be more relevant than in the car scene. From choice of wheels, to the tricky subject of rear wings – an upgrade that wins the internet with its ingenuity and originality is only a hairs breadth away from a total balls-up that incites derision and hate. People are funny, eh?

    So where am I going with this? Well, one of the most fiercely loyal of all Audi enthusiasts are the RS4 B5 guys. Many view this as the only true RS4. The real deal. The big kahuna. The daddy. And you know what – I’m inclined to agree. There’s something about that wide arched, 2.7 biturbo-powered avant that is bang on the money. Never mind the fact that most of them will spend an inordinate amount of time in the garage, simultaneously emptying your wallet and making you cry into your Aldi value beans (cos that’s all you’ll be able to afford as a B5 owner). But, they’re a passionate, dedicated bunch and I applaud that.

    So what on God’s earth are they going to make of an RS4 with a naughty secret under its bonnet? You see, this track-focussed RS4 has a cylinder missing. Or, to put it more clearly – it has one less cylinder than it should. But why would anyone remove a perfectly good V6 biturbo and replace it with an old five-pot?

    Well, for starters the V6 wasn’t perfectly good. The owner had been through numerous turbos and frankly he was sick to the back teeth of removing the damn thing to fix it. The B5’s engine may be a masterpiece when working well, but get a recalcitrant unit that has frequent issues, and you too could grow to hate it. Add to this the fact that Aslan Eshanov is based in Norway and it becomes clear. These guys don’t think like us.

    They go their own way, which is why so many insane cars appear from the frozen lands of northern Europe. Anyway, when you’ve got a nice five-cylinder sitting in the garage, it would be rude not to make use of it. But there’s more to this story than a simple track project build…

    The RS4 was actually impounded by the police after they discovered it had a false chassis number. Aslan was prosecuted and fined 23,000 euros (the price of the car’s import tax to Norway). Gulp. So, he hired a lawyer and fought the case in court, proving it was the previous owner who had committed the fraud. However, after a total of 60,000 euros had been spent, Aslan was told that he still could not use the RS4 on the road unless he paid a further 23,000 euros. “I could not afford to do this, so I decided to build a full track car,” he says. So before anyone shouts, “what a waste of an RS4” – it was either build a full-on track weapon, or it would never be used at all.

    The project began in July 2014 in Aslan’s basic, unheated garage with only ordinary tools. “I worked a lot in the summer, but not so much in the winter as it was -20 outside and still -10 in the garage.” He spent around 14 months on the car, having to work much of the details out for himself as well as fabricating many bespoke parts.

    You can read the full engine spec on the last page of the feature, but it’s based around a 2.5 TDI block, with forged rods and pistons. There’s an AAN cylinder head and CatCams that allow this strong bottom end to withstand a 10,000rpm rev limit. Everything needed to be strong, because Aslan likes to give it a serious kicking. You may have seen videos of it being nailed sideways around the track at various Gatebil events.

    Watching this RS4 performing brutal four-wheel power slides never gets old and with 939hp on tap, it’s some crowd pleaser. Listening to that beefy, Precision turbo snorting and chuffing away, accompanied by the roar from the 3.5in exhaust really is something special. It’s a raw, unrestrained sound that is all the better for being produced by an engine with an odd number of cylinders.

    Thankfully, the outside has been left pretty much OEM. The only additions are a Leon Cupra front splitter, some tow straps and US-spec side marker lights. The fact it isn’t covered in some crazy livery or emblazoned with sponsor’s logos, only adds to the appeal of this RS4.

    Inside it’s a different story. The dash remains, but pretty much everything else has been removed to make way for a comprehensive roll cage and the fuel system, mounted in the boot. There’s even a rear-mounted radiator, inspired no doubt by the Group B cars of the ’80s. Sensibly, Aslan has installed a firewall, to keep himself away from the fuel system.

    The wheels are as wide as possible to allow for maximum traction – they measure a girthy 10.5x19in all round, wrapped in 275/30 semi-slick track rubber. However, a set of 18in Rotas are used for drifting with smaller 235/40 tyres.

    There’s plenty more to come from this rather immense RS4. It’s an unconventional car, with a chequered past, but there’s no denying that it is 100% savage. Aslan reckons there’s another 200Nm of torque to be had, so it’s set to become even more of an animal on track. It’s a shame it can never be used on the road in Norway, but I guess that means that it’s never going to be a compromise. This RS4 is all about going insanely fast (often sideways) and for that, I give it a big nod of respect.

    SPECIFICATION / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4 /

    Engine Self build 5-cyl 2.5 20v Turbo, 2.5 TDI long block from 94-97 A6 (same block as Transporter T4) with custom CP-service pistons and #Rosten-Performance H-profile rods, #Audi-Ur-S4-AAN cylinder head from S4 C4 91-94 rebuilt to mechanical lifters and #CatCams for higher lift on valves and can run 10,000rpm, modified #AAN intake manifold from 2.2 20v S4 C4, Nuke fuel rail with 1600cc #Bosch injectors, custom exhaust manifold for B5 with 5-cyl engine, #Precision / #Precision-6466CE turbo, Tial 60mm wastegate, #Tial Blow-off valve, 3.5in exhaust all the way and 2x 3.5in tailpipes (Diesel look), 4in intercooler, big oil catch tank with return line for oil back to the oilpan, #Autronic-SM4-ECU , Audi R8 coils, #Accusump oil accumulator (stabilizes the oil pressure in engine)

    Transmission OEM RS4 B5 transmission, OEM drive shafts, Tilton 2-plate clutch good for 1500hp

    Power 939.8bhp and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel

    Brakes RS4 B7 brakes in front, OEM rear brakes, hydraulic handbrake

    Suspension #Øhlins 3-way coilovers, #H&R ARBs front and rear, #PowerFlex bushings / #Öhlins / #Ohlins-Racing

    Wheels & Tyres #BBS-CH / #BBS 10.5x19 with 275/30x19 semi slicks, OEM RS4 and Bola B1 (Rota grid) drifting wheels with 235/40x18

    Interior OEM dash, #Sparco / #Sparco-Pro-2000 black seats, Sparco 4-point red belts, full “rally” roll cage, rear mounted radiator with water pump in boot, 3x #Bosch-044 fuel pumps for E85 fuel, 60-litre fuel cell, Nuke fuel catch tank, 2x #Nuke fuel filters, firewall between boot and rear of cabin

    Exterior Leon Cupra front spoiler, US side marker lights, tow straps, tinted windows, OEM paint

    Tuning contacts/thanks Tuned by #RFS-Performance in Norway. 939.8bhps and 983Nm at 2.3bar of boost on E85 fuel (not finished with the tuning, need to adjust cams to push out around 200Nm more)

    Top: Cheeky on-road shot of this epic track car

    Below: The plate gives the game away...

    Left: Rear firewall and extensive roll cage Below Left: Interior is driver focused.
    Bottom: Just a regular RS4...
    Above: Aslan kicks the RS4’s arse on track.

    Action photographs: Bjorn Eirik Odegård
    Below: Rear-mounted cooling system.

    “The RS4 was actually impounded by the police...”
    Below: View through the rear window gives the game away.
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    AUDI RS4 AVANT
    Year of manufacture 2001
    Recorded mileage 120,101
    Asking price £15,000
    Vendor Abir Mirza, Bedford; tel: 07960 992991

    WHEN IT WAS NEW #Audi-RS4-Avant / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-A4-B5 /
    Price £46,500
    Max power 375bhp
    Max torque 324lb ft
    0-60mph 4.9 secs
    Top speed 155mph
    Mpg 24

    The B5 RS4 was the first Audi-developed RS, which came only as an Avant. This one seems well maintained and tidy, plus it’s been kept bone stock. There’s main-agent service history until 2008 with the same dealer up to 99k miles, in the hands of the second owner from ’04. They covered only minimal distance, and their name is still on the V5C. There are 13 stamps in the book, most from Northern Ireland, the last three being from Eurocharged Performance UK of Watford, the final one at 116,000 miles dated 25/11/2015. The last (Northern Irish) MoT, when it was registered DBZ 650, expired in March. It’s said to have had a clutch and dual-mass flywheel plus a fuel pump not long ago, though there were no bills evident.


    It looks never to have had paint and isn’t marked under the chin. There’s a tiny dent in the nearside rear door and the back bumper has a few light scratches from loading. The lower front grilles were changed because the fixing prongs broke; the old ones are in the car. Its alloys are unscuffed, but the rear centre caps are a bit corroded, as are the window fillets on the back doors. The half-worn front tyres are dated mid-2014; those on the rear are much older and cracking, but the vendor says he’ll change them. Inside, the leather looks younger than the car’s mileage, plus the dashboard plastics and carbonfibre inserts are all excellent.

    There are no obvious leaks from the driveline, but some paint is flaking off the engine covers. The oil is 4000 miles old and dark, but the coolant is nice and pink and at the right level. It starts instantly and the clutch bites well, with strong synchros and performance. It seems to build full steam by about 6000rpm and keeps coming right through the six gears. There are no whines or unpleasantness through the quattro drivetrain, but the brakes are juddery and the vendor says he will replace the discs and pads. Temperature is steady at just under 90ºC. All the dash graphics function. As well as the service book, the car will come with a fresh MoT.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Mostly very smart, bar a minor ding and a few blemishes
    INTERIOR Really nice overall condition
    MECHANICALS FSH; clutch and flywheel claimed
    VALUE ★★★★★★✩✩✩✩

    For Iconic; well kept; standard
    Against Slightly underwhelming; would like to see bills plus history

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    This future classic appears to be in fine order. There was another for sale less than 30 miles away for £2k more, so the price looks keen.
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    NO COMPROMISE RS4 B5 Mint, 500bhp daily driver RS4 B5 One of the most complete UK B5s. With a solid 500bhp and some careful chassis upgrades, Carl ‘CJ’ Johnson proves you can use a tuned B5 RS4 every day… Words Davy Lewis. Photography AJ Walker.

    Daily driver. For many of us, this means something boring – the kind of vehicle that’s sole purpose is to get you from A to B as reliably and cost effectively as possible. For many of us into tuning our Audis, the daily is just a run around. There’s no emotional investment. No quick look over your shoulder as you walk away after parking up. No love.

    Which is totally understandable. Think about the mileage; the depreciation, and the fuel that a big-power Audi would incur. Who’d be crazy enough to run something like that every day? Say hello to Carl Johnson or CJ, as he’s better known.

    CJ is a committed B5 fan and knows these things inside out. Having owned a tuned S4 for several years, he fancied moving up the B5 ladder – into the holy grail of RS4 ownership. “I’d always wanted one since I MoT’d them when they were three-years old,” comments CJ. “I’d actually gathered many of the parts needed to do a B5 ‘RS4’ widebody conversion,” he continues, “then my missus said, ‘Why don’t you sell all the parts, plus your motorbike and just buy an actual RS4.’” With the green light from the missus, he wasted no time in looking for a suitable car.

    “I wanted something bone stock that I could put my own stamp on, “ he explains. “I looked at some 500bhp tuned B5s, which were great, but they were already done. Plus I didn’t know how well they’d been built.” Determined to find the best example he could, this black model ticked nearly all the boxes. “It was really well specced and even had the Alcantara steering wheel and gear knob options, as well as the nav; the only thing it didn’t have was the sunroof.” Most importantly it was 100 percent standard. All was not well though…

    “When I drove it, I thought I’d made a big mistake,” laughs CJ. “It felt slower than my 360bhp S4!”

    The initial disappointment soon became a positive, as CJ began planning how to make it faster and more exciting.

    “First came a Milltek exhaust system complete with de-cats and a modified air box, before I took it to MRC Tuning for a remap.” The RS4 was now much more fun and had the power to see off his old S4. But there was more to come.

    “I fitted larger intercoolers, bigger injectors and uprated fuel pump, and with an MRC Stage 3 map, it made 500bhp and 700Nm,” smiles CJ. “The power with the Stage 3 is aggressive and the traction control kicks in in first, second and third. The mapping is second to none and the 0-60mph is less than 4-seconds.”


    Although CJ takes advantage of the flat-shift function, he admits to only using launch control on three or four occasions to preserve his clutch. This thing really is an animal when you want it to be. But it’s also docile as anything when you don’t.

    Part of the reason this RS4 handles so compliantly on the road is due to the chassis upgrades. CJ lives in an area littered with speed bumps, and although he fitted lowering springs, they didn’t suit him as they were too crashy. At the time of writing, a set of Bilstein B8 dampers are ready to go on the car to complement the OEM RS4 springs.

    There’s a lot more to it underneath, though.

    034 Motorsport anti-roll bars have been added, along with an AWE drive train stabiliser, which CJ says has transformed the way the B5 handles. You’ll also find an 034 snub mount. With a full complement of new bushes and a geometry set up, this RS4 now offers pin sharp steering and can be persuaded to corner at phenomenal speed. It feels tight and responsive – not at all like a 15-year old car. In fact, the only area letting it down now was the brakes.

    “The stock brakes were useless,” admits CJ, “so I got hold of a set of B7 RS4 brakes front and rear.” The calipers have been painted bright yellow and feature the logo of a rather high-end Italian supercar manufacturer.

    Throughout the entire build CJ has been careful to keep everything very OEM. One area where he was prepared to go aftermarket was the wheels. “I had the original RS4 wheels refurbed as two were buckled,” recalls CJ, “but I really wanted something to show off the big brakes better.” Not wanting anything too fussy, good mate and serial Audi tuner, Julian Loose, suggested a set of quality MTM alloys in the perfect size and fitment for his B5. These nicely understated wheels are different enough to notice, yet subtle enough not to spoil that OEM look of the car. And with 10mm spacers they fill the arches to perfection.

    The rest of the exterior has been left pretty much as Ingolstadt intended, except for a SEAT Cupra splitter and Wagner foglight delete grilles. The glossy black paint receives regular TLC using Auto Finesse products, as well as a full Scholl Concepts three-stage mop several times a year. “I get the wheels off and clean them with Ph-balanced cleaner, as well as regularly doing inside the arches – it gets pampered!” smiles CJ. But then it should.

    As we’ve said before, the only way to keep on top of an older RS model like this is with regular, preventative maintenance and cleaning. This is doubly so with it being used daily. Incidentally, when pressed on the matter of fuel consumption, CJ confesses that he gets about 16mpg, which makes the fact he still uses it all the more remarkable. But he sums it up by saying, “What’s the point of being into a car for £20k and not using it?” It’s this refreshing attitude that has seen CJ get to the heart of the B5 community. He looks after the maintenance for owners across the UK and has worked on many of the UK’s finest B5s including Julian’s B5 wide body from the cover of AT013. He can regularly be found on the Audi SRS and B5 owners’ forums.

    Inside, as you’d expect, things are very OEM. The sat nav unit has been upgraded to the later RNSE system, and there’s a boost gauge nestling in one of the air vents, but aside from that it’s all standard RS4 fair. Even the Alcantara steering wheel and gear knob were factory options, which CJ sent off to be refreshed – “they were black,” he adds.

    The RS4 is now at the stage where CJ is happy with it and he’s even booked his first track day at our own event, VAG Tuner Live at Donington on 10 July. “I only live five minutes away, so if I break it, I can walk home!” he laughs. We don’t think that’s likely though and can see him continuing to have one of the best commutes to work of any of us.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi / #Audi-RS4-Milltek-B5 / #Tanoga-Engineering / #MTM-Bimoto / #MTM / #Carl-CJ-Johnson /

    Engine 2.7 biturbo #V6 , #Milltek dual exhaust system, Originial Fabrications 3in catless downpipes, #Siemens-Deka-630 fuel injectors, #Bosch-413 fuel pump, #Wagner intercooler kit, #MRC-Tuning panel filter with MRC modified air box, 034 silicone intake hoses, 034 TFSI coil conversion with copper plugs, MRC Stage 3 remap with launch control and flat shift, Devil’s Own water methanol kit

    Power 500bhp and 700Nm

    Transmission 6-speed manual box with #Tanoga-Engineering short shifter

    Brakes B7 RS4 brakes front and rear with braided lines

    Suspension #Bilstein B8 dampers, OEM RS4 springs, 034 Motorsport front ARB, 034 rear ARB with billet strengthening brackets, 034 snub mount, AWE drive train stabiliser, new bushes throughout

    Wheels MTM ‘Bimoto’ alloys in 9.5x18in with 255/30x19in tyres and H&R 10mm hubcentric spacers

    Interior RnsE headunit conversion with 2015 maps and factory integrated Bluetooth, Podi boost gauge mounted in air vent, Alcantara refreshed

    Exterior Stock RS4 with SEAT Leon Cupra front splitter, Wagner foglight delete grilles, genuine Audi headlight protectors, stubby roof aerial, tinted windows, Jaguar front wing stone deflectors

    Contacts/thanks MRC Tuning for the map, Cookie and Caddy for the detailing, Julian Loose, WOT Motorsport and my long suffering wife Natalie


    Above: A man who knows his B5s Bottom: Audi gecko.

    Above: B5 perfection? It can’t be far off Left: Original interior has been subtly updated.

    “This thing really is an animal when you want it to be”

    Above: Water/meth kit in the boot Below: Alcantara wheel has been fully renovated

    Left: Who doesn’t love the front end of a B5 RS4? Above: Fog light delete Below: Those brakes aren’t shy!
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    2016 #Audi B5 RS4 530hp and an interior you won't believe
    Words Davy Lewis Photography Urban Style Fotographie.
    GREEN MONSTER RS4 B5 With an amazing interior.
    We spotted this stunning B5 RS4 at the Essen Motor Show – fortunately we managed to track it down…


    Of all the Audi models that we feature, there’s one that seems to get people going more than any other. It not the newest and it’s certainly not the fastest. In fact, it’s become known for its general recalcitrance and ability to drain your wallet faster than teenage kids. The car is, of course, the B5 RS4. Things got off to a good start when the car was launched back in 2000. In these more innocent times, RS models were few and far between. The RS badge was only ever available on one model at a time (imagine that now) and for a very limited run of no more than two years. They were then, pretty exclusive cars.

    The B5 had a couple of aces up its RS sleeve – namely the fact it’d been tweaked by engine gurus Cosworth and featured a hefty 375bhp out of the box. Add to this a subtly aggressive, wide shouldered style and it was clear to see why people loved them. The thing is, they still do. In fact, I’d got so far as to say B5 RS4s are loved more now than when they were first launched.



    Part of the appeal is the fact they are getting on a bit. With new car design dictated by crash test performance, resulting in higher bonnets, chunkier A pillars and much larger overall dimensions, the distinctly old-school B5 harks back to a less complicated age.

    It has a regular six-speed manual gearbox, that you operate via a clutch (yes, how novel). There’s no fancy electronic steering gubbins – just a regular PAS unit that allows you to feel what the front wheels are doing. There’s no keyless entry; nowhere to hook up your smart phone (unless you want to charge it) and if you find one with original sat nav – you’re best off using google maps on your phone. And did I mention they can be a tad – how can I put this – temperamental? Anyone that’s owed a B5 RS4 will know what I’m talking about.


    These cars needed regular maintenance when they were new, but now, fifteen years later, you need to be on good terms with your Audi specialist if you want to enjoy your B5. It’s all age related stuff – boost leaks, turbo seals blown, oil leaks, suspension failure – but it all adds up. The fact it’s an engine out job for many, seemingly simple issues is what drives the costs right up. So, let’s look at the facts: on the face of it, a B5 RS4 is quite ordinary looking. It tends to break a lot. And holds its value well. Plus spares are very hard to find. Sounds like a terrible proposition for a project car. So why do so many people in the UK and abroad love them more than a free bar at Christmas?

    The owner of this immaculate Goodwood Green example certainly agrees. He’s a member of the Hanover Hardcore club (most famous member, one Philipp Klaess – he of the 225mph, 1000bhp B5 widebody). It was on display at last year’s Essen Motor Show and attracted crowds of admirers. And with good reason. It has to be one of the finest RS4s we’ve ever seen. It looks like it just rolled off the production line at Ingolstadt and has an interior that you will not believe.


    From the outside, it looks like a very well presented RS4. The Goodwood Green paint has a mirror finish and has clearly seen more prep and pampering than most. As should always be the case, things have been pretty much left as intended here, with the few, subtle changes including the black Audi rings on the front and gloss black lower intake mesh. The front RS4 badge has also been removed for the ultimate in stealth. With many favouring the all black look, it’s refreshing to see plenty of bright work done in matt silver. The roof rails, window and grille surrounds all contrast well with the deep green paintwork.


    The biggest eye catcher outside is the ride height. Dropped very low over a set of mouth wateringly tasty BBS splits, you’d bet your last buck that this was on air-ride. It isn’t. The Gepfeffert crew have worked some voodoo with some KW V3 coilovers to create an ultra low ride height. It looks great for shows, but has to be said isn’t much fun on the road. That said, it can easily be adjusted when owner, Ewe wants to drop the hammer.

    Going back to those wheels, they really are rather delicious. A beefy 9x20in split rim with gold centres, they suit this 15-year old car to a tee. Look carefully and you’ll spot some rather high-end Lamborghini brakes tucked up behind them.

    Being an RS4, this car had to offer decent grunt as well as immaculate looks. The 2.7 biturbo has been treated to a pair of TTE turbos, which together with supporting upgrades to fuelling, and uprated freer flowing y-pipes and exhaust, give this B5 a healthy 537hp and 710Nm.


    Now, at this point I usually begin to talk about the interior, but in this case, it’s not so easy. The thing is, the inside of this RS4 is nothing short of stunning. Literally every piece of interior trim, whether cloth, leather or plastic has been redone in a fantastic tan colour scheme. Open the door and the car is awash with soft touch, high quality materials – you can even smell it. The front B7 RS4 seats are done in leather and Alcantara, as are the door cards, the centre console and the dash itself. A late-spec flat bottom steering wheel has also been lovingly covered, complete with natty RS4 badge. But it doesn’t end there. The roof lining and all pillars are also covered. Then there’s the carbon. You’ll find it on the doors, the dash, centre console even the steering column and seat bases. Inside, this RS4 feels more Bentley than B5.

    So there we have it – a possible contender for best interior of
    2016. Not bad considering it’s only February…


    SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi-A4

    Engine 2.7 V6 biturbo, uprated downpipes, full 3in exhaust system, 630cc injectors, #TTE turbo, uprated #Wagner intercoolers, uprated fuelling, custom remap.
    Power 537hp and 710Nm
    Transmission 6-speed manual with uprated clutch.
    Brakes Lamborghini brakes front and rear.

    Suspension Gepfeffert by #KW-V3 .

    Wheels and tyres 9x20in #BBS-E88 magnesium split rims with gold painted centres, 235/30 Hankook S1 Evo tyres.

    Interior Full retrim in tan leather and Alcantara; includes B7 RS4 seats, dash, centre console, door cards, pillars, roof lining and flat bottom steering wheel, carbon trim added to doors, dash, centre console and steering column as well as seat bases.


    Exterior Full respray in Goodwood Green, refreshed headlights, black Audi rings, de-badged grille.

    Above: BBS split rims are simply stunning.

    “The 9x20in #BBS alloys are truly amazing”

    Above: B5 was one of the stars of the 2015 Essen Motor Show (note Goodwood green paint looks very different under the show lighting).

    “One of the finest looking B5 RS4s around and that interior is on a different level”

    Right: RS4 handles like a go-kart Bottom Engine now makes 537hp.

    Above: Side view shows the stunning interior Below left: Carbon has been used extensively Below right: Late spec steering wheel has been retrimmed.

    Above: Attention to detail is superb Right Custom trimmed steering wheel.
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