The S4 is a performance version of the A4. It is offered only as a sedan, while the A4 (covered separately in the Research section) comes as a sedan and an Avant wagon. The S4 competes with the BMW M3, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus IS-F and Mercedes C63 AMG.
New for 2011
Changes are minimal and include adding HD radio to the optional navigation system. The Prestige model gets a standard backup camera and rear parking sensors, and Side Assist is now a stand-alone option.
Like earlier S4 models, the styling differs 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 integrated 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. Exterior features include:
- 18-inch wheels on Premium Plus model
- 19-inch wheels on Prestige model
- Auto-dimming, heated side mirrors
The S4 is distinguished by sport seats and numerous elements not found in the A4, such as a black headliner, brushed aluminum trim and a choice of carbon fiber, wood or stainless steel. S4 badges adorn the steering wheel, doorsills, gauge cluster and remote transmitter. Interior features include:
- Keyless entry and engine start
- Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity
- Optional leather upholstery
- Optional navigation system with backup camera
- Optional 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.
- Supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 333 hp
- Six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission
- Standard Quattro all-wheel drive with a 40/60 percent front/rear torque distribution
- Optional QuattroSport mechanical rear differential
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
- Electronic stability system with traction control