By KBB.com Editors
Audi's S4 takes all that is good about the A4 Sedan (comfortable interior, reasonable dimensions, razor-sharp handling) and ratchets it up a few notches by adding a potent V8 engine, standard quattro all-wheel drive and a race-inspired suspension. Designed to compete with the BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG Series, Audi expands the sports car definition by offering the S4 in sedan, wagon (known as the S4 Avant) and convertible forms. Comfortable enough to use as a daily driver, yet equally at home on a closed race track, the S4 delivers unrelenting doses of speed and agility, allowing even the novice driver to feel like a seasoned pro. The S4's $50,000 price tag and limited production numbers ensure the lucky owner a small measure of exclusivity.
If you're a high-performance enthusiast who doesn't like to compromise, you'll love the Audi S4. It's a remarkable combination of abundant power, incredible performance, phenomenal handling and a stunning interior providing first-rate comfort and luxury.
You won't like this car if you have to stick to a budget. It's not inexpensive to purchase, or to insure, or to keep the gas tank full. It's terrific, but it's not for everybody.
The S4 receives sporty new front and rear bumpers with optional carbon fiber trim. The S4's Symphony stereo loses its cassette deck but gains a six-disc CD changer capable of playing MP3-encoded CDs, and a power moonroof is now standard.
Driving Impressions The S4's levels of acceleration, handling and braking are simply far beyond most drivers' previous automotive experiences. Even those with considerable time in very high-performance cars will likely be seriously...impressed. Audi offers a choice of two transmissions: A six-speed manual or the optional SporTronic automatic, the later operated with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The quattro system is a perfect match for the engine, and does an exemplary job of delivering the V8's remarkable output to all four wheels for the optimum in traction, handling and stability. Although there is nothing subtle about the S4's ride quality, for those who want a car like this it's a small trade-off when compared to the S4's awesome performance level.
Recaro Sport Seats
The S4's Recaro sport seats are outstanding. They hold you in all the right places without pinching. Add the optional Alcantara upholstery and the interior becomes even more stunning.
Audi Navigation System
The available Audi navigation system displays route direction on a small screen tucked neatly between the speedometer and tach. This makes it quite easy to read the directions, as they are in your line of sight, rather than off to the side.
Audi has a reputation for terrific interiors and the S4's might just make you want to climb in and never leave. Open the door and you're immediately aware of wonderful sights, surfaces and even sounds. The 12-way adjustable power Recaro sport seats are covered in rich Nappa leather, with the option of Alcantara color-keyed inserts. There is subtle gray birch wood trim and S4 logos on the instruments and thick gearshift knob. Pedals are perfectly positioned for those who can accomplish the classic heel-and-toe downshift, and the thick-grip adjustable wheel instills a feeling of utter confidence when negotiating tight turns. Music lovers can add a 215-watt Bose audio system with AudioPilot noise compensation feature.Exterior
Visually, the S4 can be thought of as a variant of the A4, with aggressive front and rear bumpers that include slotted lower air vents, a revised grille and fog lights. Other S4 styling cues include aluminum exterior side mirrors, S4 badges at the base of the trunk lid and body-colored lower door lips. Though it is clearly a four-door sedan, the slick shape and blacked-out B-pillars make it easy to mistake it for a high-performance coupe. For 2007, all S4s wear a new set of 18-inch wheels identical in design to the new S8's 20-inch wheels. A tastefully small rear wing and lower air dam complete the S4's appearance.
The S4 is packed with such goodies as a six-speed manual transmission, quattro all-wheel drive, power moonroof, front-side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, 12-way power Recaro seats with power lumbar support, 18-inch wheels, MP3-compatible six-disc CD changer, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, dual heated outside mirrors, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Driver Information Center and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The S4's options sheet is extensive. Popular items include rear side airbags, a power rear sunshade, Audi's navigation system, Bose audio with XM Satellite Radio, heated seats and ski sack. The Premium package adds a garage door opener, dual power folding mirrors with day/night feature, heated front seats, adaptive headlamps and rain sensing wipers.
The S4's 4.2-liter V8 is a masterful piece of engineering. It has all the power of a muscle-car era V8 without a rude idle and course acoustics. Under normal driving conditions the S4's engine sounds correctly politethe only evidence of its eight-cylinder symphony is evident at the exhaust pipe. Push the accelerator to (or near) the floor and it's a whole different story. A throaty growl announces the arrival of serious horsepower and the car gains speed at a decidedly rapid rate. Choose the manual transmission and you may have your skills put to the test, as all that power means that gear changes can arrive very quickly.
340 horsepower @ 7000 rpm
302 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (manual), 15/23 (automatic)
By JohnAudiLover on Monday, September 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great sound system"
Cons: "poor mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This 2006 Audi S4 convertible has given me so much pleasure. I have usually bought a new car every two years but this car has been so great I am afraid to buy a new car. Other than oil changes and brakes and tires I have spent almost nothing on maintenance. The body looks great. Just this morning three men pulled up beside me and were asking questions about the car. I am often stopped in parking lots, etc and get compliments. Only problem is poor mileage but I expected this from the day I bought it, mostly because I drive it very hard."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By CRYSYS on Sunday, July 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unique, satisfying driver with lux and performance"
Cons: "Expensive to maintain. Really."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"As others have said, this car is unique, and maybe even irrelevant; but in a wonderful way. One car stood out in my quest to have a V8, AWD, 6sp, sedan. This was it. Literally. Styling: Taut, fluid and low-key. No boy racer look here. I'm 40, I don't want to look like I'm struggling with that. My car has a performance exhaust on it, and most of the time, people are looking around for the hooligan with the growly noises. This car doesn't stick out. The low profile helps, because it's a pretty fast car and you don't necessarily want to attract too much attention. Interior: Audi is known for great interiors. This one is no exception. It was a little before the super-lux interiors of the 2010s, but it is well constructed, has held up well and has a great number of creature comforts. The Recaro seats are very adjustable and comfortable. Grippy but not confining, I sometimes go for a drive when my back hurts, just because they're that good. The steering wheel is less than ideal and feels cheap in an otherwise well-heeled package. Replacements/upgrades are available for a price. Handling: This is a highway barnstormer with reasonably quick in-town handling. The front end is heavy with that big lump up there, but the steering is progressive and you always know what the car is doing. I like the way it handles. Some find it plodding and slow, I find it reassuring and rock-solid. Ride is firm but not jarring, even on Michigan's notorious roads. Performance: For its time, this car was very fast. Now, it's merely satisfyingly quick. Passing on the highway is effortless and addictive. Set the speed alarm or you will be in trouble with the law. Of course, mileage is rotten and premium is required. This is one of the costs of doing business with this car. Buyer beware. I have a big brake kit on my example. Stopping is effortless and fade-free. I cannot speak to the stock setup, however. Engine: This is the best sounding engine this side of an AMG or perhaps even a flat-plane Ferrari. Born to rev with 5V per cylinder heads and a reasonably high compression ratio, this engine pulls well at all RPMs, though drivers of Detroit iron may yearn for lower end torque. The engine was pretty high tech for its time and there are some engineering compromises to make it fit in the small engine bay. Notably, the timing gear is at the back (firewall side) of the engine. There are some well noted problems with durability of the timing components and cars that have not been well-maintained are generally considered taboo. It is an "engine out" procedure to do the timing, with some owners paying up to $10K for the service. This is now a sub $20K car, so that's a bitter pill. Also, high silicon aluminum block, (trade name Alusil), is prone to cylinder wall scoring. As a result, many of these cars are oil burners. Mine with just over 100K miles burns 5 quarts between changes. This is synthetic oil, and so isn't cheap. Another cost of ownership for this car. All that worry goes away when you're driving it, though. If you buy a car because you want the most rational and reliable transportation, this is not your car. If you believe that getting there is half, or more than half, the fun, this could be a great motor for you. Tip: Buy the newest, best maintained, lowest mileage unit you can find. Shop, they're out there. Spend a couple hundred on a good inspection of the engine. You won't regret it later as not doing so may cost you thousands!"
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By MHZGUY on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "V-8 AWD 6 spd Bose sound"
Cons: "poor mileage so so looks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The car is irreplaceable as Audi seems to have forgotten their roots and no longer offers a cab with a manual transmission. Mileage is poor, 14 MPG combined, but that might be a function of how I drive the car. It is hard to imagine a car that is more fun to drive. Even with the top up, the exhaust note is like music. Admittedly, it doesn't handle quite as well as my old 3 series cabs, but nothing handles like a 3 series."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Audiduty on Sunday, May 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Had owned (4) Audi quattros prior to this 2007 S4. Cannot be happier. V8 growl and power. Excellent handling, braking and Audi's superior interiors. Cannot see a reason to get a new car now. I love my car. Dealer keeps prodding me to trade up. All of my previous Audi trades were purchased by dealer employees because they knew the care I had taken of them. They are NOT getting this one."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By JayDub on Monday, May 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "All Wheel Drive means you can drive it anywhere!"
Cons: "Cup holders are under the arm rest."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fast. Smooth. Comfortable. Drop dead gorgeous looks. People still ask what kind of car it is and where can they buy one, even though this is an 8 year old car. Congrats to Audi for making this model sing with beauty...in perfect harmony to the sweet sounds of that incredible aluminum V8. Just nothing like it."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Mulfomi on Saturday, June 16, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Blast to drive, awesome interior"
Cons: "You have to know its expensive to own, poor MPG."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had my 2008 S4 for just over a year now and its been great. No issues with the car at all. I have put just over 10,000 miles on it these past 15 months and other than two oil changes, it hasnt seen service. I thoroughly enjoy driving it and am taking it to the track at Mid Ohio in a month. As a daily driver, it is fun as it is comfortable. I have the manual and love driving it but I also live in a small town so I dont have to sit in much traffic. Great car if you need four doors and yet want performance. Watch the back seat room if you are tall however as it is a two seater if the front seats are all the way back, or even close. As a VW Passat owner, this was a great car to move to for improved performance."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful