After a year's lag time, the S performance version of the A4 that was redesigned for 2009 comes out in the fall of 2009 as a 2010 model. Offered only as a sedan and not an Avant wagon, it competes with the BMW M3, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus IS-F and Mercedes C63 AMG.
Like earlier S4 models, the styling of the 2010 is different from the A4's styling, but it isn't overdone. The casual observer wouldn't know it's the performance variant. It has different bumpers and a different front grille, a trunklid with an integral spoiler, LED taillights, aluminum mirrors and 18-inch wheels with performance tires. The brake calipers carry the S4 logo.
Metallic "aluminum-optic" accents appear as front and rear diffuser blades and side mirrors, and the S4 has four tailpipes.
The S4 is distinguished by sport seats and numerous elements not found in the A4, such as a black ceiling headliner, brushed aluminum trim or your choice of carbon fiber, wood or stainless steel. S4 badges adorn the steering wheel, door sills, gauge cluster and remote transmitter.
The S4 features keyless entry and engine start, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, bi-xenon headlights, a navigation system with a backup camera and a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo.
Under the Hood
The S4's engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that produces 333 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. Transmission options are a six-speed manual and seven-speed automated manual, the latter equipped with dual clutches for lightning-fast gear changes. It has an automatic mode and can also be shifted manually using paddles on the steering wheel.
Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, with a 40/60 percent front/rear default torque distribution. An optional QuattroSport mechanical rear differential enhances agility, Audi says, by apportioning torque between the left and right rear wheels. The estimated 0-60 mph time is 5.1 seconds.
Audi claims a significant improvement in mileage over the previous S4, but EPA estimates aren't available.
Along with the required frontal airbags come side curtain airbags that protect front and rear occupants. The front seats have torso airbags, and they can be added to the rear seats as an option. Also standard are four-wheel-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control.
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