What's New for 2002
Nothing new for 2002.
Although not cheap by any means, the S4 Sedan and Avant Wagon offer a mouth-watering array of features and improvements over the previous-generation A4 after which they are modeled.
Starting things out is a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Sporting twin intercoolers, dual-overhead cams, five valves per cylinder, variable valve timing for the intake camshaft and optimized combustion chambers, the engine generates 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Audi has designed the engine to provide much of its power low in the rev band. Consequently, the S4 makes quick work of freeway on-ramps and passing maneuvers. Audi gives buyers of the S4 a choice of transmissions: There's a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed Tiptronic automanual.
All S4s come with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, which constantly monitors the grip of the tires. When one of them starts to lose traction, the quattro system automatically applies power to the tires with the most adhesion. Audi says this latest edition of the quattro all-wheel-drive system is capable of allowing the car to get underway even when only one wheel has reasonable traction.
The suspension and braking components of the S4 are well tuned. Major items of note are stiffer shocks and springs and unique 17-inch wheels with 225/45R17 tires. An Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) is standard equipment.
The interior features attractive design and an adequate number of goodies. Special leather upholstery covers standard power seats, and contrasting color suede inserts can be had when ordering the Sport Interior package. Other options to consider include a sunroof, heated front seats, a six-disc CD changer and a Bose premium audio system. For safety, there are standard front and head protection airbags.
The S4 Avant includes such niceties as a retractable luggage cover, retractable dividing cargo net and aluminum-finish roof rails that beckon to SUV-weary drivers. It's perfect for anyone who needs utility but refuses to give up stellar sport-sedan performance.
Outside, the S4 exhibits subtle differences from 2001 A4s (which many of us prefer to the newer A4s). The aforementioned 17-inch wheels, a larger front air-intake opening and S4 badging are the only clues that this is the high-performance variant
The S4 driving experience is a pleasure. Softer than a BMW M3, the S4's forgiving nature comes at the expense of pure handling excellence. Taken as a whole, however, we think this racy Audi is quite the contender in the sport-sedan market.