The Audi S4
The S4 is the ‘performance version’ of the A4 and has remained relatively unchanged since the current generation’s introduction as a 2010 model, though it got some touch-ups in 2013, including redesigned bumpers, grille, hood, headlamps and LED daytime running lights.
Changes for 2014 are minor, but important things like the 245 Kw, supercharged 3.0-litre V-6, performance-tuned all-wheel drive and an S4-specific sport suspension continue to offer a well-rounded performance package.
The S4 isn’t a racy sports sedan-it’s more of a casual experience, perfectly appropriate for back-road fun and the occasional blast down the highway with its never disappointing supercharged V-6.
Audi’s coupe version of the S4, the S5, has a higher-performance RS5 version that competes on a similar level as the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe, but Audi’s sedan has no such variant. Compare the S4 versus its rivals here, and S4 models over the years here.
The Audi S4’s outside appearance differs slightly from the A4. It’s even harder to distinguish on the road now that all upper A4 trim levels include an S Line style package with unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts and door sills that nearly match the S4’s look.
The S4 makes driving an everyday entertainment. The manual gearbox works harmoniously with the engine and standard all-wheel drive, with a smooth shifter and clutch pedal offering an accurate feel that’s neither too fluffy nor too firm, and always precise. The whole driving experience is refined and lively, whether you’re poking through traffic or banging gears on an on-ramp.
Audi’s Drive Select is newly standard on the S4 for 2014 and gives individual control of steering, engine, adaptive suspension (when equipped) and automatic transmission (also when equipped) responsiveness, adjusted through the Multi Media Interface controller.
There’s also a Drive Select button just above the climate controls; it’s a much-needed addition considering how cumbersome it can be to call up the dedicated Drive Select menu then change settings within the MMI display
‘Put Foot’ and power is instantaneous in the way you’d expect from a supercharged engine. Then there’s the fantastic sound though the engine/exhaust volume. Zero to 100 kmh happens in 4.9 seconds.
A key component of how the S4 puts power to the ground is Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, configured for the S4 with a rear bias of 40:60 front/rear, giving the S4 a more rear-wheel-drive-like feel.
Audi’s interiors are predictable. A modern blend of quality and style with nice materials on the inside.
The S4’s standard sports seats are covered in leather and suede-like Alcantara material; they’re heated and completely comfortable. There’s not much room to spare in the small backseat.
A smallish 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space is very usable, as it’s unobstructed by intruding wheel wells. The Audi’s rear seats fold down for additional cargo room, if needed.