A high-performance S4 sedan and S4 Avant wagon rejoined the Audi lineup for 2004. Both pack a 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 340 horsepower. A six-speed-manual gearbox or a six-speed-automatic transmission with a manual-shift provision can be installed.
During the 2004 model year, Audi launched an S4 Cabriolet convertible. Little has changed for 2005.
Quattro all-wheel drive is standard on all S4 models. A Torsen torque-sensing center differential helps send power to the wheels with the most traction. Extensive use of aluminum in the suspension results in low unsprung mass.
(Skip to details on the: S4 Avant | S4 Cabriolet)
Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights flank the S4's double grille, which features unique S-model execution. Large front air intakes are installed, and the sedan receives a trunk-mounted spoiler. AVUS cast-alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires, and side mirrors have aluminum accents. The S4's sport suspension includes stiffer shocks and springs, stronger stabilizer bars and a lowered ride height.
All S4 models feature a 60/40-split folding rear seat and seat five occupants. The driver faces gray instruments and a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel; Tiptronic shift paddles are installed on models equipped with the automatic transmission. Silk Nappa leather upholstery is used, and the Recaro sport seats have 12-way power adjustment.
All S4s are prewired for either XM or Sirius Satellite Radio. Options include a navigation system, heated front seats and a 215-watt Bose premium sound system.
Under the Hood
Audi's 4.2-liter V-8, which is also used in the automaker's larger models, was modified to fit into the S4's compact engine compartment. Developing 340 hp at 7,000 rpm, the V-8 produces 302 pounds-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. Audi claims the S4 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds when equipped with the six-speed-manual gearbox. A specially tuned exhaust system is installed. A six-speed-automatic transmission that features a manual-shift provision is available.
Antilock brakes have front and rear electronic differential locks and electronic rear-brake pressure regulation. Standard side curtain-type airbags cover the entire side-window area. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for front occupants are standard, and rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional. Height-adjustable front seat belts have load limiters.
The S4 Avant wagon's powertrain is the same as the S4 sedan's. Aluminum roof rails are installed. The Avant models have a dual-loading cargo floor, a full-size cargo cover and a protective net. Back to top
Audi already had an A4 convertible in its lineup but chose to add a high-performance S4 edition as a mid-2004 model. The four-passenger convertible's grille is different from the sedan's. In addition, the exhaust pipes are larger, and a rear spoiler isn't used on the composite trunk lid. Powertrain details in the S4 Cabriolet are the same as the sedan's. In models equipped with the automatic transmission, paddle shifters are included for manual gear changes.
Structural refinements in the S4 convertible are found in its sills, A-pillars, under the rear seat and in the double bulkhead behind the backseat. Sensors in the active rollover protection system detect an imminent rollover and then deploy protective hoops behind the rear seats. The power fabric top contains a heated glass rear window.
The S4 Cabriolet is quick and capable. It rides and handles as if it's almost gliding atop the pavement, without a hint of heaviness. Little steering effort is needed, but the open-top S4 responds instantly and confidently once you get past that sensation of lightness. Acceleration with the manual shift falls short of startling, but it comes close — both from a standstill and when passing or merging. Shifts demand some finesse to avoid jerkiness.
The ride is almost gentle on smooth surfaces, but roughness turns up as the pavement gets harsher. Wind rush with the top down can get nasty, but the S4 convertible feels solid even on undulating pavement. Backseat legroom is rather sparse, and trunk space is modest. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||February 14, 2005|
|Jason Stein||March 13, 2005|
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