Audi managed to get more than 300 horsepower out of its latest S4 while getting fuel economy of 28 mpg highway, an impressive achievement and one of the reasons this car is the best we've seen in a long time.
The Audi S4 is the sport version of the company's A4 small sedan, but beyond simple suspension tuning and a body kit, Audi fits the car with a whole new engine.
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Although most of the body is the same as the A4, the S4 gets bigger front vents, with a fascia designed to better funnel air. The wide bumper band across the grille de-emphasizes the size of the grille.
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For 2010, Audi replaced the previous S4's V8 with a supercharged 3-liter V-6. Taking advantage of direct injection, this engine makes 333 horsepower, getting the S4 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
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In form, the S4 is a quintessential European sedan, with curved, modern styling.
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The S4 gets beefier brakes than those on the standard A4, complete with Audi S logos on the calipers.
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The mirror caps differ from the body color, using this brushed aluminum look.
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Being an Audi, the S4 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive. The Drive Select package brings in a torque vectoring rear differential and active suspension.
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The cabin of the Audi S4 feels more luxurious than past models, with better-looking materials. We also had a carbon fiber trim package that replaced some of the uglier plastics.
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The Drive Select package also brings in dynamic steering technology, which helps considerably in cornering.
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With the responsive engine and thrilling acceleration, it's not hard to hit redline in this car.
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The instrument cluster display shows route guidance information when a destination is programmed into the navigation system.
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We are really impressed that you can actually select music on an iPod using this instrument cluster display.
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Our car had the six-speed manual, which shifted with nice precision, but the high-tech option would have been the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.
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Nvidia supplied the graphics chip for the navigation system, allowing this detailed rendering of downtown San Francisco.
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This destination entry screen is a little rough, one of the few failings of the Audi S4.
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The navigation system includes traffic information, and it will dynamically route around bad traffic.
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Strangely, Audi includes SD card slots near the CD player, so you can play MP3s through the stereo.
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The car has an onboard hard drive, with room for music storage. The interface lets you choose music by album, artist, track, and genre.
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The MP3-compatible disc player shows music by folder.
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The car's Bang & Olufsen audio system uses a 10-channel 505-watt amp powering 14 speakers.
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The audio quality was very balanced, lacking thumpy bass or shrill highs.
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Audi's Bluetooth phone system lets you dial individual numbers or access a paired phone's contact list.
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A new voice command feature lets you say the name of the person you want to call.
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The backup camera shows very useful overlays, with distance and trajectory lines.