The 2018 Audi S4 is a very attractive proposition for car shoppers wanting something between a traditional entry-level sport sedan and the ultimate high-performance, and oftentimes compromised, variant. In Audi's case, the S4 is more expensive and capable than the lesser A4, but it's more attainable and well rounded than the extreme RS4.
Standard feature highlights for the base S4 Premium Plus trim include 18-inch wheels with summer tires, a sunroof, Audi Select drive modes, Audi's MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch display, heated front sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and massage functions, a rearview camera, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, low-speed forward collision warning and mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Prestige trim adds a virtual intrument panel, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, a navigation system, an 8.3-inch display, and the Audi Connect system (with a Wi-Fi hotspot, vehicle monitoring and some remote feature control through an app). All of these items are available as options on the Premium Plus trim with the Technology package.
We highly recommend adding the S Sport package that includes adaptive suspension and sport rear differential. Also available is the Driver Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams and a traffic sign reader.
At the moment, the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 sedan is the S4's closest competitor and is similarly priced. It also delivers matching levels of driving exhilaration. The C43 has a more traditional luxury car feel while the S4 is more minimalistic and tidy, even though feature content is comparable.
The BMW 340i xDrive sedan is a little less expensive, but in order to make it competitive with either the Audi or the Mercedes, you'd have to load it up with M Sport options, bringing the price up to a similar level. The 340i is somewhat handicapped in this race since it's older, having been out for about four years.
For the time being, the 2018 Audi S4 is the class leader. It delivers impressive performance with no appreciable sacrifice in comfort or refinement. Use all of Edmunds' available tools to help you find the perfect one.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.