KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Growing up doesn't necessarily have to mean growing old. For car buyers who have graduated to a luxury-grade four-door, the desire to rip down a twisty road may be equal to the need for a comfortable daily commuter. Plot these two lines on a graph and, at the point of intersection, you'll see parked the 2010 Audi S4. Boasting refinement that hop-up tuners could only dream of, the newly-supercharged S4 serves double duty as coddling people-mover and four-wheeled stimulant. Behind its understated but aggressive appearance, Audi's 2010 rendition of the S4 packs more power than a BMW 335i, better fuel economy than an Infiniti G37 and handling that rivals the world's best sport sedans.
You'll Like This Car If...
There's no shortage of luxurious sport sedans on the market, but the 2010 Audi S4 stands out with standard quattro all-wheel drive, more power than the BMW 335i and Infiniti G37, a blissfully smooth and surprisingly efficient supercharged V6 and handling that laughs at even the curviest of roads.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Buyers intent on owning the baddest sport sedan around will want to consider the 2010 Audi S4's higher-priced but more powerful competitors, such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. These alternatives are also projected to provide better resale value than the 2010 S4.
What's New for 2010
Once offered in multiple body styles, the 2010 Audi S4 is available to U.S. consumers in sedan guise only. Mechanical upgrades include a new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, an available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a Sport Rear Differential system tied to standard quattro all-wheel drive.
Those lamenting the demise of the V8-powered Audi S4 really need to spend some time driving the 2010 model. The new supercharged V6 is sheer joy, delivering abundant power, nary a bit of delay or whine and, in our case, 21.3 mpg overall. What really impressed us was how relaxed and compliant the S4 felt at slow speeds around town. Sure, the ride was a tad on the stiff side, but completely within the confines of sport sedan parameters. That being said, get out on an open road, drop the manual gearbox down a few gears and the 2010 S4 unveils the other side of its personality. At this point, reeling in triple-digit speeds is akin to shooting fish in a barrel and the suspension handles corners with appropriate competence. In snowy conditions, the S4's quattro all-wheel-drive system delivers sure-footed handling.
Supercharged 3.0-liter V6
Word of a six-cylinder engine replacing a proven V8 might have Audi S4 fans scratching their heads, but this supercharged powerplant promises to transform skeptics into believers. Power is smooth and plentiful, while fuel economy is surprisingly high. Our only complaint? We miss the V8's growl.
Audi Drive Select
Audi Drive Select is must-have technology for anyone who wants to get the most out of the 2010 S4. Using any one of four available settings, drivers are able to tune this sport sedan's steering, suspension, transmission and throttle to personal tastes and preferences.
There's a lot to like inside the 2010 Audi S4, but none of it has to do with the special S4 embroidery on the seats. We're talking about quality materials used throughout, soft leather upholstery and an adjustable armrest that puts the shifter right at the driver's fingertips. Deeply bucketed sport seats are comfortable over the long haul, but we'd be OK with a bit of extra padding on the lower cushions. Rear passengers of average height are afforded ample leg and head room, while the driver is treated to worry-free outward visibility.
Changes made to differentiate the 2010 Audi S4 from its more mainstream A4 sibling are subtle, making this hot-rod sedan a bit of a sleeper. The S4 is dressed with a unique grille, its own 18-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips, an aluminum finish on the mirrors and minimal S4 badging. Adding a bit of refined sportiness is the job of an integrated rear spoiler and slightly flared rocker panels. Behind it all are the A4's sculpted body work and menacing LED front lights.
Notable Standard Equipment
Befitting its ranking as the top-of-the-line A4, the 2010 Audi S4 is packed with its share of luxurious touches, including six-setting heated front seats and a three-zone climate-control system. Among the other standard niceties are SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Bluetooth technology and Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system. Using one central dial, MMI has been designed to integrate components such as the radio and heated seats but, as a result, S4 drivers are required to tap multiple buttons when attempting the simplest of tasks. Safety is covered by up to eight airbags and stability and traction control systems.
Notable Optional Equipment
Audi offers a number of desirable options for the 2010 S4, the most notable of which is the Prestige Package that adds automatic day/night mirrors, memory functions for the driver, a navigation system sporting outstanding resolution, 19-inch performance tires and a stellar Bang & Olufsen sound system. The 2010 S4 can also be tricked out with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, an Audi Drive Select system that lets drivers personalize the S4's performance parameters and a Sport Rear Differential package that boosts handling capability by adjusting the amount of torque distributed to each of the rear wheels.
Under the Hood
The 2010 S4 has a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The S4's six-cylinder engine clearly delivers plenty of power, yet daily commuters may be more impressed by its EPA-rated fuel economy: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a six-speed manual transmission and 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway with a seven-speed S tronic automatic. By comparison, engines in the 2010 BMW 335i xDrive Sedan and 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD are less powerful and less fuel-efficient.
3.0-liter V6 Supercharged
333 horsepower @ 5500-7000 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2900-5300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (manual), 18/28 (automatic)
With a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $47,000, the 2010 Audi S4 is priced roughly $3,500 more than the all-wheel-drive 2010 BMW 335i xDrive Sedan. That's when each model is equipped with a manual transmission; drop in automatic transmissions and the prices rise to around $48,000 for the S4 and $44,500 for the Bimmer. It sounds like a clear advantage for the BMW yet, when the 335i xDrive is outfitted with comparable equipment, the 2010 Audi S4 is actually a few grand cheaper. A fully-loaded S4 will run you just under $65,000. Buyers are paying prices right around MSRP, but those figures can change quickly, so consult our Fair Purchase Prices before visiting your local Audi dealer. Compared to competing models from the likes of BMW and Infiniti, the 2010 Audi S4's projected resale value is considerably less.