2010 Audi S4

Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6 man trans

Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6 man trans

2010 audi s4 Reviews and News

2010 Acura TL SH AWD Audi S4 Front In Motion
Growing up doesn't have to suck the fun out of driving. You don't have to sell your soul -- and your Mitsubishi Lancer Evo -- and buy a life-sucking, automatic-transmission, front-wheel-drive sled just because you landed a real job and produced offspring. These two luxury sedans appear grown up to the outside world, but when no one is looking, the cars can bring out your inner juvenile delinquent. You probably never thought of the Acura TL SH-AWD and the Audi S4 on the same day, much less in the same sentence. But this duo is remarkably similar in base price, power, and weight. And significantly, they both use torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive systems to ensure that they don't sacrifice one iota of the corner-carving thrills you've grown to love. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the two cars that will change your perception of all-wheel-drive luxury sedans.
2010 Acura TL SH AWD Audi S4 Front In Motion
In a tit-for-tat comparison between two cars that share the same driveline philosophy, it quickly becomes obvious that the Acura and the Audi are significantly different only in the details. Despite riding on a wheelbase within an inch and a half of the Audi S4's, the Acura TL is about ten inches longer and two inches wider. In fact, its interior is sufficiently voluminous to push the TL into the next EPA size class. The S4's lower beltline and bigger windows give a better view out, though, effectively eliminating any difference in perceived interior size. It's only from the back seat where the size differential becomes pronounced, but the S4 still offers sufficient space for a young family. Although the Acura's trunk is also larger, its rear seats don't fold down.
Slam one of the TL's doors a little too hard, and you can't help but notice how tinny it sounds. Not so for the S4, which sounds and feels like the proverbial bank vault. The S4's attractive interior is up to Audi's typical high-quality standards, but the Acura's cabin is more striking, with a dashboard draped in symmetrical, sinewy curves trimmed with black-on-silver dot-matrix-patterned aluminum that provides a modern ambience without the risk of glare in sunny weather. The punctuation mark is a red metal start button, and although the shifter is located a bit too far toward the passenger side, its heavy weight and perfectly precise throws are among the best in the business. So, too, are the turn-signal stalks. But then there are the buttons. There are seventeen of them on the steering wheel alone, and perhaps another eight thousand on the dashboard. Despite being organized logically in clusters for climate control, stereo, and navigation functions, their sheer number means that it takes a good bit of time to become comfortable using them.
The S4, meanwhile, is intuitive from the get-go. The uncluttered dash and Multi Media Interface system are both easy to use, and the Audi's seats are just as comfortable and supportive as the Acura's (which is to say, very), but the German seat heaters are far more powerful. Unfortunately, Audi's base stereo isn't. For enjoying anything other than AM radio, you'll need to budget an additional $850 for the 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.
2010 Audi S4 Wheel
The TL SH-AWD comes standard with a 440-watt premium surround system that is nothing short of phenomenal. You can't, however, get three-blink turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, or swiveling bixenon headlights in the Acura, all curious omissions at this price point. Acura also doesn't offer an equivalent of Audi's Drive Select, the S4's user-selectable chassis system that customizes steering boost, suspension damping, and throttle response. We're still not fans of Audi's particular setup, as it seems to never offer the right combination of modes. The steering vacillates between being overly boosted or artificially heavy, sometimes in the middle of a corner. And maddeningly, the system defaults to the auto setting at each restart. At least the S4's ride quality is superb in any setting, and its electronic adjustability allows it to combine a more supple ride than the TL's with far better body control, two typically contradictory assignments.
The Acura's steering is lightning quick, with an overall ratio nearly as fast as a Mitsubishi Evo's, and its thick rim communicates more feedback to the driver, especially at the limit, where the Audi's steering goes numb. If there's one place where the Acura could use driver-adjustability, it's in the throttle mapping. Several factors conspire to make the TL frustratingly difficult to drive smoothly around town: First, the computer seems to interpret one quarter of the accelerator pedal's travel as a request for full throttle. And it's slow to close the throttle as you back off the gas. Further complicating matters is a clutch pedal that engages high in its travel and over considerable distance, making it a challenge to locate a consistent engagement point. What's more, since the V-6 is so surprisingly responsive, you wind up leaving traffic lights like an amateur with way too many revs on the tach. Or worse, too few, resulting in an embarrassing stall.
The TL's willingness to rev (and stall) no doubt comes from the particulars of its V-6. Like most cars based on a front-wheel-drive design, the Acura's engine is installed transversely, and a narrow engine helps maximize both frontal crush space and interior room. To that end, Acura uses a 60-degree angle between cylinder banks. This layout is well-balanced as far as V-6s go and negates the need for balance shafts. Despite its size (a robust 3.7 liters of displacement), it revs instantaneously, and the only drawback to the low rotational inertia is slightly gritty power delivery. That's a nonissue in the TL, since any coarseness is overshadowed by magnificent intake music, especially as the valvetrain switches over to the high-lift cam profiles at the fun end of the tach. It pulls hard to its 6700-rpm redline, and the harder you drive the TL, the better this powertrain becomes.
2010 Acura TL SH AWD Audi S4 Front Three Quarters
You won't hear a single complaint from us about the Audi's driveline. Except that if "Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT" is a stupid name for a car, then "3.0T" is a stupid badge to put on a supercharged engine. Unless, of course, the device is called a Tupercharger in German. Which it's not. Mounted longitudinally, the 3.0-liter V-6's banks are splayed out at a 90-degree angle, and thanks to balance shafts and counterweights, it's as smooth as silk. It's also decidedly more high-tech than the Acura's engine, with four cams instead of two, direct injection, and of course, the silent tupercharger that you never hear but, oh, my word, do you ever feel. The power-to-weight ratios may be similar, but the S4 is a full league quicker and faster than the TL thanks to the additional torque across the entire rev range.
The Audi's extra thrust should have been a huge advantage at Pittsburgh's BeaveRun racetrack, which rewards straight-line speed with two long straightaways -- especially since, on paper, the Acura carries no advantage in cornering or braking: the two cars have similar weight, tire section width, and suspension designs. The Audi's slightly better weight distribution would, we thought, be nixed by the Acura's wider track. And we were right -- as expected, the cars posted similar braking and cornering numbers in standardized testing.
But on a racetrack, the TL showed us exactly why Acura used the word "super" to describe its Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system. Despite its significant power advantage, the Audi S4's fastest lap beat the TL's by only 0.4 second.
Although the two all-wheel-drive systems are different in design, they both strive to accomplish the same thing: temporarily routing extra power to the outside rear wheel to help rotate the car in a turn. The big difference here is how these two cars are set up to handle to begin with.
The Acura is blessed with nearly perfect cornering balance, so its rear differential can easily and dramatically alter the car's handling attitude. It takes a little while to build up trust in the system, but you soon realize that if the car can handle any amount of power in the middle of a turn, it can handle anything the V-6 can throw at it. There's no reason to be scared of the right pedal-the TL begs you to steer it with the throttle. The more power you add, the more neutral the TL's cornering balance and the faster it scrambles through turns. Indeed, the Acura was faster than the Audi through nearly every single corner at BeaveRun.
2010 Acura TL SH AWD Audi S4 Front Turning
The Audi's all-wheel-drive system is crippled by so much understeer built into the chassis that, at very best, it will help the car approach neutrality. You can feel the computer shuffling power around, but it's slower to react than the Acura's system, so it takes patience and smoothness to get there. Add too much power or turn in too quickly and you're back to drowning in a pool of understeer. The S4 is far less bothered by midcorner bumps or puddles than the TL, but its cornering balance changes dramatically at very high speeds, when it transitions to oversteer. That's a surprise that no one likes.
The other surprise was how spectacularly undersize the Acura's brakes are. Even on a cool, rainy morning, one lap of BeaveRun was sufficient to fry the brakes completely. Each timed lap was completed only after a lengthy cool-down period and a call to our mothers saying we made it through alive.
If it seems like neither car can pull an advantage here without the other catching up, you've been paying attention. The final equalizer is that, comparably equipped, the Audi costs nearly $11,500 more than the Acura. That kind of money can buy the TL a serious brake upgrade. But the price difference isn't much of a factor here, since we've never actually heard of someone cross-shopping a TL and an S4.
It's beside the point to declare a winner or loser when comparing two cars that fall into such different hands in the real world. As that most rabid of enthusiasts, you already have your own prejudices and opinions based on the brands alone, not to mention the countries from which they hail. If we could combine the Audi's good looks, brakes, and tupercharged V-6 with the Acura's steering, handling, and all-wheel-drive system, we'd have discovered luxury car nirvana for the enthusiast driver. In the absence of that elusive hybrid, we walk away from these two wolves in sheepish skins knowing that they are absolute equals in one way: the ability to reassure us that there is, in fact, life after Evo.
Techtonics: Dueling 4WD
While the Acura and Audi four-wheel-drive systems differ in hardware, their performance goals are the same: excellent traction and stability on slippery roads with rear-wheel-drive feel and agility on dry surfaces. Forcing the outboard rear wheel to turn faster during hard cornering is the trick that helps both of these front-heavy sedans mimic the steering and handling behavior of a nicely balanced rear-driver. A control computer informed by sensors determines when the overdrive nudge is needed.
2010 Acura TL SH AWD Audi S4 Rear In Motion
The Audi S4's fifth-generation Quattro system ties the front and rear axles together with a center differential that provides a 40/60 front/rear torque split.
A Torsen device inside the center diff and automatic front brake applications limit individual wheel slippage.
When the Acura TL's SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive) system chooses to send power rearward, the driveshaft to the rear wheels spins 1.7 percent faster than the front axles. Partially engaging both of the rear-wheel overdrive gears diminishes the torque conveyed by the front wheels. To produce a yaw moment beneficial to handling, only the outboard rear wheel's overdrive is engaged.
- Don Sherman
2010 Acura TL SH-AWD
2010 Acura TL SH AWD Engine
Price: $43,245/$44,245 (base/as tested)
Engine: 24-valve SOHC V-6
Displacement: 3.7 liters (224 cu in)
Horsepower: 305 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: 4-wheel
Steering: Electrically assisted
Suspension, front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes f/r: Vented discs/discs, ABS
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport PS2
Tire size: 245/40YR-19
L x w x h: 195.5 x 74.0 x 57.2 in
Wheelbase: 109.3 in
Track f/r: 63.2/63.8 in
Weight, dist. f/r: 3860 lb, 58.0/42.0%
EPA Mileage: 17/25 mpg
Acceleration
0-60 mph: 5.4 sec
0-100 mph: 13.5 sec
0-110 mph: 16.3 sec
0-120 mph: 20.5 sec
0-130 mph: 24.9 sec
0-140 mph: *
0-150 mph: *
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.1 @ 102
30-70 mph passing: 6.8 sec
peak g: 0.66 g
Braking
70-0 mph: 157 ft
Peak g: 1.15 g
Speed In Gears
1: 37 mph
2: 64 mph
3: 88 mph
4: 120 mph
5: 133 mph*
6: 133 mph*
*limited to 133 mph
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4 Wheel
Price: $46,725/$54,075 (base/as tested)
Engine: 24-valve DOHC supercharged V-6
Displacement: 3.0 liters (183 cu in)
Horsepower: 333 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 2900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: 4-wheel
Steering: Hydraulically assisted
Suspension, front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes f/r: Vented discs/discs, ABS
Tires: Pirelli Cinturato P7
Tire size: 245/40YR-18
L x w x h: 185.7 x 71.9 x 55.4 in
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Track f/r: 61.1/60.6 in
Weight, dist. f/r: 3940 lb, 55.3/44.7%
EPA Mileage: 18/27 mpg
Acceleration
0-60 mph: 5.0 sec
0-100 mph: 11.5 sec
0-110 mph: 13.5 sec
0-120 mph: 16.4 sec
0-130 mph: 19.7 sec
0-140 mph: 23.4 sec
0-150 mph: 28.6 sec
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 13.5 @ 110
30-70 mph passing: 5.7 sec
Peak g: 0.69 g
Braking
70-0 mph: 158 ft
Peak g: 1.08 g
Speed In Gears
1: 38 mph
2: 65 mph
3: 93 mph
4: 124 mph
5: 153 mph
6: 153 mph
0901 02 Pl+2010 Audi S4+front View
0901 02 Z+2010 Audi S4+front View
Right car, wrong timing? At a glance, it would seem that way. The new Audi S4 arrives in the midst of a global economic slump. It was unveiled in October at the Paris show, where hybrids and electric vehicles stole the limelight, and it unashamedly advertises the motto Vorsprung durch Technik (Advancement through Technology) when everybody is talking low emissions and high mileage. Look closer, though, and the new S4 emerges as a surprisingly sensible proposition. It is expected to cost about the same as the car it replaces and it bristles with torque, yet it should deliver about 24 mpg overall (EPA figures haven't yet been released). At the same time, it's a tour de force that employs trick steering, chassis, and driveline setups to beam you from point A to point B quicker than some of its rivals.
But who, exactly, are these rivals? Audi identifies them as the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, but the 333-hp S4 falls between BMW's 300-hp 335i and the 414-hp M3. It also falls between the 268-hp Mercedes C350 and the 451-hp C63. The upcoming RS4 sedan and RS5 coupe, which both should get about 450 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque from Audi's 4.2-liter V-8, likely will arrive in 2010. For now, though, the highest-performance version of the new A4 is the S4. It won't go on sale in America until fall 2009 as a 2010 model and then only in sedan form: farewell, ultra-low-volume S4 wagon and convertible.
0901 01 Z+2010 Audi S4+interior
A comparison of the basic engine specs of the old S4 and the new car does not bode well: only six cylinders instead of eight, 3.0 liters of displacement instead of 4.2 liters, 333 hp instead of 340 hp. Are we getting shortchanged here? We are not. Maximum torque, that crucial parameter for drivability, increases from 302 to 325 lb-ft, and it is now available between 2900 and 5300 rpm rather than peaking at 3500 rpm. And although the curb weight is about the same, Audi claims that the new S4 surges from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, outsprinting the old S4 by about half a second.
While most supercharged engines develop their sweet spot between 3500 and 5000 rpm, the direct-injected 3.0-liter V-6 shoots fireworks all the way to its 7000-rpm redline. It thus combines the low-end torque of a force-fed engine with the top-end energy of a high-revving, normally aspirated one. The result? Enough power to rocket the S4 from 50 to 75 mph in only about 4.5 seconds in fourth gear, says Audi.
The seven-speed version of Audi's dual-clutch S tronic transmission, which makes its U.S. debut in the S4, is definitely the gearbox to go for, although a six-speed manual is standard. The main advantage of the dual-clutch arrangement is, of course, the totally seamless torque delivery, which helps maintain momentum during gearchanges. In auto mode, the system can be outfoxed by certain borderline situations, such as aborted overtaking maneuvers or a sudden shift of driving style, but the chips learn fast, and the fluency of the S tronic never ceases to amaze.
0901 04 Z+2010 Audi S4+rear Three Quarter View
To get the best out of the standard Quattro all-wheel drive and the 40/60 front-to-rear torque split, specify the optional new sport differential, which distributes torque between the rear wheels in a progressively variable fashion. It works under trailing throttle and even when the gearbox is in neutral. As the vehicle turns in, the diff diverts most of the propulsion forces to the outer rear wheel. This reduces understeer, allows you to select a more moderate steering angle, and improves roadholding and directional stability.
To specify the sport diff, you must first opt for Audi Drive Select, which includes adjustable dampers and so-called Dynamic Steering. Drive Select offers three different tuning stages-comfort, normal, and dynamic-and the ability to dial in your preferred calibration of the engine, transmission, dampers, steering, and differential. Dynamic mode provides a nice mix of sharpness and balance, of tactility and feedback, of intuition and agility. It is still possible to deactivate stability control, but this move doesn't yield much anymore, because the front-to-rear and side-to-side torque flow is managed to perfection by a couple of electronically controlled gearsets. As a result, hard cornering is no longer a mix of more or less understeer. Instead, the nose turns in, the rear end tracks to match, and the ensuing four-wheel drift is easily modulated by throttle and steering in much smaller nuances than before.
The electronic damper control fitted to the S4 is a conventional system that varies the diameter of an orifice controlling the oil flow. More important than the switchable dampers are the changes made to the base A4 suspension. To reduce unsprung weight, Audi replaced certain chassis elements made of steel with aluminum. To limit unwanted body movements, the company fitted tauter springs and dampers, and it lowered the ride height by nearly an inch. These modifications are all welcome, but those who live in areas with smooth roads might pine for nineteen- or twenty-inch wheels, as the S4's wheelhouses certainly have room for them. Unfortunately, Audi of America won't offer anything other than the standard eighteen-inch rolling stock at launch.
Inside, the S4 is an A4 in monochromatic livery-black in the case of the car we drove. It sports redesigned instruments with gray faces, a special leather-wrapped steering wheel, comfortable and supportive power sport seats, and optional stainless-steel dashboard inlays. Inside and out, the new S4 is an undercover fast-lane warrior rather than a decaffeinated RS4.
Audi has created a product that is the epitome of efficiency. It is introverted in appearance and delivery but extroverted in character and ability. Call it pragmatic, if you wish. Call it multitalented, because that's what it is. Call it the reincarnation of the Q-ship. All it takes to enjoy it is to adjust to the S4's minimum-input, maximum-effect approach. And to hope that your stock portfolio allows you to consider buying one when it goes on sale here next fall.
The Specs
On Sale: Late 2009
Price: $50,000 (est.)
Engine: 3.0L supercharged V-6, 333 hp, 325 lb-ft
Drive: 4-wheel
0901 03 Z+2010 Audi S4+supercharged Engine
Techtonics
Audi has rearmed its S4 with a more potent powertrain and chassis. A lighter, supercharged and intercooled 24-valve 3.0-liter V-6 supplies more torque but slightly less power than the retired 40-valve 4.2-liter V-8. An Eaton blower spinning up to 23,000 rpm skews the torque curve down the rev scale and up the lb-ft register. Between 2900 and 5300 rpm, 325 lb-ft of torque is available, versus the previous V-8's 302 lb-ft at 3500 rpm. The power curve is dead level at the high end, with 333 hp available from 5500 rpm to the 7000-rpm redline (compared with the previous S4's 340 hp).
Driveline upgrades include a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with a gear ratio spread 32 percent wider than the outgoing six-speed Tiptronic's range for improved fuel mileage.
A new active rear differential uses a clutch-activated gearset overdriving the outside rear wheel to diminish understeer in tight bends. While the Quattro AWD system relies primarily on mechanical manipulation of torque distribution, electronic systems help out during snow and ice driving. The variable-ratio power steering and gas-pressure dampers also are actively controlled.
For improved handling and road feel, the front axle is shifted six inches forward, and the steering gear has been mounted ahead of the front wheels to an aluminum subframe, which is in turn rigidly attached to the S4's steel unibody.
0810 13 Pl+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
0810 13 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
Right car, wrong timing?
At a glance, it would seem that a high-powered German sedan is the wrong car for the times. The new Audi S4 arrives in the midst of a global economic slump. It was unveiled at the Paris show, where hybrids and electric vehicles stole the limelight, and it unashamedly advertises the brand motto Vorsprung durch Technik when everybody is talking CO2 and mpg and $$.
Look closer, though, and the new S4 emerges as a surprisingly sensible proposition. It costs less than the car it replaces, it's 27 percent more frugal in the combined European Union cycle, and in format and appearance it is still perfectly socially acceptable both in sedan and wagon form. The truth is, the fastest version of the new A4 offers the best of two worlds. It's an instant-torque fuel-miser that will return 39 mpg in extra-urban mode (on the European test cycle) to reward pussy-footed drivers. At the same time, it doubles up as high-tech tearaway that employs trick steering, chassis, and differential to beam you quicker from point A to point B than most of its rivals.
0810 02 Z+2010 Audi S4+cockpit
But who exactly are these rivals? At BMW, the 333-hp S4 splits the 306-hp 335i and the 420-hp M3. At Mercedes, it aims at the gap between the 272-hp C350 and the 457-hp C63AMG. The car has not yet been priced for the United States, but in Germany the S4 is about ten percent more expensive than the 335ix and about five percent dearer than the C350 4Matic. But in both cases, the Audi has a power, torque, and performance advantage over the competition. Late next year, we expect to see the new RS4/RS5, which is rated at 450 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, sources claim. For the top-of-the-line version, the Quattro division will stick to the high-revving, direct-injection 4.2-liter V-8. It is in this context worth noting that BMW and Mercedes plan to embark on a different strategy. While the next M3 will switch from a normally aspirated V-8 to a twin-turbo in-line six, the C63 replacement is expected to shed its normally aspirated V-8 for a twin-turbo eight-ender with a displacement of only 4.6 liters.
Subtlety, thy name is S4
Our test car is bright red, but apart from the eye-catching color, it looks unexpectedly understated. The basic eighteen-inch wheels shod with 245/40 Bridgestone RE050A Potenzas are dwarfed by the wheelhouses that can accommodate twenty-inchers. The cosmetic changes aren't exactly earth-shattering, either: alloy-capped door mirrors, the usual S-line trim bits, a slightly different grille pattern, metal horizontal diffusers front and rear, and that's it.
0810 18 Z+2010 Audi S4+engine
No V-8? Isn't that blasphemy?
A comparison of the basic engine data of the old and the new S4 does not bode well for the 2009 model: only six cylinders instead of eight, 3.0 liters of displacement instead of 4.2, 333 instead of 344 hp. Are we getting shortchanged here? We are not. The maximum torque, that crucial parameter for grunt and driveability, increases from 302 to 325 lb-ft. Better still, it is now available between 2900 and 5300 rpm rather than peaking at 3500 rpm. Audi claims that, although the curb weight has only gone down by about twenty pounds, to 3638 pounds, the new 333-hp S4 outsprints the car it replaces from 0 to 62 mph by half a second, with a 5.1-second run against 5.6 seconds. That's the good news, part one. The bad news concerns the fact that when fitted with the desirable seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission, the four-door Audi needs an extra 0.2 second for the acceleration job, because the transmission makes an extra upshift. Now, let's look at the good news, part two. Despite the better performance, the average combined fuel consumption has dropped significantly, from 17 mpg to 24 mpg.
0810 06 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
Supercharged sweetness
Like all S and RS model Audis, the new S4 is deceptively fast. Its engine note won't crack open birds eggs in the nest high above the tarmac when it hits the 7000-rpm redline, its chassis won't out-meow the applauding cats that line the road as the car carves through a corner at full song, and its body language at the limit of adhesion won't scare away the grazing cows. In this A4 on steroids, speed is barely audible, barely visible, barely decipherable.
While most engines saddled with a mechanical supercharger develop their sweet spot between 3500 and 5000 rpm, the 3.0 TFSI unit has fireworks all the way to its 7000-rpm cut-out speed. It thus combines the low-end torque boost of an artificially aspirated engine with the explosive, top-end energy of a high-revving, normally aspirated engine. The new V-6's Roots supercharger produces oomph by the bagful at the word Go! That's why the S4 takes off as if launched by a catapult, that's why it responds to throttle inputs like a solenoid to an electric impulse, that's why it has enough in-gear power to beam this five-seater from 50 to 75 mph in only 4.4 seconds in fourth gear.
0810 16 Z+2010 Audi S4+rear Three Quarter View
Finally, the seven-speed S-tronic arrives in America
The seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic, which makes its American debut here, definitely is the gearbox to go for. It offers two automatic modes (drive and sport), and it invites you to change ratios with paddles mounted to the steering wheel. The S-tronic is not only more relaxed and more efficient, it also is even more inituitive than the slick shifter and the fuss-free clutch.
The main advantage of the twin-clutch arrangement is of course the totally seamless torque delivery, which keeps up the momentum even during gear changes. In auto mode, the system can be outfoxed by certain borderline situations like aborted overtaking maneuvers or a sudden shift of driving style between open road and city, but the chips learn fast and the fluent functionalities of these wizard cogworks never cease to amaze.
0810 19 Z+2010 Audi S4+drivetrain Illustration
Naturally, four-wheel drive is standard
Quattro is standard on the S4, and so is the 40:60 front to rear torque split. But to get the best out of four-wheel drive, you should specify the optional sport differential. Similar in function to BMW's automatic performance control device available on the X5 and the X6, the trick diff distributes torque between the rear wheels in a progressively variable fashion. Unlike the BMW concept, the Audi hardware also works under trailing throttle and even when the gearbox is in neutral. As the vehicle turns in, the sport diff automatically diverts most of the propulsion forces to the outer rear wheel. This reduces understeer, allows you to work with a more moderate steering angle, and improves the roadholding as well as the directional stabilty. At the limit of adhesion, when the rear ends begs to be reined in by the ESP, the extra set of cogworks keeps the tail in line by feeding twist action to the wheel that is closest to the apex. The response time of less than 100 milliseconds even beats the ESP black box by a small margin. The maximum torque difference between the rear wheels is substantial, but the biggest advantage of the sport differential is that instead of eliminating excess energy, it cleverly and smoothly redistributes it.
0810 07 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
Audi Drive Select: fancy name for fancy dynamics
To specify the sport diff, you must first opt for Audi Drive Select. And if you're doing that, you might as well also go for the extra-cost adjustable dampers and for the so-called Dynamic Steering. Drive Select offers an easily accessible personal choice of three different tuning stages, labeled comfort, normal, and dynamic. Via the MMI controller, you can dial in the preferred calibration of engine (throttle response), automatic transmission (shift pattern), dampers, steering, and sport differential. In a car like the S4, dynamic provides a nice mix of sharpness and balance, of tactility and feedback, of intuition and agility. It's still possible to deactivate ASR and then ASR plus ESP, but this move doesn't yield much anymore, because the north-south and east-west torque flow is managed to perfection by a couple of gear sets and their electronic brains. As a result, hard cornering is no longer a mix of more or less understeer. Instead, the nose turns in, the rear end tracks to match, and the ensuing four-wheel drift is easily modulated by throttle and steering in much smaller nuances than before.
0810 08 Z+2010 Audi S4+side View
If you love the way a 335i tackles a bend-rodeo-style sideways-then the S4 might bore you. But when someone poises the stopwatch and cordons off a given stretch of twisty blacktop, the fuss-free and focused Audi might well be quicker than the hooliganesque BMW. I'm of course biased, because I stepped out of my personal A5 coupe, which has Drive Select, Dynamic Steering, and all that. I like the steering to be light and quick at parking speeds, and I prefer it meaty and virtually unassisted on the autobahn. I also appreciate this momentary softness in the helm that indicates that the front wheels are about to run out of grip, when all it takes to bring life back into them is a little tug toward the apex.
0810 15 Z+2010 Audi S4+profile
The electronic damper control fitted to the S4 is not magnetic ride but a conventional system that varies the diameter of a valve to control the oil flow. More important than the switchable shocks are the changes made to the base suspension. To reduce the unsprung weight, Audi replaced certain chassis elements made of steel with new ones made of light aluminum. To reduce unwanted body movements, they fitted tauter springs and dampers, and they lowered the ride height by nearly an inch. To cushion excessive elastokinematic liberties, they installed stiffer mounting points. This setup works well, but I would not hesistate to opt for bigger nineteen- or twenty-inch tires. While they compromise the ride, they stick like superglue, and they make provision for the bigger seventeen-inch brakes, which are essential when hard driving is on the agenda.
0810 03 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Interior
A typically understated Audi interior
Inside, the S4 is an A4 in monochromatic livery-black in the case of the test car. It sports redesigned instruments with gray faces, a special leather-wrapped steering wheel, comfortable and supportive motorized sports seats, a new type of high-tech mesh wire trim, and bespoke striker plates. Inside and out, the new S4 is an undercover fast-lane warrior rather than a baby RS4.
Yes, we like it
Audi has created a product that epitomizes sublime efficiency. It is introverted in appearance and delivery but extroverted in character and ability. Call it pragmatic, if you wish. Call it multi-talented, because that's what it is. Call it the reincarnation of the Q-car. All it takes to enjoy it is to adjust to the S4's minimum-input, maximum-effect approach. And to keep pestering the manufacturer for a more tuneful engine and exhaust melody.
31145458
In stock from, the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 used in both the Audi S4 sedan and the S5 Cabriolet is plenty potent, but that didn't seem to deter the folks at Stasis engineering from pushing the envelope further. The West Virginia-based Audi tuner will launch its Signature Series S4 and S5 Cabriolets at the 2010 SEMA show this week -- both of which incorporate some major horsepower underhood.
0912 01 Z+2009 BMW 335i+2010 Audi S4
Nearly a year after its debut in Europe, the new Audi S4 has finally come to North America, and more so than ever, this new S4 should be cause for trepidation at BMW. That's because this generation of the S4 is more changed than ever before: Its reconfigured powertrain moves the engine rearward for better chassis balance. The all-wheel-drive system now sends a majority of the thrust to the rear wheels and also can actively apportion torque across the rear axle. The new, supercharged V-6 is lighter and more economical than the previous V-8. Oh, and it's had an almost three-grand price cut (plus shed its gas-guzzler tax).
0912 01 Z+2009 BMW 335i+2010 Audi S4
The two cars' acceleration was a dead heat, but what of the difference in feel between supercharging and turbocharging? In this instance, there really was none. Both sixes masterfully integrate their respective boost systems, so throttle response is linear and you're never left waiting for a kick in the pants. With the engines' absence of supercharger whine and turbo whistle, and their tremendous flexibility across the rev range, an owner could drive either one of these cars for a year and never suspect that his engine was anything but normally aspirated.
0912 02 Z+2009 BMW 335i+2010 Audi S4
Nor were we terribly sad to skip the Drive Select package, which, along with the torque-vectoring axle, includes adjustable damping, dynamic steering with selectable effort, and a choice of throttle mapping. In fact, during our hardest driving over the worst roads, the S4 with its standard suspension configuration - which is firmer than that of the A4 - displayed even better body control than the already exemplary 335i. And unlike some past Audis with sport suspensions, the S4 doesn't beat you up over bumps. The S4, like the 335i, was adept at absorbing impacts without transmitting any harshness. Again, both cars impressed us tremendously with their ability to blend agility and a relatively comfortable ride. (As it happened, both were riding on eighteen-inch wheels. They're standard on the S4, with nineteens optional - and fitted to the car that we tested against the clock. On the 335i, eighteen-inch wheels are an upgrade over the base seventeens.)
0912 05 Z+2010 Audi S4+side View
Outside, it's a similar story, with the BMW looking almost dowdy next to the sleek Audi. Whereas the 335i has little to visually separate it from the base 328i, the S4 is far less likely to be confused for a run-of-the-mill A4. The S4 brandishes marks of distinction that include its eighteen-inch wheels, a lower ride height, a unique grille, aluminum mirror caps, and a rear diffuser.
0912 09 Z+2009 BMW 335i+top View
2009 BMW 335i
0912 02 Z+2009 BMW 335i+2010 Audi S4
0911 01 Z+2010 Audi S4+side View
The 2010 Audi S4 is a great car. With 333 supercharged horses and an elegant and well put together interior, what's not to like?
0911 01 Z+2010 Audi S4+side View
I, for one, am enthralled that the "T" within the "V6T" emblems on the S4's fenders no longer indicates the presence of a turbocharger. This supercharger offers boost from square one, and as Mike Ofiara noted, there's little whine to hint at its existence. I thought this engine pulled hard in de-tuned form in an A6, but here - where it uses all 333 hp and is mated with a chassis that can fully harness all of those ponies - it absolutely shines. I know that when you compare specifications, the S4 lines up with BMW's 335i, but I'd rather have this car than an M3. Yes, the uber-3 is more razor-sharp, but the S4 feels more comfortable to use on a daily basis - that "comfort" mode is rather plush, and Audi's really nailing interiors these days - yet can still be just as much fun on either a straightaway or a sweeping road course.
0911 07 Z+2010 Audi S4+v6 T Badge
I have absolutely fallen for this car. The Audi S4 is a joy to drive hard, easy to live with, and hardly flashy (as long as you skip the yellow paint). However, if I were buying this Audi, I would only consider the car with the Drive Select package. The included torque-vectoring rear differential is phenomenal when you roll onto the throttle in a fast turn. The extra push from the outside wheel makes bends feel effortless and the handling incredibly neutral, as the car follows your line perfectly. The other adaptive measures included with Drive Select are also quite impressive. Most notably, the steering effort in Dynamic mode is much more engaging than the standard setting. Up to about 6 mph, the wheel is still feathery light (which seems a bit unnecessary), but it all feels good once you're out of the parking garage. Having driven S4s with and without Drive Select, I'd say it's a shame Audi didn't firm some of the controls in their standard offering.
0911 08 Z+2010 Audi S4+front View
You definitely can't easily detect the sound of the S4's supercharger, but the car does still have a nice powerful engine note. It's nothing like that of the 4.2-liter V-8 in the previous S4, but the reduced price and increased fuel economy are enough to make up for it (I know, I know: that's Audi's selling point for the car, but it really is true). The new supercharged 3.0-liter has lots of grunt and power, but the car is still easy to drive and not too high-strung.
0911 12 Z+2010 Audi S4+front View
I really think I'd choose this over a BMW 335i. It looks better inside and out, and is, in my opinion, every bit as fantastic to drive. Eric Tingwall hits it on the nose when he describes the S4 as a grown-up's Evo. Like Mitsubishi's all-wheel-drive rally machine, the S4 enhances the skills of the average driver without feeling overly computerized. The biggest surprise for me was the way the steering firmed up in high-speed driving. Kudos to Audi for getting that right. Of course, to experience the S4's best steering and handling, one must first fiddle with the car's Drive Select interface. Though it's pretty easy to configure, I can't help but wonder what the need is for this extra complication. Even in "Dynamic" mode, the suspension remained acceptably compliant, so why bother with any of the other settings?
0911 06 Z+2010 Audi S4+rear Fascia
The S4 is a singularly attractive sport sedan - although the bright yellow outfit of this particular example doesn't show it off to its best advantage - and the interior is just as nice, in typical Audi fashion. But the S4 isn't as much about appearance as it is about performance, and in that category the S4 delivers. The supercharged V-6 delivers momentum with no hint that it is artificially aspirated. With Audi's Drive Select you can configure the S4's steering effort and suspension damping to your liking. And on twisty roads or on a track day, the S4 makes even an average driver feel more accomplished than he or she probably is. I still have a slight preference for the BMW 335i, mostly because of the manual shifter - the Audi's throws are satisfyingly short but simply not as smooth as the BMW's - but the S4 is tantalizingly close to knocking the 3-series of the top of the sport-sedan heap.
0911 05 Z+2010 Audi S4+rear Three Quarter View
2010 Audi S4
0911 03 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
0910 01 Pl+2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG+front View
Judging by the new-model intros from European carmakers, you'd think the bubble economy was still going strong. At Mercedes-Benz, AMG has been developing a new supercar and a new E63; BMW's M division has laid its hands on the X5 and the X6; Porsche is rolling out the Panamera; and Alfa Romeo has priced its 8C roadster at a cool $300K. It's sort of a collective, "What, me worry?" spoken with a (mostly German) accent.
0910 02 Z+2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG+side View
0910 03 Z+2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG+interior View
0910 06 Z+2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG+georg Kacher
0910 10 Z+2010 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG+front Three Quarter View
0910 09 Z+2010 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG+cockpit
0910 11 Z+2010 Mercedes Benz ML450+front Three Quarter View
0910 13 Z+2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid+front Three Quarter View
0910 15 Z+2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo+rear Three Quarter View
0910 14 Z+2010 BMW 750Li+front Three Quarter View
0910 18 Z+2010 BMW X6 M+front Three Quarter View
0910 17 Z+2010 BMW X5 M+front Three Quarter View
0910 16 Z+2010 Rolls Royce Ghost+front Three Quarter View
0910 20 Z+2010 Ferrari 458 Italia+rear Three Quarter View
0910 19 Z+2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider+front Three Quarter View
0910 23 Z+2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI+side View
0910 22 Z+2010 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen+side View
0910 24 Z+2010 Audi S4+front Three Quarter View
0910 25 Z+2010 Audi A3 TDI+front Three Quarter View
0910 26 Z+2010 Audi A5 S5 Cabriolet+front Three Quarter View
0910 27 Z+2010 Jaguar XJ+front Three Quarter View
0910 29 Z+2010 Jaguar XFR XKR+front View
0910 30 Z+2010 Land Rover LR4+front Three Quarter View
0910 28 Z+2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport+front Three Quarter View
0910 32 Z+2010 Land Rover Range Rover+front Three Quarter View
0910 31 Z+2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante+front Three Quarter View
0910 33 Z+2010 Porsche Panamera+front Three Quarter View
0910 34 Z+2010 Porsche 911 GT3+front Three Quarter View
0910 35 Z+2010 Lotus Evora+side View
0910 36 Z+2010 Saab 9 4X+side View

Change Vehicle

Research Now

Used 2010 Audi S4 Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$45,900

Free Price Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.
Select this Vehicle

Compare The 2010 Audi S4

Click Circles to Compare

Your Selected Vehicle's Ranking

rank
3
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4
Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
18 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
rank
1
2010 BMW 3-Series
335D RWD 4-Dr Sedan I6
23 MPG City | 36 MPG Hwy
rank
2
2010 Audi A6
3.2 FWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
18 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
rank
3
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4
Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
18 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
rank
4
rank
5
2010 Saab 9-5
Aero 4WD 4-Dr Sedan V6
16 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
rank
33
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4
Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
$45,900
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
rank
3
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4
Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
333hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
rank
3
2010 Audi S4
2010 Audi S4
Premium Plus AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
333hp

2010 Audi S4 Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
3.0L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
18 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
27 MPG
Horsepower:
333 hp @ 5500rpm
Torque:
325 ft lb of torque @ 2900rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
50,000 miles / 48 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
Unlimited miles / 48 months
NHTSA Rating Overall
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
5
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
5
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R

Find Used Audi S4s For Sale

Search through millions of listings in the Automobile Magazine classifieds