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.

I was even more impressed by the S4's comfortable ride. Previous S-edition Audis, including the last S4 and the S6 and S8, have suffered from some pretty harsh ride characteristics, but the new S4 handles rough roads almost as well as any current Jaguar product, which is to say, very well.

Yellow wouldn't be my choice of color, but the S4's styling tweaks (wheels, mirrors, fascia) really bring out the best of the new Audi A4's look. The interior of the S4 is fabulous, which is typical of recent Audis. The back seats are pretty spacious, too, although four six-footers would probably feel somewhat cramped before too long. Elsewhere in the cabin, I found the blind-spot detection system to be one of the best I've experienced thus far. It makes me feel a bit lazy, but it can be quite helpful. What does it do? A yellow light in either sideview mirror turns on when there's a vehicle in the blind spot on that side of the S4; if you signal a lane change when a car is in that danger zone, the yellow light gets brighter and flashes, warning you. The system did seem a bit too sensitive, sometimes detecting cars a lane-and-a-half or more away, but it's better to be safe than sideswiped.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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