Car Tested: 2013 Audi S4
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 54,57,450/-
The Audi S4 combines brutal power with superb ride and handling.
High performance luxury sedans are still limited in our country. The German threesome produce an array of products for enthusiasts. On one side you have the BMW M3, Audi RS5 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, but these are more suited for track driving and their daily usability is rather limited. On the other hand the entry level sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C-Class don’t have enough juice to satisfy those with an appetite for adrenaline. Well, Audi has something up its sleeve for just this type of crowd, the new Audi S4. Strikingly similar to the Audi A4, it has taken more than steroids to set the S4 apart for its sibling with the real deal lying under the hood of this sports machine. The S4 was first launched in 1991 and was a high performance version of the Audi 100 sedan. 1997 onwards the Audi S4 was based on the Audi A4 and has evolved together since then. We get behind the wheel of the Audi S4 and find out if it is really an enthusiast’s delight!
Exteriors – Similar to other S models in the Audi line-up, the S4 features subtle exterior changes over the A4 sedan but the ardent eye is unlikely to confuse between the two. The front grille and the rear gets S4 signage with V6T boldly featured above both the front wheel arches. The external rear view mirrors get a classy aluminium finish and the S4 also gets a sportier alloy wheel design with meatier low profile tyres and bigger brakes. The most obvious difference is noticed from the rear profile with the quad exhaust pipes hinting that this vehicle loves to keep the engine on the boil.
Interiors – Step inside and the dimensions are in sync with the Audi A4 sedan. Whats different is the 3-spoke steering wheel which feels fantastic to hold and is a tad smaller too. The grey dials look classy and the aluminium inserts on the doors and dashboard set up the mood for a thrilling driving experience. The black seats have undergone a sporty transformation and are extremely comfortable.
The gear knob is now round and be it the seats, instrument cluster, steering or the gear knob, everything clearly says S4 lest you forget. The audio system is great and pumps out brilliant sound quality but that’s music for the ears, the music for the soul comes from the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine.
Performance – What makes the Audi S4 special is the 3.0-litre TFSI powerplant which houses a bunched up 333 horses which are at their peak between 5500 – 6500 RPM spooling up a hair raising 440 NM of torque between 2900 – 5300 RPM. The air fuel mixture is enriched with the supercharger pumping in air to derive maximum out of this motor. The result is pure mayhem. Floor the pedal at any speed or RPM and the S4 will push you into the seat with authority.
The engine note ensures you take the S4 seriously with a 0 – 100 km/hr run coming in a mere 5.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/hr. Audi Drive Select gives you various options such as efficiency, comfort, auto, individual and dynamic. For any reason, if your preferred choice is efficency, it’s best you stay away from this Audi, for one simple reason, this car is meant to be driven hard. Inspite of redline driving, we returned with an impressive fuel efficiency of 6.5 km/l.
Though the same engine is doing duty on the A6, the S4 manages to derive more out of this motor due to a favorable power to weight ratio. Power is always available on demand and delivery is linear. Moot the throttle at any speed and you won’t be disappointed. Mated to this engine is a 7-speed dual clutch S-Tronic gearbox with gear ratios to suit evey whim and fancy. The paddle shifts help you to take control of things with gear shifts being slick and precise.
Driving Dynamics – Sporty and comfortable don’t usually go hand in hand but Audi has optimised both beautifully. We were pleasantly surprised with the ride quality of the S4, which was pretty complaint as opposed to other sports cars which are too stiff, in spite of it having a stiffer suspension than its twin sibling. In comfort mode, the steering is reasonably light and cutting through traffic is pretty easy. When you are ready to unleash the Audi S4, slot into dynamic mode via the Audi Drive Select and the steering will weigh up nicely and feels well connected too. Smash the throttle and you will be surprised how quickly it hits triple digit speeds. In this mode, the gearbox will hit the rev limiter before upshifting and the torque generated will push you right back into your seat leaving you smiling like a little boy who has just been given a new toy. NVH levels are good and the real music comes from the engine which plays up a nice symohony through the quad exhausts.
Corners are the S4′s territory and left us impressed, the balance is perfect and you can quickly change direction and the S4 will obey faithfully. The steering has been setup well and one full lock on either side corresponds to the full lock on the wheels enabling you to get through high speed corners without any hiccups or dramas. With thicker rubber and the Audi Quattro system on board, the S4 generates insane amount of grip. On the extreme limit, the S4 tends to get a bit understeery but sure enough you are likely to run out of steam before the V6 supercharged engine does. Stopping power is critical for a monster producing so much power and the S4 masters that easily. Wider tyres and big disc brakes work in tandem to retard speed quickly.
Verdict – Since the Audi S4 is not distinctly different to the A4 in terms of looks, one may wonder whether it justifies the Rs. 16 odd lakhs extra you need to shell out? This is a no brainier really. For only Rs. 16 lakhs extra over the A4 you get a sports car with breathtaking performance which can also be used as your daily drive owning to its compact size and exceptional ride quality. It gives you a kick in your pants with its polished road manners and is an absolute delight for the enthusiast in every department. Moreover, it is the only sports sedan in the market at this price point making it worth every single penny.
The Audi S4 is an absolute delight for the enthusiast, offering brilliant performance with exceptional dynamics.
* Breathtaking performance
* Ride and handling balance
* Value for money
What’s Not So Cool
* Ground clearance