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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The S4 has always occupied a pleasing middle ground in Audi's lineup. With a bigger helping of power, better handling and a bit more style than a standard A4, the S4 is a lovely car that's nowhere near too stiff or unmanageable for daily driving duties. The 2018 S4, thankfully, carries on this tradition of being a beautifully sorted, yet highly capable sport sedan.

New boost

The 2018 Audi S4 has a 3.0-liter V6 engine under its hood, but unlike its predecessor, the new mill is turbocharged instead of supercharged. This results in 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque -- increases of 21 horsepower and, more importantly, 44 pound-feet over the supercharged engine. Together with the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, Audi says 60 mph will arrive in just 4.4 seconds, though the engine is still efficient enough to receive respectable EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

When pedaling it hard in Dynamic mode, the drivetrain is fantastic, with no turbo lag to speak of. Right-now thrust is available all the time, with peak torque online from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm, allowing for wicked shots away from stoplights and out of corners. In its full automatic mode, the transmission's gear changes are quick and well-timed, but a manual mode is also here for those looking for a more involving drive experience. The only downside to selecting your own gears is that plastic steering wheel paddles truly feel cheap.

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The Good The S4's new turbocharged engine is strong and smooth. Chassis features impressive handling chops, but is also capable of being comfortable for regular drives with the adaptive suspension.

The Bad The manual transmission was dropped for this S4 generation. The exhaust note would benefit from being slightly deeper.

The Bottom Line The new Audi S4's mixture of performance and comfort make 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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