Used 2004 Audi S4 Convertible

Style:
2004 Audi S4
List price range
2004 Audi S4

Pros

  • Broad power band, fast and confident in the turns, high-quality materials and attractive cabin design.

Cons

  • Small backseat, priced close to more established rivals.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though not quite as enthralling as BMW's frenetic M3, the S4 still offers entertaining performance along with a more livable personality.

2004 Highlights

The all-new S4 sports some serious hardware, not the least of which is a 4.2-liter V8 bristling with 340 horsepower. A convertible body style has been added to the lineup.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2004 Audi S4.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

yessir that's my baby
Sharon,02/13/2005
Sometimes I believe my S4 leaves the road and soars through the air! It glides around corners, stops on a dime and is always willing to go faster than I am. It is beautiful and I still get excited everytime I slip in behind the wheel. Taking the top down on the freeway is wonderful. Sometimes I feel guilty about the as milage...but, well, what can I say, I'm in LOVE!
Hot S4 Convertible
Sebastian ,04/21/2004
I just got my New Audi S4 Convertible and I am in love. Not only does the car sound like a monster and moves like one too. I cant stop myself from reving the engine at every stop sign just to hear the engine. Not only is it a star on dry roads but drives even better in the rain. There is no convertible like it outthere.
Love my new S4 Cabrio
KenSchwartz,06/07/2004
This car is quick off the line with true appeal on turns. The SMG paddle shifters give the control of a stick without the annoyance of a clutch in traffic. Stereo is clear, seats are so comfortable. This thing is just great in turns and loves to jump off the line. I had a 1999 Corvette and I like this more - can't believe I'm saying this. Mine- brilliant red with silver/wood interior.
This Cab is perfect!!
S4 CAB in Cali,03/12/2005
I have owned the cabriolet for a month now and I must say that it has far surpassed my expectations. The inside of the cabin is just beautiful. The car gets long glances all the time - on the highway, in parking lots, etc. Once you tune the sound system properly, it sounds amazing (the subpar sound had me worried for a while). Power is superb and visibility is not that bad for a Cab. Mileage can be poor if your foot is made of lead, but easy acceleration brings it back to average. But where's the fun in that!!!
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
340 hp @ 7000 rpm
MPG
13 city / 20 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
340 hp @ 7000 rpm
See all Used 2004 Audi S4 Convertible features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2004 Audi S4
More About This Model

Start with an Audi A4 Cabriolet, one of the most stunning four-seat convertibles ever to stroll American roads, but somewhat of a slouch in the performance department. Oh, it's solid and secure in the corners, but with a modestly powered V6 and no option to shift your own gears, you won't be coming out of them very fast.

Then consider the high-performance S4 sedan, which answers the BMW M3's call for more horsepower with a 340-hp, 4.2-liter V8. Engineers also battened down the stock A4 running gear for quicker runs through the switchbacks and installed a pair of Recaro seats that effectively secure the driver during said runs.

Side by side, these cars may share their genealogy, but they cater to two very different drivers. One is a sun worshipper who wants to travel in high style and high comfort 365 days a year. The other may tell you how much he likes the understated elegance and all-weather capability of an Audi, but underneath the small talk and tailored suit beats the heart of a performance fiend who doesn't care a bit about practicality and eggs on M3 drivers at stoplights. Ah, but what if these two individuals were in fact the same person…a sunburned enthusiast who has saved like mad for a four-season dream ride? Well then, that man or woman will probably be one of the first in line to buy the 2004 S4 Cabriolet.

This Cabriolet brings all of the S4 sedan's (and the S4 wagon's) performance enhancements to bear on the roads of your choosing. The aforementioned V8 is packed into its compact engine bay and all 340 original horses and 302 pound-feet of torque are at your disposal. And because Audi knows that serious drivers want to be given the option of shifting their own gears, a six-speed manual transmission is standard on this drop top. If you decide you'd rather not, a six-speed automatic with a Tiptronic automanual mode is optional.

Although an automatic is a nice option to have in congested areas, we wouldn't have minded seeing another iteration of Audi's Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) instead. Essentially a manual transmission without a conventional clutch pedal, the DSG provides virtually all of the convenience and smoothness of an automatic. At the same time, it has a very responsive manual-shift mode that's more conducive to the higher-intensity driving S4 owners are likely to do in their free time. Given the choice between the DSG and Tiptronic, we'd take the DSG every time — at least in an S4. We shared these thoughts with Audi product planners, who, although receptive, noted that this new gearbox is currently only compatible with transverse-mounted engines (the 4.2 is longitudinal) and is limited in the torque loads it can handle. They did tell us that the engineers in Ingolstadt are working on a version of the DSG for future use in the A4 and A6 lines (possibly including the high-performance S4 and S6 models).

You can opt out of the quattro all-wheel-drive system on the regular A4 Cabriolet, but it's standard on the S4 so that owners can take full advantage of the oversized engine. The all-weather aspect of quattro is important, too, as Audi has identified the prospect of year-round use as a top priority for target S4 Cabriolet buyers — who presumably will test-drive it back-to-back with the rear-drive M3 convertible.

While quattro keeps the S4 Cab all lined up in the turns, a modified chassis sharpens its reflexes. Engineers lowered the stock A4 suspension by 30mm and fitted the car with stronger stabilizer bars and stiffer springs and shocks. A new steering rack provides a quicker 14.5-to-1 ratio (compared to 16.3 to 1 on the A4) and varies the amount of assist according to the actual vehicle speed. A larger, fully ventilated set of brakes helps drivers keep a rein on all the muscle under the hood, and Z-rated 235/40R18 Continental ContiSport tires form the bond with the pavement.

Audi turned us loose with all of the above running gear on a perfect spring day in the high desert. Only manual-shift S4 Cabriolets were available for journalists to drive, and frankly, we wouldn't have had it any other way. Sure, the throws between gates are long and the clutch take-up a bit spongy for a performance car — but it doesn't matter: The six-speed manual gearbox is still an enjoyable means of extracting performance from the 340-hp V8.

With plenty of torque on its side, the engine pulls hard at any speed, and there's nothing explosive, finicky or even boisterous about its power delivery. With an estimated 0-to-60-mph time of 5.8 seconds, the S4 Cab is not as fast as the M3, which we've timed at 5.4 seconds in SMG form (curb weight is the culprit, as the Audi tips the scales at over two tons — 300 pounds heavier than the BMW). Nor does its 4.2-liter V8 have the feverish personality of the BMW's worked-over inline six. What the S4 drop top does offer is versatility. There's enough juice to blast out of the turns on your favorite coastal highway, but when Monday comes around, the 4.2 doesn't mind retreating into the background so that you can hear the radio news.

The S4's ride and handling characteristics present the driver with a similar compromise. Although we had feared that the S4 Cab's serious poundage would be a liability on winding two-lanes, the lowered suspension does a fine job of managing that weight. Body roll is held in check, and grip is doled out in liberal amounts. Indeed, the majority of drivers will love the way the car threads their favorite roads. But solid as the S4 Cabriolet is at high speeds, it doesn't have quite the buttoned-down feel of its fixed-roof sedan sibling. And if you're looking for a car that fits like a glove and never met a corner it didn't like, an M3 or even a 330Ci would be a better choice. In trade, the S4 Cab offers an exceptionally smooth ride for a car with high-performance intentions — it's comfortable enough to drive to work everyday. However, we did note a surprising amount of cowl shake over the rougher roads along our driving route, and wondered if this might be a consequence of the more tightly wound chassis. In any case, those living in pothole-stricken regions of the country should check this out during their test-drive.

Cosmetic upgrades are few and far between on the S4 Cabriolet, as there's not so much as a deck lid spoiler to break up its sleek profile. There was no functional reason for a spoiler, Audi executives told us, and it would have been difficult to mount one on the convertible's composite trunk lid. The only distinguishable changes from the A4 drop top are a new grille with "S" badging, larger front air intakes, larger exhaust outlets and simple six-spoke, 18-inch wheels at the corners. Also, xenon headlights are now standard. If you've always liked the A4 Cab's clean lines and prefer a sleeper-type look, you'll appreciate the design staff's light touch. If you envisioned a more aggressive look for the topless S4 (along the lines of, say, the M3), aftermarket retrofits may be necessary.

Inside the cockpit, the subtlety continues. Instead of the S4 sedan's race-ready Recaro seats, there's a more conventional set of leather sport seats with elegant piping along the edges. While this change in furnishings gives the impression that Audi softened up the Cabriolet, after a day of driving, we can't say we missed the Recaros. These seats are wider and less confining, and they're pleasantly, but not excessively firm — just what you need on a long summer road trip. What's more, they do a fine job of holding you in place when the road turns twisty. Aside from the unusual piping on its seats, the S4 Cabriolet is distinguished from its less sporting siblings by gray-faced, white-needle gauges and a three-spoke steering wheel. Tasteful "S4" logos drive home the point without cluttering up the convertible's refined ensemble.

Audi is asking $54,570 for the S4 drop top, and you'll pay an additional $1,150 if you opt for an automatic transmission. (Fuel economy, by the way, is one of the few cards the automatic holds in its favor, as it earns a decent 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway estimate compared to the manual-shift Cab's subpar 15/21 rating.) If you want a wind deflector, heated seats, auto-dimming mirrors and a "premium" 215-watt Bose stereo (the stock system offers just 150 watts) to accompany you on your journey, you'll need to visit the options lists. Indeed, this is a far cry from the mid-$20Ks starting price of the A4 line. But it's still less than you'll pay to get an M3 convertible. And if you've previously shied away from the BMW because it didn't play well in snow, know that Audi has once again created the winterproof alternative.

Used 2004 Audi S4 Convertible Overview

The Used 2004 Audi S4 Convertible is offered in the following styles: quattro AWD 2dr Cabriolet (4.2L 8cyl 6A), and quattro AWD 2dr Cabriolet (4.2L 8cyl 6M).

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Should I lease or buy a 2004 Audi S4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Audi lease specials
Check out Audi S4 lease specials