Audi S4

The much-loved Audi A4 returns to 2018 with a new look that is a bit more angular and athletic in appearance than the last year's model. The trapezoidal "Singlegrame" grille dominates the front end, while more defined wheel arches grace the sides and a distinctive shoulder line begins at the hood, runs the length of the A4 and ends at the tail. The available Black Optic Plus package provides a sporty, striking look that is the perfect addition to the 2018 A4.

A 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder powers the A4, making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It runs that power through a 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic transmission and can drive either the front or all four wheels when equipped with Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system. Quattro utilizes a locking center differential and wheel selective torque control technology, which ensures that the wheels that need the most power receive it.

Audi Drive Select provides four modes for total control: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each mode gives the driver control over transmission shift points, as well as steering assistance and damper control.

The A4 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, or Prestige trims. Standard amenities include auto-leveling xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, power adjustable heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, and heated windshield washer nozzles. Inside, 3-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, leather seating with 8-way power adjustability, one-touch up/down power windows, aluminum inlays, power sunroof and ambient LED lighting as standard. Standard technology includes Audi's MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch color display, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers and lights and a 10-speaker stereo system.

The Premium Plus adds 18-inch wheels and S line appearance items such as unique front and rear bumpers, body-color sills and a rear diffuser. The S line treatment continues inside with stainless steel door sill inlays, heated front seats that also include driver-side memory settings. A 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo, SOS telematics system, heated seats and front/rear parking sensors are also part of the Premium Plus trim.

The top-of-the-line Prestige trim builds on the Premium Plus to add a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, Audi Pre Sense accident mitigation, front and rear parking sensors with rear cross-traffic assist, LED exterior lighting all around.

Options for the base A4 include a Sport Package with lowered suspension and upgraded front seats, a Convenience Package that includes power heated mirrors, power seats and SiriusXM satellite radio and Audi Advanced Key. The Navigation and Telematics package adds Finally, adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and traffic sign recognition are part of the Driver Assistance Package available on Prestige trims.

The S4, the A4's ultra-sporty variant, includes a 354-horsepower turbocharged V6 connected to an 8-speed transmission with full-time quattro all-wheel drive. This means 0-60 times of under 5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The S4 comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trims, which are similar to those on the A4, but most buyers are interested in the S4's performance pedigree over technology and luxury appointments.

Standard safety features on all A4 and S4s include front, front-side and Sideguard head curtain airbags, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, stability and traction controls and a tire-pressure monitor. Rear side airbags are optional across the lineup.

Editors' Review

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Ah, the Audi S4. I don't think I've ever met one that I haven't liked. Sure, I'm still mourning the loss of the manual transmission option in this latest generation, but the current model retains all the other important S4 hallmarks. With a bigger helping of power, better handling and smidge more style than the standard A4, today's S4 remains a beautifully sorted and highly capable sport sedan. And for 2020, mild updates sweeten the package just a little more.

More visual intensity

Like the entire 2020 A4 family, the S4 benefits from a wider single-frame grille, but with a honeycomb insert specific to the S vehicles. The lower front air dams are more aggressively shaped than the standard A4's, and my Glacier White metallic test car features even more attitude with an optional Black Optic Package that throws in black exterior trim along with wicked-looking 19-inch V-spoke star wheels. It's clean and attractive.

What's also clean and attractive? The S4's cabin. It's your typical Audi interior: simply laid out, intuitive to work through and built from a variety of quality materials. Major portions of the dash and door panels are wrapped in leather, Alcantara is scattered throughout, and even the hard-plastic surfaces look and feel substantial. This S4 gets some other sporty touches such as a flat-bottom steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and stainless-steel pedals, but the sport seats are the most noteworthy. They look fancy with diamond stitching and are supremely comfortable with generous support. They also offer a massage function, which I'm always glad to take advantage of.

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The Good ~More aggressive styling ~Snappy and intuitive infotainment ~Strong and smooth turbocharged engine ~Excellent ride and handling balance

The Bad ~Missing the manual ~Steering could be weightier ~Lacks a real aggressive exhaust note

The Bottom Line The Audi S4's mixture of performance and comfort makes it one of the best sports sedans out there.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 9
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 8.5

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