With its line of S models, Audi has built a reputation for delivering understated luxury along with a healthy dose of performance. Supporting the foundation of this reputation is the Audi S4, which is a sportier variant of the already-proficient A4 entry-level luxury sedan. As such, both of these Audis benefit from handsome styling, excellent interior design and materials, cosseting comfort and superior road-holding thanks to all-wheel-drive traction.
Where the S4 and A4 differ is in performance. Throughout its run, the S4 has boasted higher power output, sharper handling and impressive braking capabilities. Shoppers seeking a used S4 may, depending on the model year, have several body styles from which to choose. On the downside, the S4 has typically lacked the crisp handling performance offered by some of its rivals. Overall, though, we hold the Audi S4 in high regard.
Current Audi S4
Unlike previous generations, the current fifth-generation Audi S4 is only available as a sedan. The convertible version has been replaced by the S5 Cabriolet. The S4 is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A standard six-speed manual or optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual (S tronic) sends power to Audi's rear-biased "Quattro" all-wheel-drive system.
Inside, you'll find (in true Audi tradition) one of the finest cabins in the sport sedan class. The overall design is demure but classy, and although the center console is rather button-happy, Audi's updated MMI electronics interface is now much friendlier to use than before. The seats are supremely comfortable in the front, offering plenty of support through corners and over distances. Like the A4, the S4 offers a reasonably large backseat should your sport sedan be called on for family duty.
The S4 comes with an ample list of standard luxury features like xenon headlights, selectable driving settings (known as Audi Drive Select), tri-zone climate control and leather/faux-suede upholstery. Upgrades include bigger wheels, an adaptive suspension, a rear limited-slip differential, keyless ignition and entry, navigation and a premium Bang & Olufsen stereo.
The S4 shines thanks to its strong supercharged V6, sharp handling and a forgiving nature made possible by Quattro and that optional limited-slip rear differential. Even driven aggressively, the S4 imparts confidence to the driver. Grip is tenacious and the chassis is communicative. Even so, ride comfort is commendable and cabin noise is pleasantly hushed.
Read the most recent 2016 Audi S4 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Audi S4 page.