The finest thing about the last Audi S4 was its amazing ability to function like a typical (though extremely high-spec) A4 for most of its life, despite its power and smooth performance.
Then, if you required or desired a little more speed or grip, you pressed a button or opened a tap, and it transformed into something else.
Best mid-sized premium car out there
With the new one, that does not appear to be the case. The current A4 (B9) has been highly regarded and is arguably the greatest mid-sized premium car on the market, so the S4 should have had an easy time becoming the best warmed-up premium mid-sizer.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. The S4 should win the battle against the BMW 340i and Mercedes-AMG C43 based on the numbers alone, but numbers aren’t everything.
On paper, the EA838 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine seems amazing; it was co-developed with Porsche (and it’s closely connected to Porsche’s forthcoming V8, with which it’ll share non-internal components like the camshaft chain).
One aspect of the S4’s technology muddles the waters for anyone attempting to figure out what it’s all about. This performance variant no longer has a dual-clutch transmission, and a manual gearbox is no longer an option. Instead, it relies on a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, which is the only one available.
The S4 has long been known for its modest styling, and Audi went to great lengths to achieve even more simplicity here. The styling is similar to that of a standard A4 – just the plastic bits are modified, leaving the pricey metal stampings alone.
It has the standard S-model matte-alloy-looking mirror caps, a slightly adjusted single-frame grill with faux-metal slats, broader sills, and oval tailpipes, as well as a little tweaked single-frame grill with faux-metal slats, wider sills, and oval tailpipes. The S4 rides 0.9 inches lower than a typical A4 thanks to its standard sports suspension.
Standard Virtual Cockpit
With exquisite sports seats that are great in curves and supportive on long hauls, the interior takes the B9 A4’s happy place and builds on it beautifully. The S4’s cabin is easy to feel comfortable in thanks to the considerable adjustability of the flat-bottomed steering wheel.
In addition to the standard Virtual Cockpit, the S4 boasts a fixed 8.3-inch center multimedia screen and the newest levels of Audi connection.
The S4 instills a sense of tranquility in everyone who enters it, as well as the assurance of invisible technical strength. Most people will be able to alter or change anything without ever having to read instructions. Leg, head, and shoulder rooms are plentiful in the rear seats. That’s everything you need to know before you start the engine.
The new turbo V6
The problem with the engine isn’t its performance, which is excellent throughout the rpm range and makes overtaking a breeze. It’s the background noise. The new turbo V6’s Dynamic mode can be loud, but that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant or that you’ll want to listen to it over and over simply to remind yourself what you paid for.
Tone, depth, and metallic resonance all fluctuate until, at the 6,500-rpm limiter, it’s just noise, never becoming enjoyable. If you were buying just based on engine notes in this class, you’d skip the S4 and go straight for the BMW 340i.