2008 Audi S4 Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Audi S4

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Audi S4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 340 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Audi S4

  • The 2008 Audi S4 is one of the best high-performance small luxury sedans around, while having the added bonus of wagon and convertible body styles. However, its fellow German competitors are rapidly giving the S4 a run for its money.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Plentiful power, excellent handling, standard all-wheel drive, attractive and well-crafted cabin, multiple body styles

  • Cons

    Cramped backseat

  • What's New for 2008

    The three flavors of Audi S4 receive only minor changes in feature content for 2008, including the addition of Bluetooth and satellite radio as standard equipment. Heated front seats are also now standard on the S4 Cabriolet, while an iPod interface becomes optional on all S4s.

Full 2008 Audi S4 Review

What's New for 2008

The three flavors of Audi S4 receive only minor changes in feature content for 2008, including the addition of Bluetooth and satellite radio as standard equipment. Heated front seats are also now standard on the S4 Cabriolet, while an iPod interface becomes optional on all S4s.

Introduction

The high-performance luxury car isn't a segment; it's a gosh-darn arms race. When the Audi S4 entered 2004 with a 4.2-liter V8 wedged into its small engine bay, it represented the latest in borderline-insane factory modifications made to an already capable sport sedan. A whopping 340 horsepower seemed like a tremendous amount at the time, besting even BMW's mighty M3.

But in this cold horsepower war, any sort of dominance the S4 enjoyed has quickly been eroded by Audi's dual nemeses from Munich and Stuttgart. Never mind that a regular BMW 335i is now quicker than the S4, but the upcoming M3 will be powered by a 420-hp V8, which will thoroughly smoke the S4 in a 0-60-mph sprint. Likewise, the all-new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG has a truly monster 457-hp V8 that should make it the quickest of the lot. Yet both these cars are more expensive than the S4 and are therefore no longer really appropriate competitors -- they are closer matches to the Audi RS 4.

Regardless of its competition, or lack thereof, the 2008 Audi S4 is still a wild ride. Besides its potent V8, the S4 differs from the regular A4 by its sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels, performance tires, more powerful brakes and several unique styling elements. Plus, its Quattro all-wheel-drive system has a 40/60 front-to-rear power distribution that gives it a more aggressive (and less understeer-prone) feel while cornering.

Like the A4, the S4 maintains the good looks and excellent interior quality that have become two of the model line's best selling points. Also, the fitment of all-wheel drive and a selection of sedan, wagon and convertible body styles give the S4 a leg up on its competition. However, despite the expected price difference, the new M3 is rumored to eventually come in sedan, hardtop convertible and perhaps wagon forms.

Although its previous principal competition may have moved to loftier plateaus, the 2008 Audi S4 remains a very attractive choice for those looking for extra oomph in their sport sedan. It's a serious performance car that can easily and comfortably perform the duties of an everyday or road trip companion. Still, those who want similar performance but with a less hard-core driving experience, should look at the BMW 335i, Infiniti G35 Sport and Lexus IS 350. The BMW and Lexus actually out-accelerate the S4, but neither offers the same type of visual panache or the street cred that goes along with the Audi's mission of intensifying an automotive arms race.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Audi S4 is available in sedan, wagon ("Avant") and convertible ("Cabriolet") body styles with one well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 18-inch wheels and tires, sunroof, xenon HID headlights, 12-way power-adjustable Recaro seats, Silk napa leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated mirrors, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker audio system with an in-dash CD changer and satellite radio. The Cabriolet is equipped with more conventional leather-upholstered sport seats in place of the Recaros, along with heated front seats and a power-operated "Acoustic" soft top that promises a quieter cabin, especially at freeway speeds.

Options for the S4 include parking assist, memory seats, heated front seats (sedan and Avant), heated rear seats, an upgraded 215-watt Bose stereo, an iPod interface, a navigation system and, for the sedan only, a "DTM" exterior package that adds unique front and rear fascias, multispoke wheels and carbon-fiber spoilers.

Powertrains and Performance

The Audi S4 is fitted with a 4.2-liter 340-hp V8 that sends its power through either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed Tiptronic automatic. The latter transmission allows manual-style shifting via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which is standard on the S4, is unlike most other Audi Quattro offerings. It has a 40/60 front-to-rear power split in normal situations to give the car a more dynamic attitude when cornering. Audi claims that an S4 sedan equipped with the manual tranny can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, with the Avant ringing in at 5.4 seconds and the Cabriolet at 5.8.

Safety

Stability control, antilock disc brakes and a multitude of airbags (including front seat side airbags on all body styles and full-length side curtains for the sedan and Avant) are standard on the 2008 Audi S4. Rear-seat side airbags are optional on the sedan and Avant. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the A4 sedan (on which the S4 is based) received four stars (out of five) for frontal crash tests, while side-impact testing resulted in five stars for the front seat and four stars for the rear seat. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Audi garnered ratings of "Good" (the highest possible) for both frontal-offset and side-impact categories.

Interior Design and Special Features

Audi consistently produces some of the finest automotive interiors and the 2008 Audi S4 is no exception. The sedan and Avant's design differs slightly from the Cabriolet's, but all models feature superb materials, excellent fit and finish, and efficient controls. The optional navigation system isn't a model of user-friendly design, though. As serious performance cars, the S4 sedan and Avant are saddled with standard Recaro front seats, which feature aggressive bolstering to hold one in place when zipping around corners. Although the rear seat is fine for small children, adults seated back there will likely complain about a shortage of legroom. The Avant wagon provides up to 61 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.

Driving Impressions

As one would expect from a 340-horse V8, performance is thrilling, and on winding back roads, the S4's top-notch underpinnings result in excellent handling while still providing a supple ride. While the Audi isn't quite as razor-sharp as a BMW or Infiniti, the extra grip afforded by its all-wheel drive could justify the trade-off for many enthusiasts, particularly those who live in parts of the country where rain- or snow-slicked roads are a part of life.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



4door awd rocket!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

Only have had the car for a few month, but I love it more with each day. Silky smooth V8 with a brilliant 6 spd tranny. Pull exceptionally in every gear. Love the seats with the alecantra inserts. The Bose stereo sounds great, however the ipod adapter broke shortly after I bought it.




Still a compromise

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A)

This car is just a notch above the A4. No doubt it is a blast to drive (think smooth linear acceleration) and luxurious inside, it is still not a sports car by any stretch. It's got a ton of gadgets, but 0-60 still takes forever. It looks great, but falls short of the styling of its BMW competitor. The best thing is the price. I bought mine for $44000 fully loaded. If you are a good negotiator, you should be able to do far better.




Beautiful s4

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

This car is everything you expect it to be and more. It's comfortable and has all the buttons and switches and toys you could ever want. Everything makes sense, everything works the way it should, and you can tell Audi used very high quality components that most people would never notice. Like very quiet power window motors, totally silent rear window power sunshade. The sound of the engine is intoxicating. It squirts like lighting between corners. Suspension doesn't squat, dive or roll, but is perfectly luxurious like an Audi should be. Mine is electric blue and I get compliments almost daily on it. Think pure domination.




2008 audi s4 - chesterfield,va

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)

Love this car! Rips up the road with ease and provides a smooth stable ride. Rear seats are a bit tight but I don't ride back there




2008 audi s4

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Audi S4 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A)

I love the sound and performance of the big V8. The AWD has been impressive in the snow and on ice. It can still get stuck if the snow is deep enough, and the traction control system is complex. Audi does not provide good information on it. The ride is on the harsh side, and not adjustable. There have been transient squeaks and rattles from the interior body panels. The rear seat is cramped. Aside from all this, the car is very quick, handles well and is a blast to drive. Navigation and audio system both excellent, and I like the iPod integration even though the track names do not show up on the screen



Talk About The 2008 S4

2008 Audi S4 Discussions See all Started By

blue330xi
blue330xi
12-19-2006
a true full time AWD like say the system on the S4. If im wrong sorry all in advance, but I think this is Haldex. There is a reason most Volvo's are not considered performance cars dispite some wit...


Michaell
Michaell
04-01-2014
@paulo6 said: New to this, but I think I just sold my 2008 535xi and been debating a 550xi, 335xi or S4. Im leaning to downsize car but not performance. Local dealer just offered me "Friends an...


_matty
_matty
03-08-2006
If you're looking for an '06 S4 in May/June you should have no problem getting exactly what you want. I wouldn't expect them to start marking down the '06's until much later. My local dealer where I b...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 14
  • cty
/
  • 21
  • highway
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