KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Audi S4 takes everything good about the A4 Sedan (comfortable interior, reasonable dimensions and 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 upcoming new 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 plus price tag and limited production numbers ensure the lucky owner a small measure of exclusivity.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're a high-performance enthusiast who doesn't like to compromise, you'll love the 2008 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 May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's Significant About This Car?
About the only notable changes for 2008 are the addition of SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Bluetooth connectivity as standard equipment and optional 18-inch wheels from the RS4.
The 2008 Audi 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 adorn 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.
Visually, the 2008 Audi 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. All S4s wear a 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.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2008 Audi 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, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, dual heated outside mirrors, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Driver Information Center and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Notable Optional Equipment
The S4's options sheet is extensive. Popular items include rear side-impact airbags, a power rear sunshade, Audi's navigation system, Bose audio, heated rear seats and a pass-through ski sack. The Convenience Package adds a garage door opener, dual power folding mirrors with day/night feature, heated front seats, Bose Audio, adaptive headlamps and rain sensing wipers.
Under the Hood
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 major indication 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 (manual), 6800 rpm (automatic)
302 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 (manual), 14/21 (automatic)
The 2008 Audi S4 Sedan's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $51,000 for the sedan and $52,000 for the wagon. An automatic transmission adds another $700 to the bottom line. Fully loaded, the S4 tops out close to $60,000. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the S4 is selling at or slightly above MSRP. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers are currently paying for S4s in your area. Like all Audi products, the S4 holds a strong resale value, higher than the Cadillac CTS-V and on par with the Infiniti M45.