Introducing Project Quattro
The Lure Of Automotive Perfection

No, you are not seeing double, this is indeed Audi RS4 Avant number two in the SH Garage. At least we’ve spread them as far apart as can be, with Jordan’s red wagon over in the UK and my black example stationed here in JDM-land. But how did it all come to be?

The story with this car begins late last year, when a little mishap with my trusty old Subaru Legacy 30R wagon gave me the opportunity to consider other options. I’d had the Subaru for 11 years, and the choice was to either fix it and continue on, or sell it and go for something totally different. Well, the road I went down should now be obvious, as is the fact that ‘totally different’ isn’t probably the best term to use here. I needed another wagon, but this time around I wanted to kill two birds with one stone: It had to be manual, and it had to have a naturally aspirated V8.


Talk about shortening the list pretty dramatically, right? The reality is that since the B7 RS4 Avant came out I’ve had a rather soft spot for the model. In my eyes, it’s far more interesting than the subsequent generations that have proceeded it. The big motor coupled with a 6-speed manual, and on top of all that the peace of mind that the full-time AWD Quattro system brings – to me it’s the ultimate über family wagon. There’s 420PS on tap, the versatility of five seats, and a decent sized trunk for all the miscellaneous gadgets that three young kids force you to carry around at any given time.


Thus, the B7 RS4 is the best car for someone in my position. It truly offers everything, the right mix of practicality, performance, involvement and subtly aggressive looks that just want to be spiced up. And this last bit is something I’ve been struggling with for eight months, and the reason I haven’t introduced the car to you guys until now. I mean, with a vehicle this perfect, is there really any need to mess with what’s offered from factory?

With two other project cars on my hands a third is the last thing I needed to get involved with, so for some months I’ve just enjoyed the car as is.


It wasn’t going to last long though, and Jordan’s regular updates on his super-clean example only fueled the craving inside. But what if I did this, and that, and fixed that other thing? The mind of a car enthusiast is always wandering; with every corner you ponder what a tighter suspension package would feel like, and with every 8,250rpm sweep you just can’t help imagine how a freer flowing exhaust might sound. It’s an illness, but a good type of one to have; an addiction that gives meaning to your life.

Plus, the car already came with a nice carbon fiber front splitter to get things going in the right direction.


There’s even the most JDM of touches, a big old tow hook sticking out of the front bumper which I’ve just left there as I actually quite like it.

And all of this is why I’m sharing the RS4 with you, because I’ve got small plans in place that over the next months will not only get the car looking just right, but also address some things that need attention.

A True Screamer

Let’s talk about the engine…


It still blows me away where Audi decides to place their motors. I mean, almost the entire V8 is ahead of the front axle line with its nose literally ending up inside the bumper. Audi’s inherent understeer-prone handling partly comes from that, but luckily there’s so much mechanical grip and power on tap that if the situation calls for it, you can usually figure out a way to either not get into it or power yourself out of it.

The car’s 10 years are starting to show with some wear and tear, things like the discolored carbon fiber dress-up parts under the hood, as well as greasy dirt that has accumulated on pretty much everything.


The reality is, I’ve had so much fun driving this thing that I’ve not even attempted to bring it back to its former glory. Plus, it’s the car that sees the most use out of the fleet, so it just thunders on, day after day. But a decent scrub down of the engine bay is in order, as are some more performance oriented upgrades while I’m at it. I’m getting giddy just thinking how it’s all going to improve.


And boy does this car need a proper exhaust. Call it a teutonic over-conservative approach, but in 2008 I guess farting and crackling exhausts weren’t a thing over in Ingolstadt. These days Audi’s RS variants are all about the pops and bangs.

Don’t get me wrong, the sound is sublime, a creamy V8 burble that intensifies as it climbs through the rev range. The quality is there and it’s beautifully harmonic – I just need the volume turned up. There’s an ‘S’ button on the steering wheel which opens up the valves in the silencer, but the actual noise difference is negligible.


Aside from these things, I really cannot fault this car. It’s just so damn good.

The Captain’s Chair

The interior is a place where the goodness shines right through.


There were a lot of options ticked on the original order sheet, which means I’m now enjoying things like a sports steering wheel design borrowed from the Lamborghini Gallardo. Once upon a time it used to be trimmed in soft and furry suede, but a decade on there’s only a faint memory of such covering on the harder to reach corners of the wheel rim. The same goes for the shifter and e-brake grip, it’s all shiny and from a distance looks like plain leather. This is all something I’ll be getting fixed soon, the only problem being that the steering wheel needs to be removed and sent away for a week.

The cabin is subtle and classy, albeit a tad too black-on-black-on-black for my taste. I’m currently thinking of ways to bring a little bit of color inside. I do love the constant reminders that you are entering an RS version through with badges and logos everywhere you look, though.


The optional Recaro buckets are possibly the best seats I’ve ever parked my generously sized posterior into. They sit a tad too high for me, but I’ve kind of gotten used to the position. They contain you beautifully, something that you really start noticing when you up the pace through some twisty roads, and even in mind-numbing Tokyo traffic they are pretty comfortable considering their design and thin padding.


The passenger seat shows almost no wear and tear, but the driver’s side Recaro needs a little TLC; I just picked up some leather treatment, so let’s see what that can do to the surface. I’m not expecting miracles, but if it gives it a little boost in softness I’ll be content.


There’s plenty of adjustments to be played with, including an electrically altered lumber support section and some air pockets in the bolsters to cater to different body sizes. The slide, height and recline adjustments are made mechanically, which is a refreshing change from modern cars where you always have to wait for slow motors to do their job. Simple is always best.


The rear shells of the buckets are painted in black to match the exterior, something that adds even more darkness into the cabin. They are exceptionally cool, however.


A slightly decrepit pair of rubber suspension top mounts make the rear sag more than it should, which is something that I will need to eventually address. It does give the car a pretty mean stance though, so I’m not too fussed for the time being.


The bushes on both upper and lower arms are pretty tired too, so they’ll need replacing in time too.


The only thing that the previous owner changed was adding slightly fatter rubber, a set of 265/35R19 Yokohama Advan Sports on the stock 19-inch rims. And yes, the Lamborghini Gallardo 8-pot front calipers have more than enough brake bite to haul this autobahn rocket up from silly speeds.

Quattro Snow Drifts

The most memorable experience I’ve so far had with the car was this past winter when I followed a few friends up to Nikko to do some drifting in the snow. I bought the car with a spare set of B5 17-inch wheels with Michelin snow rubber, and fitting those turned the RS4 into a real hoot while powering through knee-high fresh powder one very cold February night.

The 4.2L motor churns out a decent amount of low-end torque, which meant I could just ride that wave of twist in higher gears and allow the Quattro system to sort traction out.


I got the car sideways at every corner and just feathered the accelerator to allow the car to rotate on its own wheelbase with minimal counter-steer, providing a fun way to get around a slippery corner.


There’s an RS4 badge somewhere under there.


It’s incredible what a set of good snow tires can do when combined with all-wheel drive.


I ran the car on these wheels and tires up until May and tackled snow a couple of other times, but I was glad to get them off as they look pretty uninspiring unless they’re coated in the icy stuff.


So that’s my voyage with ‘Project Quattro’ thus far. Work on the car should begin next week, so I’ll have an update coming soon.

What I’m doing first should give the V8 a little more character…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Aaaaand the next Quattro Station Wagon in the Speed Hunters Garage... nice one!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hehe thanks!


What happened to project droptop ?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Parked up front! Need an update on that! I'll wait till the new wheels come!


I regret deeply not buying one of these when I had a great chance.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Prices have started to go up...


*before i get killed in the comment section... below is my weak attempt at humour.

Here many of us dream of going to live in Japan and buy as much Japanese cars as possible, so we live vicariously through you and the other speedhunters that reside in Japan.
Then you do this. To redeem yourself you need to post a lengthy update on your GTR soon.

* end of attempt at humour.

Congrats and many safe happy kilometers

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well my other real option would have been an Autech Stagea 260RS. I don't need another RB26 powered money pit in my life lol But don't worry I've got a few more posts I'm working on to update you guys on Project GTR!


Those are awesome as well but I understand your logic, these Audi's really great cars and seems to be ageing well.
Can't wait to see what's next on the GTR.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah they are nice if a bit old, but I really wanted a V8 for a bit. Not much choice out there!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I am also a huge fan of the B7 generation RS4, but I prefer mine in a saloon body. Sorry wagon guys.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

With 3 kids the Avant is a godsend ...if even a bit too small


God I love those seats! I think they would be awesome in my B8.5 S5... "The mind of a car enthusiast..." indeed.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Can't praise the seats enough!


Now this is something i didn't expect XD but i dig the build. Good thing it's still a wagon, AND A MANUAL.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

So liberating driving a manual every day, especially mated to an engine that is as happy to sit at 1000 rpm in sixth gear to making its way past 8000 rpm in any of the other cogs


I'm only annoyed that I can't buy one now because three RS4s would be taking the piss. Well wear, Dino.


It would be great, have a drag race between you three after a year of mods and frequent updates!


If I wanted to win, I'd just use the GTI XD


HAHAHAHA Good one.


Challenge accepted.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Get one then Jordan, you and I can do a live feed drag race :D


Hell yes! Another Project for Dino to entertain us with! Your articles are some of my favorite man, with Project R34 being top of the list for SpeedHunters articles I look out for. Looking forward to the updates with great anticipation!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Matthew! I'm very happy as Project GTR goes back to Do Luck to get finished next week... Exciting times


Regarding your issue with sending out your steering wheel...most Shops offer a replacement deal where you get a new steering wheel in advance and you have 7 days to return your old one.

I used this service myself and it reduces your car downtime to about 45minutes. You should consider that.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

This is Japan and I have not been offered such option. Must enquire!


Those are basically Recaro Sporster Buckets, right?
Because they look just like them, and I've seen carbon-look rear shells for those.

As for the engine: Unhook the battery, open the hood, remove the underside-tray (if it has one), and just powerwash the crap out of it.
Alternatively, powerwash and then ice-blast it, to get it looking really good again.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes pretty sure they are.

What's an ice-blast? Sounds like ice cream?


It's much like sandblasing, but with (dry) ice instead of sand.
It's MUCH less agressive (often used for cleaning, but you should look it up to be sure what to use), more of a cleaning-tool than a removal, but still stronger than any power-washer.
A side-effect is that the surroundings do get a bit wet, but you don't have to worry about a ton of dust covering everything near you (or being inhaled by you).
It melts and turns into water on impact, takes dirt and grime with it as it runs down/off, and then the water just evaporates.
Look it up on YouTube, there's people filming its usage on various things (including engines), with great results.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

oh my God what have you gone and done now! I had no idea that stuff existed! That's like next level shit when it comes to cleaning your car. MUST BUY MUST BUY MUST BUY!!!!


You still have the 435i as well?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yessir! Most used car in the fleet :D


money diverted from GTR

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nooooo don't make me thing about that kind of stuff! The way I see it the GTR is as "long" as a long-term project can get, so playing around on the side is perfectly acceptable. Right? Makes sense? Shit, I feel like I'm cheating now :(


Man I miss the B7 RS4 especially this wagon

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Best wagon ever, although I do get serious hardons when I see those new RS6s fly by me with their exhaust farting away. Too bad you need to sell a kidney and a testicle to own one of those badboys


Great project car. Enjoy but it seems you are already having a lot of it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I am. So much! :D


Immediately after reading this article starts searching for suitable vehicles for sale! Thanks Dino!!! Great post though and to all the Speedhunters team keep them coming.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's addictive isn't it! Thanks for the positive feedback!!


Being a manual it would be painful around town

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Not at all, it pulls cleanly from idle, I skip gears all the time, super easy to drive around Tokyo


Get some Angelwax Hide-Rate and Heaven for Leather - thank me later when your seats are as soft as the day they left the factory.

I still think one of these with some Rays RE30 in 19's would really give the Audi a different JDM touch.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I already have stuff from Zaino to try out :)


Welcome to the family Dino! One question – how did you get 17" wheels over RS4 front brakes?!


Ultimate Dad car and we need more in Canada!

Does yours have the timing issue most do requiring pulling the engine?

I’ve seen some clean examples here but after speaking to Audi service, a $10k Cnd bullet waiting otherwise.

Ticks all the boxes for every dad!