So why an RS4? Well my previous Audi history was both brief and distant, being an 80 1.8S back in the late 90s, but I've fancied one of these fast estates ever since I saw a new one pootling around the local roads 15-odd years ago and thought "I quite like that!" To be honest, there's not a whole heap of reasoning to it other than that, which to a lot of folks probably sounds crazy. But then Audi RS wagons have always come across as a bit crazy to me too!
And so it was at the end of 2015, having sold my E34 M5, I made the trip to Oxfordshire to pick up this 2000 example, a standard-issue 2-owner with 65k miles. It came with a stack of old invoices & MOTs, a well stamped-up service book (all Audi main dealer bar two specialist ones from the mid-00s), and I'm delighted to say very few rattles. Actually, I really do notice an improvement in build quality over contemporary cars from Munich
A drive back across North Wales late on a Saturday evening to the ferry, through seriously nasty weather, only helped quicken the bonding process, and once on the ferry I had to be told to get off the car deck because I spent too long continuously circling the thing!
So what's it been like to own and drive over the last year? Well the performance is accessible and there's a fair old shove in the back once the turbos are on song, and whilst not the most "feelsome" of driving experiences I do love the all-weather ability the car possesses. It also seems to have a real character to it. It's not a car I've bought for weekend giggles (my Mini GP will hopefully take care of that), but more for longer trips away, especially abroad
As soon as I bought it, it went in for a few new bits and pieces (including a suspension refresh), and also a good detail. And in May it was time for its annual service with Audi (Belfast), which included belt/water pump/tensioners/stat replacements. On inspection, the car was also found to have a slight rocker cover leak, so the gaskets have been replaced, along with all auxiliary belts. There was also a vacuum leak found which has now been rectified, and a few other odds and ends, bringing the total bill to £2600. It probably would have been cheaper at an indy, but with Audi's 3+ discount applied I didn't think it was too bad, and it keeps the (almost complete) Audi service history going
Despite being AWD, it tends to stay in over the winter when the roads here become very salty. The build quality is high, but it's still a 16 year old car and as such there is a fear of rust, so I find it better not to tempt fate. In finer weather though, I do take it for a spin over my favourite local roads every now and then, on which it performs admirably despite not exactly being a lightweight
However, it hasn't all been plain sailing, as the rear diff decided to drop its oil all over the garage floor early in the summer. Turned out to be an issue with the front extension piece on the rear diff that was causing the seal not to fit properly and leak. And of course Audi don't have any new ones, as it's one on the ever-growing list of NLA parts for the car. However, one of the lads on the AudiSRS forum managed to come to the rescue as he had a spare rear diff from a scrapped RS4
But other than that it's been a joy to own and drive, and now that it's away again for the winter I'm wishing I could fast-forward to the spring! More updates to follow then...