First a confession. When I first got wind that Audi would be using a supercharged V6 in the next generation S4 instead of the throaty 4.2 V8, I was nervous. I was wrong. The S4 took the year off in 2009 while Audi launched the new A4 on the new B8 platform. The B8 platform moves the front axle farther forward making for a better weight distribution and a shorter front over hang. The new S4 is larger and faster then the previous generation all while being more fuel efficient.
As with all Audi’s, the interior of this new S4 is gorgeous. The materials are soft touch and are executed well. The S4 I drove while not fully loaded had some nice options including the navigation package, genuine silk nappa leather, Bang & Olufsen sound system, carbon atlas interior and sprint blue pearl effect paint. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is well worth the $850. The stereo had two SD card slots to play music off of. The space used for the SD card slots could be utilized for something more worth while like buttons for radio presets. Instead you have to go through menus using the MMI interface to get to the presets, this is somewhat cumbersome. That said, the third generation MMI system is more user friendly and better to use then previous generations. The navigation system is hard drive based which means it will move faster through menus without lag and also allows you to load your personal music on a portion of the hard drive. The genuine silk nappa leather seats that were two tone black and silver. The sport seats hug your body in all the right places and are bolstered well. S4 badges are strewn about the cabin tastefully to remind you, that you are indeed in something special.
The new supercharged V6 has 7 less HP then the old V8, but puts out 22 Lb-Ft more torque. Making the new 2010 S4 faster 0-60. The 2010 S4 has a supercharged V6 pumping out 333 HP, and 325 Lb-Ft through the legendary Quattro all wheel drive system. The Quattro system in the S4 has a 40/60 split front to rear power ratio. Optional is a new sport differential in the back which can vary torque from side to side in the rear. This helps with under steer and over steer when going through corners by pushing the power to the outside rear wheel. In operation, the sport differential works similarly to the system in the Acura’s with SH-AWD. The car I test drove had the standard 6 speed manual transmission. A 7 speed dual clutch transmission called Sport-tronic is optional. With the 6 speed manual 60 comes in at 4.9 seconds. Also available is Audi’s Drive Select package which allows the driver to customize the steering, suspension, and acceleration characteristics. The S4 I drove was not equipped with Drive Select so I could not give feedback on this option. The gas milage has improved with the new engine going from 13/19 in the previous generation S4 to 18/27 in the new S4.
The waters run deep in this vehicle segment and the new S4 is bringing its A-game for sure. It is no secret that the arch nemesis of the S4 is BMW’s 335i which is now available with all wheel drive as the 335i xDrive. We also can not forget the other German crosstown rival, the Mercedes C350. Both of the main competitors are less expensive, which people will ask then how is the S4 a true competitor. You have to look at the whole picture. While yes cross town rivals are less expensive they are also less powerful. Which begs the question are they really a better value? If you are paying more for the Audi and getting more then really it is a fair game. The price difference between the BMW 335i xDrive and the S4 is around $2,000 which in this price bracket is not a huge difference.
The new S4 is not perfect though the few items of question are easily forgotten once you start driving. When you look at the competition the S4 is definitely king of the hill. The new S4 starts with a base price of $45,900 before destination, while the one I drove with select options had a sticker price of $52,050. The main item to take away from this, is the new S4 is leaps and bounds better then the previous generation. Everything from the chassis to the interior is new and improved, it shows. The car truly spoke to me. It fit in all the right places and truly is a drivers car. I will leave you with this, it is rare I will walk out of a car and say “WOW I truly connected with that car”.