The Audi S4 and S5 have always been somewhat like cult cars for Audi buyers who know what they want and are happy to see these new models finally enter showrooms. There’s not a lot of cross-shopping among the faithful. Some will suggest that these cars “compete” against versions of the BMW 340i, Mercedes C43, Lexus IS 350 F Sport and even the Jag XE 35t R-Sport. But that’s on paper. In the minds of Audi buyers, according to Audi, there’s no competition.
“The audience for these cars is very loyal,” said Audi’s vice president of product management Filip Brabec. “They typically only consider these types of products when they shop.”
The Audi S4 sedan shares the same 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 as the S5 coupe.MLB Evo platform for the B9 family, which includes the Q5 and Q7, we don’t anticipate any complaints.
Both the S4 and S5 are powered by an all-new 3.0-liter V6 making 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That’s within a few increments of previous S4/S5 engines, both V6 and V8. For this powerplant, Audi placed a single twin-scroll turbo on top of the engine in the valley of the V, running the air from the outside in, so to speak, instead of hanging two smaller turbos outside the V6. The combustion process in the new engine is a modified Miller cycle that reaches peak torque low down, from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm. Peak power is achieved higher up, from 5,400 to 6,400 rpm.
Audi 3.0-liter turbo makes 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
It’s mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with the requisite paddle shifters. Why no manual in such a potentially sporty car?
Plus, “When you get into the driver-assist system, you need an automatic transmission (to fully utilize all the functions).”
Those functions include Quattro all-wheel drive, of course, with electronic torque vectoring. A self-locking center differential normally splits torque 40/60 front/rear. The S sport package allows the system to actively split torque on the rear axle via a pair of clutches on each half-shaft.
“The Quattro sport rear diff is quicker, more neutral, more responsive,” Garbis said.
It’s adjustable through the Audi drive select system, which allows you to pick from four different modes -- comfort, auto, dynamic and individual -- to set the kind of driving feel you want. You can adjust gearshift points, steering, damper control and even cruise-control settings. Sport adaptive damping suspension changes shock stiffness while dynamic steering changes the variable steering ratio.
New aluminum suspension pieces reduce unsprung weight in the five-link front suspension. The steering rack itself is now placed in the center of the front end for more precise control through the wheel.
A phalanx of sensors too numerous to list warn you of any impending trouble coming from just about any direction -- except maybe birds pooping on the roof (and maybe there is such a sensor, but we missed it).
Diamond stitching gives you at least 15 mph on the top end, maybe more.
We decided to start driving these in numerical order, so we got in the S4 first. Right out of the gate, the steering and balance felt good in slow city driving. The steering felt well-connected to the road, and throttle response from the new engine was quick. The seats wrap around you like they missed you and love you, or at least you can set them up that way. They are multi-adjustable, so you’ll feel comfortable no matter what. Audi and other manufacturers seem to think that “diamond-cross stitching” on the seats is some kind of high-class identifier that people will be impressed with. People are sometimes idiots. Who cares what the stitching is on your seats? You could instead care that these can be adjusted for bolster tightness, lumbar, tilt, and a bunch of other things that will leave you feeling ready to race or relax, as conditions demand. The sound of the exhaust was a little too loud and intrusive in the cabin. It has a "soundaktor," which is diaphragm at the rear of the engine bay (bolted to the firewall) that takes the engine sound and enhances it through resonance. The rest is pure exhaust tone. No enhanced audio. But come on -- who needs to hear every blappin’ burble of combustion in the cabin? The amount of exhaust tone is adjustable via the Drive Select system. We had the cars set to Dynamic. So if you prefer a quieter exhaust tone, then it can be had and be a very civil driving experience, Audi said.
On the interstate, acceleration was also good. Impressive, even. Audi quotes 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, which is beyond sound for a car that also seats five. Top speed is 155 mph. We didn’t see that. The twisting two-lane mountain road where Audi directed us is always hit-or-miss in terms of traffic, with lumbering lunkers plodding along and nowhere to pass them. The day we had it, they were all polite and let us by (we don’t flash lights or tailgate; that would be rude). It was a great road, and the S4 powered through it like it meant it. Power was never lacking, and if there was some turbo lag, it wasn’t really enough to complain about -- you just have to anticipate your coming power needs and pull back on the paddle shifter in time. Shifts cracked off more quickly than we could have done with a manual, that’s for sure.
The S4 tackles a mountain road.
When we pushed it kind of hard in corners, the S4 felt like it would ultimately understeer. Granted, anything you throw into a corner too fast will understeer, but we played around with the throttle and never busted the rear end loose even though we had it in “dynamic” mode up there in the mountains. Maybe on an autocross course, we’d be able to kick the back end loose and smoke the rear tires like they do in those car commercials, but we didn’t want to wind up sailing off the road into ignominy.
We got back to Audi HQ, swapped the S4 for an S5 and headed back up the mountain on the other side. Maybe it was the lunch we just wolfed down between cars, but the S5 felt heavier than the S4 in tight corners. It’s not heavier. Curb weights are listed as 3,858 pounds for the S4 and 3,836 pounds for the S5. At the end of the day, we’d have chosen the sedan over the coupe, with its 22 extra pounds and greater passenger room. But we’d seal up that "soundaktor" to try and tone down that dang exhaust note. We ain’t teenage street racers anymore, y'know.
The styling of the S4 and S5 is understated, perhaps even a little stealthy. Or bland. You decide.
There are so many good choices in this category. If you are brand agnostic and didn’t get an Audi tattoo or name your kids S4 and S5, then you should test-drive all the cars we listed here: the BMW 340i, Mercedes C43, Lexus IS 350 F Sport and the Jag XE 35t R-Sport. Tell us what you thought. We had just driven the new Mercedes C43 a few weeks before this and liked that sports sedan, too. Which would we choose? Maybe an M2 one class and two doors down, rear seat passengers be darned. In this class? Maybe this. As Audi says, S4 buyers aren’t really looking anywhere else.
The price starts at $51,875 for an S4. The Mercedes C43 and Jaguar 35t R-Sport are close to that sticker. The Lexus starts lower, the BMW higher. True, you could buy a plain old FWD A4 for a mere $40,350, but with a base A4, you’d get a FWD 190-hp 2.0-liter four and a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds, which wouldn’t be as much fun. You’re not going to be around forever, remember, so maybe the extra 10 grand for an S4 would be worth it, don’t you think? We think so.
Of course, we also saw the new RS5 at Geneva this year, with its 450-hp Porsche V6 underhood. That car might cost 36 grand more than the base S4 and twice as much as the A4, but it could make us forget, however temporarily, the practical and relatively cost-effective S4. There’s no official word on when the RS5 will be coming to the U.S. So for now, the S4/S5 is your Audi performance car of choice.
Mark Vaughn - West Coast Editor Mark Vaughn covers all car things west of the Mississippi from his Autoweek lair high above the LA metropolis.
>On Sale: Now
>Base Price: $51,875
>Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, eight-speed automatic, awd
>Output: 354 hp @ 5400-6400 rpm; 369 lb ft @ 1370-4500 rpm
>Curb Weight: 3858 pounds
>0-60 MPH: 4.4 sec. (mfg.)
>Fuel Economy: 21/30/24(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
>Pros: Taut handling with plenty of power for a roomy and practical sedan or coupe
>Cons: No one's going to snap their necks checking out the styling
Source : http://autoweek.com/article/drive-reviews/first-drives-2018-audi-s4-sedan-and-s5-coupe