2020 Audi S4 review: A sweeter sweet spot

Ah, the Audi S4. I will not believe I’ve at any time fulfilled 1 that I haven’t liked. Guaranteed, I am nevertheless mourning the decline of the manual transmission alternative in this latest generation, but the present product retains all the other significant S4 hallmarks. With a bigger assisting of electrical power, superior handling and smidge far more design than the common A4, today’s S4 remains a wonderfully sorted and hugely able activity sedan. And for 2020, mild updates sweeten the package deal just a very little far more.

Like

  • A lot more aggressive styling
  • Snappy and intuitive infotainment
  • Robust and clean turbocharged engine
  • Outstanding trip and handling equilibrium

Don’t Like

  • Lacking the manual
  • Steering could be weightier
  • Lacks a genuine aggressive exhaust take note

A lot more visual intensity

Like the complete 2020 A4 family, the S4 advantages from a broader solitary-body grille, but with a honeycomb insert distinct to the S vehicles. The reduced front air dams are far more aggressively formed than the common A4’s, and my Glacier White metallic test motor vehicle characteristics even far more mind-set with an optional Black Optic Package deal that throws in black exterior trim alongside with wicked-looking 19-inch V-spoke star wheels. It’s clean and beautiful.

What is also clean and beautiful? The S4’s cabin. It’s your normal Audi inside: merely laid out, intuitive to do the job via and crafted from a assortment of good quality supplies. Major portions of the dash and door panels are wrapped in leather, Alcantara is scattered through, and even the tricky-plastic surfaces appear and truly feel sizeable. This S4 will get some other sporty touches this sort of as a flat-bottom steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and stainless-metal pedals, but the activity seats are the most noteworthy. They appear extravagant with diamond stitching and are supremely comfy with generous aid. They also offer you a therapeutic massage function, which I am often glad to get edge of.

The S4 is also purposeful, with a assortment of nooks and crannies up front to stash lesser objects in. There’s a lot of house in the front for grownups and you can find serviceable genuine estate in rear, nevertheless if you roll three individuals deep in back again, the lousy schmuck in the center will have to straddle a substantial center transmission hump. Then when you have to have to go stuff, you can find 12 cubic ft of house in the trunk, able of swallowing the goods from all but the most out-of-command grocery searching excursions.

A lot more tech

The other important prong to the 2020 S4’s update is housed in just the dash. Audi’s MIB three procedure controls infotainment features via a 10.one-inch touchscreen. Compared with the outgoing procedure, it’s 10 situations faster, which is apparent in how promptly it responds to inputs, completes desired destination searches and calculates navigation routes. It’s effortless to do the job via, visuals are crisp and the procedure is packed total of characteristics, this sort of as a gnarly 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile.

Audi’s trick Virtual Cockpit is also in the S4 with the 12.three-inch gauge cluster giving several displays. You can pick between substantial Google Earth imagery with 3D town maps or an S Overall performance mode with a tach and speedo placed front and center, flanked by a boost gauge and lap timer.

Audi’s MIB three infotainment procedure is speedy and intuitive.


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The S4 is also set up to prevent any moveable equipment that arrive aboard from at any time going lifeless. Passengers up front have USB-A and USB-C outlets, a wireless charging pad and a 12-volt socket in just arm’s attain. Riders in back again have two USB-A ports and a 12-volt plug on the back again of the center console. Heck, you can find even a 12-volt outlet in the trunk.

On the protection technological know-how front, this S4 is flush with products. It’s received adaptive cruise command, ahead-collision warning with automatic braking, blind-spot checking, lane-trying to keep support, a 360-degree camera, rear cross-targeted visitors warn and a head-up exhibit.

All-all over performer

Almost nothing about the S4’s performance credentials modify for the 2020 product calendar year update, which I am not actually bummed about. The three.-liter turbocharged V6 with 349 horsepower and 369 pound-ft of torque is nevertheless its clean, punchy self, functioning with a fluid-shifting 8-pace automatic. Use the Audi Drive Select procedure to pick the Dynamic location for lag-free of charge launches, getting the three,847-pound sedan to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Healthful thrust is readily out there through the entirety of the rev band to zip absent from stoplights and effortlessly merge onto expressways.

The S4’s turbocharged V6 produces a healthful 349 horsepower and 369 pound-ft of torque.


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How do the Audi’s numbers stack up versus the levels of competition? Quite nicely, except for horsepower. The BMW M340i xDrive and Mercedes-AMG C43 outgun it with 382 hp and 385 hp, respectively. In the torque division, the S4 is in the middle of the mix, marginally edging past the Bimmer’s 368 pound-ft of twist, but at the rear of the Benz’s 384. As for -to-60-mph situations, they’re all in the minimal-to-mid 4-2nd range with M340i the quickest at 4.one seconds and C43 occupying the rear at 4.five seconds.

Gas economic system in the S4 is appropriate, all things considered, returning an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon in the town and 27 mpg on the freeway. All through a week of generally town motoring, I noticed 21 mpg with my admittedly large correct foot. The only compact drivetrain nitpick I have is that I wish the adjustable exhaust procedure had a marginally louder and throatier location. As is, the Current location is the most boisterous with only a minimal-important gurgle.

Dynamically, the S4 nevertheless provides motorists a around-ideal middle floor between performance and trip consolation. When you happen to be in the mood to toss it tricky via corners, put the adaptive suspension and the out there Dynamic Steering procedure into Sport for brisk turn-in and controlled body motions. I by no means press it actually tricky, but the S4 shines in the course of spirited drives, tracking via bends with very little body lean, and it hangs on restricted with the Bridgestone Potenza summer months tires. No question the optional torque-vectoring rear differential is earning its maintain hustling the rear all over, as well. If you depart almost everything in Sport for standard driving, affect harness is considerably from jarring, and the steering isn’t extremely hefty. In reality, I wish Audi would dial in a very little far more steering pounds.

Bridgestone Potenza summer months tires assistance the S4 hang on restricted all over corners.


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When you just want to cruise, putting the S4’s chassis in the Comfortable location is the ticket. There’s far more body roll and the steering lightens and isn’t as speedy to reply off center, but damping for bumps raises for a supple and silent trip all over town or buzzing down the interstate. The only factor you can have to get acclimated to right before acquiring a entirely comfortable motoring encounter is the grabby brakes. The preliminary bite is robust and involves a very little feeling-out time period right before you can brake effortlessly.

How I might spec it

At $sixty six,490 together with $995 for desired destination, my range-topping S4 Prestige is packed to the gills with styling, infotainment and protection tech goodies. Of course, that usually means it arrives with a bottom line which is a considerably cry from its $fifty,895 foundation value.

When constructing my S4, I might choose for the midrange Top quality As well as that will get me will have to-haves this sort of as blind-spot checking, rear cross-targeted visitors warn and a wireless charger alongside with the Virtual Cockpit tech. I really like the appear of the $595 Glacier White metallic paint and $one,four hundred Black Optic Package deal. Toss in the $two,five hundred S Sport Package deal for the adaptive dampers and torque-vectoring diff and $one,150 for the Dynamic Steering to up handling prowess. Tack on $950 so I can rock out to the Bang & Olufsen audio procedure and that delivers my Audi to a neat $59,990 out the door. 

With all the bells and whistles, this S4 test motor vehicle punches in at $sixty six,490.


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Sweet-spot activity sedan

With the BMW M340i xDrive starting at $fifty seven,690 and the Mercedes-AMG C43 beginning at $55,950, the S4’s far more reasonably priced pricing is an additional favourable going in its favor. The three Series is a sharper-handling specimen and the C-Course possesses a far more classy cabin than the S4, but neither is as nicely-rounded. With peppy electrical power, impressive trip and handling mix, clean and far more aggressive seems to be and cabin tech advancements, the Audi remains the most complete and powerful motor vehicle of the bunch.