After a one-year hiatus, Audi is bringing back its hot S4 quattro sedan in a form that's destined to impress enthusiast drivers on every level. While the 2010 S4 four-door carries on with all the cool cosmetic and functional handling touches, it swaps the aging 4.2-liter non-direct-injected V8 used in its all-wheel-drive predecessor for a supercharged version of Audi's smaller, lighter 3.0-liter V6 FSI direct-injected engine. Where the former offered 340 horsepower and 302 lb.-ft of torque, this stellar V6 cranks out 333 ponies but a stouter 325 lb.-ft of twist that arrives at just 1,500 rpm. That's sufficient to drop the new S4's 0-60 mph time from 5.3 to 4.9 seconds on vehicles with the standard six-speed manual gearbox while improving the overall balance and agility of the package. Fuel economy is up even more impressively. A manually-shifted 2010 S4 Sedan nets 18/27 city/highway mpg versus 13/20 mpg for the 2008 and when the new S4 is equipped with the optional six-speed Tiptronic autoshifter, the EPA numbers bounce from 14/21 mpg to 18/28 mpg for 2010.
Like its A5/S5 Cabriolet cousins, the 2010 S4 sedan benefits from the latest version of Audi's new 3G MMI (Multi Media Interface) and SIRIUS Satellite Radio while also offering an optional Navigation package that brings 3D graphics and upgraded voice-activated control capabilities. Other key upgrades include both the Audi Drive Select option that permits customization of the steering, suspension, throttle and shift mapping fuctions as well a the available Sports Rear Differential that enhances the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system by adding rear torque-vectoring capabilities.
If more performance, more economy and more of the latest Audi tech aren't enough, the new S4 quattro sedan is also significantly more affordable than its 2008 counterpart. For openers, the more efficient supercharged V6 FSI engine eliminates the $1,300-$1,700 in gas guzzler taxes levied on the V8-powered S4. Fitted with a manual transmission, the 2010 S4 starts at $46,725 compared to $51,124 on the 2008 model. A Tiptronic-equipped 2010 S4 commands $48,125 compared to the 2008's $51,835 tag. Expect the 2010 S4 Quattro sedan to start arriving at Audi dealers later this month.