Used cars: how to buy a second hand Audi RS4 Avant (2000-2001)

Published: 07 September 2012

Like the RS2, the first RS4 was available only as an Avant. This time Quattro didn’t call on Porsche, but although much of the r&d was completed in-house, Cosworth Technology (then owned by Audi) was enlisted to upgrade the S4’s engine – it redesigned the cylinder head and fitted larger turbos to liberate 113bhp and 30lb ft more. It’s quicker than a same-era M3, the bi-turbo V6 is less laggy than its predecessor and makes a plethora of GT-R-like noises.

And if the RS2 is a Dr Frankenstein’s amalgam of Audi and Porsche parts, the RS4 is more cohesive – but also more aggressive, even in yellow. The arches bulge, the sills are thick, and the sides of the optional fixed-back buckets are so high that it’s harder to squeeze between them and the Alcantara wheel than it is to buy tickets to the Olympics. But dated sat-nav graphics aside, the RS4 still feels modern inside and the enduring quality shows where Audi founded its reputation for Stella Artois interiors.

The oily bits are built to last too, according to Fontain Motors. Check the suspension, look for dash warning lights that could spell trouble from the secondary air pumps and exhaust gas temperature sensors, and that’s about it. One infamous fault is the ‘soft’ alloys: some deformed on UK roads but Audi introduced a harder compound in 2002.

Only 532 Mk1 RS4s came to the UK, but there are a few leggy cars for under £10k and a good selection in the low teens. Just watch for modified cars as the turbo engine lends itself to tuning.





Engine 2671cc 30v twin-turbo V6, 375bhp @ 6100-7000rpm, 325lb ft @ 2500-6000rpm Trans 6-spd manual, 4wd Performance 4.9sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 17.0mpg Original UK price (2000) £46,500 


One we found RS4 Avant, 2000, 94k miles, Avus Silver, 2 owners, Audi FSH, sat-nav, heated and electric black leather Recaros. Trade £11,500








By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy