2018 Audi S4

2018 Audi S4 Review

Combining luxury, technology and performance, the 2018 Audi S4 is at the top of its class.
8.5 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Kurt Niebuhr
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Fully redesigned for 2018, the Audi S4 has wasted no time in making a powerful statement of intent. This new S4 pushes to the top of its class with more refined and subtle styling, a thoroughly modern interior and exhilarating performance.

From a quiet, comfortable and well-thought-out interior to captivating driving dynamics, there's something for everyone. We also like the S4's slick integration of the latest technology. Compared to the BMW 340i and Mercedes AMG C43, the 2018 Audi S4 moves to the forefront.



What's new for 2018

The Audi S4 has been completely redesigned for 2018.

We recommend

The Premium Plus trim is our choice since you can pick and choose options more selectively than you can otherwise on the fully loaded Prestige. We recommend adding the S Sport package to get the wonderful adaptive suspension as well as the Technology package for the virtual instrument panel.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Audi S4 is a five-passenger luxury sport sedan that is the high-performance version of the A4 sedan. It is available in either Premium Plus or Prestige trim levels. Both have a powerful, turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (354 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque). All-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features for the Premium Plus trim include 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors with heating, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather and simulated suede upholstery, power front seats (with heating and massage functions), driver-seat memory settings, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, auto-dimming mirrors and interior ambient lighting.

On the technology front, you also get Bluetooth, a 7-inch infotainment display, a rearview camera, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control via a smartphone app, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, two USB ports and dual SD card slots. Additional safety features include low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Audi Connect Care emergency telematics.

The Prestige trim includes all of the above, along with a virtual instrument panel display, streaming internet radio apps, remote vehicle monitoring via a smartphone app, a bigger 8.3-inch infotainment display, a navigation system, a tracepad feature for infotainment input and a top-down parking camera system. All of these items are available as options on the Premium Plus trim.

Other options include the S Sport package (red brake calipers, adaptive suspension dampers and sport rear differential); the Warm Weather package (ventilated front seats and extended premium leather upholstery); an adaptive steering system; and a heated steering wheel. The Prestige trim is eligible for the Driver Assistance package that adds traffic-adaptive cruise control, a traffic sign reader, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Audi S4 Premium Plus Sedan (turbo 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.5 / 10

Driving

9.0 / 10

Acceleration9.0 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering8.5 / 10
Handling8.5 / 10
Drivability9.0 / 10

Comfort

9.0 / 10

Seat comfort9.0 / 10
Ride comfort9.0 / 10
Noise & vibration9.5 / 10
Climate control9.0 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use9.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position9.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility9.0 / 10
Quality9.0 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space8.0 / 10

Technology

8.5 / 10

Audio & navigation9.5 / 10
Smartphone integration9.0 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10

Driving9.0

The breadth of performance makes the S4 a true gem in this class. With stout acceleration, ample traction and its impressive ability to handle quick directional changes, the S4 is a match for anything in its class. Occasional brake fade seems to be the only mark against the Audi.

Acceleration9.0

From a standstill, the S4 responds a little leisurely. But keep your foot in it and a moment later the S4 is accelerating fiercely. In our testing, which utilized the S4's launch control, the S4 blasted to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. That's plenty of power for everyday driving.

Braking8.0

The pedal is firm but easy to modulate in normal driving, and you'll have confidence in the brakes for enthusiastic driving as well. There's sports-car-worthy performance here, with stops from 60 mph in just 105 feet. But track testing revealed a noisy ABS and brake fade after multiple panic stops.

Steering8.5

There are variable steering efforts available. All are accurate and well matched to their respective setting. Feedback can be lacking, even under spirited driving, but when pushed to the limit, the S4 communicates the available front grip quite well.

Handling8.5

The S4's sport rear differential, part of the S Sport package, enhances the S4 enthusiastic turn-in. Even sports cars would have a hard time matching the S4's pace on a tight, twisty road. Longer sweepers, however, tax the Audi's front tires to the point of moderate understeer.

Drivability9.0

While the eight-speed automatic can be a little too eager to upshift in Drive, you can easily fix that by selecting the Sport mode. The stout V6 and adjustable drive modes allow the Audi to be adaptable to all conditions.

Comfort9.0

The S4 delivers performance and luxury in equal amounts. Driver fatigue, no matter the road, is at a minimum, and the S4 manages to strike a fine balance between capability and usability.

Seat comfort9.0

The S Sport front seats are wonderful examples of very supportive yet nonintrusive seating. The front seats offer heating but not ventilation. The rear seats are more than adequately comfortable for a sedan of this size, allowing adults to be comfortable on longer trips.

Ride comfort9.0

The optional Sport Adaptive Damping is the way to go on the S4. Comfort mode handles rough and broken road surfaces with aplomb, while Dynamic mode keeps the body in check even under the most spirited driving.

Noise & vibration9.5

The S4 is relatively silent at all speeds, well isolated from both road and wind noise. Only under hard acceleration does the engine's pleasing V6 snarl become prominent. Tire noise is minimal, which is a pleasant surprise for summer-rated tires.

Climate control9.0

Clear, self-explanatory and easy to use, the S4's three-zone climate interface sets an example for the class. The pressure-sensitive buttons seem like unnecessary flair, but they still work without delay. It's refreshing to see climate control not buried in an on-screen menu.

Interior8.5

From the moment you open the door, you'll be struck by the S4's cohesive and easy-to-use cabin design. Ergonomics and style are all at the top of their class.

Ease of use9.0

It's hard to argue with an Audi interior — controls are clear, logically arranged and consistent in both look and feel. The configurable instrument panel does take some time to learn, but it presents a wide array of information. Audi's MMI becomes intuitive after only a few uses.

Getting in/getting out7.0

Even with the wonderfully supportive sport seats, the S4 is as easy to get in and out of as any other small luxury sedan. Taller rear-seat occupants might have to duck their head to clear the roofline, but there is ample door opening for a graceful entry and exit.

Driving position9.5

With the combination of the sport front seats and the S4's exceptionally ergonomic and highly adjustable steering wheel, drivers of all sizes will be able to find a suitable position within a few seconds. Driver fatigue is unlikely to ever be an issue. Definitely a benchmark.

Roominess7.5

Front-seat occupants have ample head-, leg- and shoulder room. While taller rear-seat passengers might find it a tight fit behind a taller driver, two passengers would be comfortable for moderate distances, which is on par for not only the class but for most midsize sedans.

Visibility9.0

Bucking the trend of high beltlines and even higher trunks, the S4 is an example of a modern sedan that offers good visibility. Blind spots are minimal.

Quality9.0

All-around build quality is excellent and on par with what we've come to expect from Audi. There are no unsightly connections, welds or hinges. The brushed aluminum interior trim does look and feel plasticky, but that's the only letdown.

Utility7.5

While performance is the key draw to the S4, you're still getting the same utility as the regular A4 sedan. There's a suitable amount of trunk space and storage.

Small-item storage7.0

Storage isn't abundant, but there's enough room to keep your phone, sunglasses, parking card and drinks free and clear of your hands while driving.

Cargo space8.0

Though the trunk isn't overly large, the load height is reasonable, and the cargo area is free of any intrusions or irregularities.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

Easily accessible LATCH anchors are available for the rear seats and the normal size door opening makes access less of an inconvenience.

Technology8.5

The S4 fits right in with other offerings from Audi in its excellent integration of technology, both entertainment- and safety-related. Modern and easy to use, the S4's systems seem wholly integrated rather than being an afterthought.

Audio & navigation9.5

The Bang & Olufsen audio system is excellent, capable of handling a wide variety of music and volume with exceptional clarity. Navigation utilizes Google Earth and is viewable on the center-mounted display as well as in the S4's Virtual Cockpit.

Smartphone integration9.0

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, but the native Audi systems are so good that all of our drivers preferred not to use their phones for anything other than Bluetooth audio.

Driver aids7.5

Along with a not-too-intrusive and easily defeatable stability control, Audi also offers its Pre Sense predictive system that offers maximum braking performance when an accident is anticipated. Rear and side assists, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control are available at extra cost.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.