First Drive: 2014 Audi S4 (Manual)
The family sedan can be so mundane … so we’re spicing things up and breaking free from the conventional world of soccer mom crossovers and their low-fat soy latte’s. This 2014 Audi S4 should do the trick. If you’re the type that likes to keep things zesty, this Misano Red Pearl aka Ticket Me Red paint should keep things interesting down at the police station.
The designers at Audi have it pretty easy to say the least. Not much has changed on the S4 over the years, and for this outgoing 2014 model it’s much of the same consensus. Though, that’s not to say this S4 looks dated… quite the opposite. The S4 has always been a bit subtle, held back – that’s the thing that has always drawn us to the Audi’s, the smart design scheme. They’ve always stayed very German – not allowed to really have fun. It doesn’t need to say, “look at me, I’m fast!” The red paint, quad exhaust, and optional 19” titanium wheels do enough already.
That is until you hear the S4’s supercharged engine speak for itself – and boy does it have a voice reckoned to be heard. Now we like to keep things interesting around here, so we got the S4 the way we like any sports car – with a six-speed manual. Connect that to a 3.0-liter Supercharged Direct Injected V6 and you get 333 horsepower of intoxicating fun. Add 325 lb-ft of torque to the Audi Quattro All-Wheel Drive system and zero to 60 mph will take 4.9 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph.
Earlier this year, we took a look at the Audi S5 – which is practically close in similarities with the S4. Only difference really between these two, besides the two extra doors on the S4 is that the S5 had the DSG automatic – which is one of the best in the biz. You can expect nothing less than excellence when it comes to the driving precision behind the S4. The handling is spot on precise in the corners and ultra responsive from the flat bottom steering wheel. With the Quattro All-Wheel Drive you have better control of maneuverability in and out of the bends – it seems all it wants to do is grip to the road – thanks to our summer sticky tires.
When it comes to acceleration, well, this is where the S4 comes alive. The S4 is so quick; it will thrust your lungs into the middle of the back seat. But it’s all good, the large disc brakes will surely put them back into position. At hard acceleration, the six-speed manual does the S4 justice. The throws between gears are short and when you go to downshift, the transmission will rev match for a smoother transition into gears. Thanks to our optional $1,100 sports differential, power is divided equal providing maximum grip when needed, which shows when accelerating hard out of a corner. As you accelerate pass 4,000 rpms you can hear the whining pitch of the supercharger and when redlining 6,000 rpms the snarling quad exhaust bellows like an angry hippo.
Part of the S package include a driver select mode which offers up the ability to adjust your driving style for the day: Comfort, Normal, Dynamic, and Individual (if you prefer to be technical). We don’t mind getting rough every now and again, so for the majority of our time we left our tester in Dynamic which firms everything up for extra precision. But we did have our go in Normal and Comfort a few times and really found no difference – under “Comfort” the ride was still as harsh as Dynamic mode.
Continuing with the S package brings many good things to the interior. For instance our black leather and Alcantara suede sport seats. The seats are not very comfortable but do make for excellent lateral supports when the road gets a bit twisty. And hey, they do offer up comfortable amenities like power adjustments and a heated feature (which is starting to come in nicely as the weather cools down). And surprisingly there is room in the back for two adults – at least no one over 6 feet tall.
With a simplistic brawny exterior, follows a contemporary simplified interior. While the design may be on the conservative side, everything is where it should be. Our sampled S4 came with Audi’s superb $3,050 MMI Navigation Plus Package. This adds Google maps with online services and Audi’s Parking System with a rearview camera. This is a top notch system, as expected that is easily controllable through the center console mounted dial.
It’s difficult to talk fuel economy when you have something this much fun sitting between your legs (no pun intended.) The Audi S4 is rated 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway – for as much as our right foot enjoyed the noise petal, we averaged a not too shabby 21 mpg combined on premium grade fuel for a good run of 380 miles.
Now, we won’t lie here, once we were handed the keys to this Audi S4 we about as excited as a teenager getting their first car. And perhaps that makes a little bias in our opinion. But that connection one feels between with their car is unlike any driving experience. And that’s what makes this Audi S4 a very rewarding driving experience.
|2014 Audi S4:||$48,100|
|Notable Standard Features:|
|3.0L Supercharged V6 – 333HP/325lb-ft Torque|
|Bi-Xenon Headlamsp & LED Taillamps|
|Quattro All-Wheel Drive|
|Leather & Suede Interior|
|Misano Red Pearl Effect:||$500|
|Quattro with Sports Differential:||$1,100|
|Black Optic Package:||$1,300|
|Audi MMI Navigation Plus Package:||$3,050|