The Audi S4 is the midpoint between the run-of-the-mill A4 and full-blooded RS 4, but is it really necessary? Here’s my review…
- 3.0-litre supercharged V6
- 329 bhp and 325 lb-ft of torque
- 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph
- Seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox
- Quattro four-wheel drive system
Performance and gearbox
Possibly the biggest change to this generation of S4 is its engine. Back in 1997 Audi launched it with a 261 bhp 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6, then replaced that engine with a 339 bhp 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 when they released the newer model in 2005. Fast forward to 2009 however, and Audi have instead opted to go smaller to a new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 unit. Whilst petrolheads will undoubtedly be upset that the V8 is no more, the new engine does still produce 329 bhp and 325 lb-ft of torque, so it’s hardly slow.
Whilst 329 bhp isn’t ridiculous fast nowadays, it’s still more than enough. Power figures are one thing but the more important aspect is how it’s delivered, and that’s where this Audi S4 excels. It’s got a really smooth power delivery that is consistent throughout the rev range, and that coupled with it’s fantastic seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox just make this a really fun car to drive. It also blips the throttle on downshift, which is just lovely, right?
Star rating: ★★★★★
Handling and drive
As the Audi S4 comes with Quattro four-wheel drive as standard, it’s naturally a very capable car. As with all Quattro cars, the S4 is rear-wheel biased, meaning that’ll always try to send as much power to the back wheels until it needs to balance out the front. This allows the car to be really sharp in and around bends, making it quite playful but most importantly rewarding. It isn’t perfect though, as like all saloons it really isn’t the ideal body shape for throwing around.
As for the drive, it’s German and it’s Audi so it’s everything you expect: comfortable, relaxing, smooth. It really is a complete package as both a sports car and daily driver. Well, daily driver if you can afford the fuel bill anyway. Whilst Audi’s official figures put this at around 30 mpg, I personally got around 18 mpg on average, so it’s pretty thirsty all things considered.
Star rating: ★★★★☆
I’m a big fan of Audi’s in general, and whilst I think it’s a really nice car to look at, I’m not really blow away by it. It’s a bit dull, and doesn’t look that different to an S Line A4. The DRLs are a nice touch though and really smarten up the front of the car. It’s funny because DRLs are pretty standard nowadays, but at the time I remember them being such a brilliant addition to any car.
Star rating: ★★★☆☆
Interior and spec
The interior of this car is probably its weakest aspect. It’s not terrible or anything, in fact its quite nice, but it fails for the same reason as its exterior styling: it’s just too much alike an S Line A4. They do offer the better sport seats but they’re an optional extra, which is a bit frustrating for me because they’d have made a world of difference inside the car.
As for spec, it comes with all the bits and bobs you want from a car: sat nav, bluetooth, heated seats, a 6.5-litre colour screen, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, and more.
Star rating: ★★★☆☆
This is a really difficult car to give a conclusion on. If I was to review it as a petrolhead, I’d say it’s five star without a doubt; it’s fast, fun and just a really great car to drive. However, when I look at the bigger picture and consider its poor fuel economy and underwhelming exterior and interior, I just can’t give it a five star.
All things considered, it’s a brilliant car and one of the most surprisingly impressive cars I drove in 2016. If you don’t have the money to get yourself an RS car, then this really is the next best thing. No question.
Star rating: ★★★★☆