Well through the break-in driving the car for a little over a month and ready to give more detailed experience with the RS4. if BMW is going to set their sights on the RS4 for the next M3 than the next M3 should be amazing.
From a 5 BMW car background with 2 recent E46 M3, a 996 911, I am astounded by the RS4. The car reminds me a lot of the 911 in the sense that it isn't only about numbers, but the all around package. Despite having had the privilege to have driven such amazing cars I can't tell you how happy every-time I am to get behind the wheel of the RS4. I was concerned about so many things about the car prior to delivery from having looked at all the specs before driving it. Prior to delivery, looking at the numbers of the RS4 I was concerned about the weight of the car, what I perceived to be relatively low torque numbers, (My lighter 545 had more torque), the front end bias of the car.
What astounds me is what feels like the cars ability to defy the laws of physics, and the numbers. It reminds me of when I would drive my 911. Sure there were cars that had more horsepower, or torque, but when you drove it you just knew that it was the real deal and had the whole package. The same goes for me when I drive my RS4, I definitely feel like I got value for my money.
The car has an exhaust note which is like an aria, and I haven't been allowed to fully make it sing yet. It speaks to the soul of any car enthusiast.
You may have already heard it, but just listen to this sound from this French Audi Ad:
The brakes are surreal. I feel like I just begin to think about stopping and I am there, all without any complaint, squeal, or nose dip.
The stick is the stick I had in my 911, that I was always trying to get in my M3s with trying different short shifter kits (UUC motorwerks, etc... you name it.)
Handling - I pull corners and I amazed the car transcends all the weight that I was worried about, and stays completely flat through the bends. I think this might have to from a lot of things to include from the dynamic ride control they brought from the RS6 (http://www.audi.co.uk/audi/uk/en2/to...rol__DRC_.html
Acceleration - The car has surprising acceleration which I haven't fully gotten a handle on, having just gotten out of break-in a couple of weeks ago. It catches you un-aware. With the 911, or M3 you had a much better sense of the process of acceleration, you could feel it building up. The acceleration in the RS4 isn't the somewhat violent cataclysmic acceleration of a car with a turbo. I would describe it as more of an elastic sensation. You feel like that when you push down on the throttle that you are pushing down on a taut rubber band, and you are being flung out the other side. It pops you up to speed so fast that you had better be ready for the next shift.
Ergonomics - The way that everything is driver centered reminds me of my old BMWs, not like the sitting behind the desk feeling I got sitting in my 545. It also has a fit and finish, attention to every detail that I felt was there in Porsche, but was lacking in most other cars.
My feeling after one month is this is a world class car, that is in the same league with cars which cost much more than it. It definitely raises the bar, and I think we all will be able to reap the rewards of everything that comes down the pipeline that sets their sights on it.