For folks who may own a pickup truck or an SUV and would like a family performance sedan, Audi’s S4 Quattro AWD sedan combines luxury with performance not to mention quality build.
The S4 is a derivative of Audi’s A4 sedan, but with more power and snappier handling. S4 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. We tested the Premium Plus that had every feature and function new car buyers desire, and then some.
Once you slip into the sumptuously endowed virtual cockpit with quilted leather seats, you’ll know S4 is special. It boasts a 10.1-inch touchscreen, Carbon Atlas trim on dash, console and doors, with the latter nicely covered in rich suede inserts. Then there’s the extra wide 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that displays a host of driver information including alerts, operating functions and considerably more.
Audi tops off this sexy yet functional dash with a racy square bottom steering wheel and a stubby gear shifter.
The touchscreen employs a menu for a variety of functions including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and selectable driving modes of Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. It also displays climate selections associated with the easy to view and use keyboard style HVAC switches combined with large rotary dials for temperature control.
S4’s stubby 8-speed automatic transmission shifter has a “P” on the shift head for Park gear. It’s fancy but a straight shift to Park would be easier as I had to remember to push it instead of a forward push on the shifter for Park as in my wife’s car and many other test cars. It’s supplemented by paddle shifters for those who prefer doing it themselves.
A convenient wireless phone charger inhabits the console box that doubles as a small item storage bin.
The heated Alcantara Nappa leather front seats hug the torso every so nicely and the seat bottoms have extended under thigh support. A pleasurable feature to have on long trips.
Rear seats are rated for three, but that could be challenging as a high transaxle hump deters from middle seat leg room. As for the latter, leg room is adequate provided the fronts aren’t racked well rearward. Ingress/egress however, is easy thanks to wide opening doors.
Back in the trunk that’s rated at 13 cubic feet, a pair of large rollie luggage bags can easily fit as there’s 42 inches of cargo loading depth. Flip the 60/40 rear seatbacks and space almost doubles offering 70 inches of loading depth. The trunks underfloor houses the space saver tire but there’s no space around it to stow small items.
Now we come to the S4s potent 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged V6. It puts out an impressive 349-hp and 349 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the 8-speed dual-clutch auto transmission plus start/stop engine technology, S4 earns EPA mileage estimates of 20 city, 27-highway mpg. According to Audi, the combination does 0-60 in a quick 4.4 seconds. Under full throttle acceleration, the S4 explodes with power and torque. It performs similarly even under half throttle. At the same time, transmission shift points can be heard but not felt as they’re lightning quick. A true performer that emits a sweet sound from quad exhaust pipes.
With the optional S Sport package, S4 gets an adaptive damping suspension with selectable dampers that can stiffen the ride for athletic, poised handling, or soften the ride for highway cruising. Both modes make for a quiet ride on 18-inch Bridgestone tires. With a turning diameter of 38.1 feet, S4 parks easily in tight spots.
With an extremely long list of standard and safety items, S4 began life at a base price of $49,900. However, when adding Glacier White metallic paint ($595); S Sport Package ($2,500) with adaptive suspension, sport rear differential, red brake calipers; Premium Plus Package ($2,500) adds a host of amenities most notably Parking Plus system, virtual cockpit, Audi side sense w/pre sense rear, satellite radio; Nappa leather seats ($1,000); Bang & Olufsen audio; 19-inch wheels ($800) and delivery ($995), these all totaled took the bottom line to $59,740.
In the governments’ 5-star safety ratings, S4 was only tested for rollover that scored a full five stars.
S4 comes with a 4 year/50K new vehicle warranty, 12/Unlimited corrosion protection, along with 4 years of roadside assistance.
Audi’s S4 is an exciting drive. If offers a compliment of technology, comfort and performance, all at competitive pricing. And it’s sexy looking to boot.