Clean Retail Price
The MT clean retail price reflects a reasonable asking price by a dealership for a fully reconditioned vehicle (clean title history, no defects, minimal wear) with average mileage.
|5-Year Cost to Own / Rating|
|$50,900||Coming Soon||$60,790 / Mediocre|
|$50,900||Coming Soon||$60,790 / Mediocre|
|$55,800||Coming Soon||$64,700 / Mediocre|
5-Year Cost to Own
- Strong acceleration
- Nimble handling
- Well-appointed interior
- Small trunk
- Looks too conservative
- Clunky start/stop system
Audi S4 Expert Review
The redesigned 2018 Audi S4 gets a new 3.0-liter turbo V-6 engine.
The 2018 Audi S4 is the performance variant of the A4 sedan, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive.
S4 Premium Plus: The base Premium Plus trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, heated front seats, leather/Alcantara upholstery, a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, Audi's MMI interface with a 7.0-inch screen, and two USB ports.
S4 Prestige: Moving up to the S4 Prestige gets you navigation, Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, a larger 8.3-inch screen for the MMI interface, and a head-up display.
Options include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, 19-inch alloy wheels, a dynamic steering system, and the S Sport package, which adds adaptive dampers, a sport rear differential and red brake calipers.
The 2018 Audi S4 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings are 21/30 mpg city/highway.
The 2018 S4 received a five-star rollover score from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS testing, the 2018 S4 received a Good rating on all crashworthiness tests except for the passenger side front small overlap test where it hasn't been tested yet and the headlights test where it received a Marginal score (Good is the highest possible score).
In the IIHS' front crash prevention test, the 2018 S4 received a Superior rating after it avoided a 12-mph collision and reduced the severity of a 25-mph impact by 22 mph (Superior is the highest score in the front crash prevention test). The 2018 S4 earned the IIHS' 2018 Top Safety Pick rating.
Standard active driver assistance features on the 2018 S4 include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
The 2018 S4 has a 13-cubic-foot trunk that can be expanded via the standard split-folding rear seats.
In a 2018 First Test, we noted that despite being the sportier model, the S4's ride is still comfortable enough for everyday driving. The car accelerates quickly and handles well with good body control. The start/stop system is unrefined because it turns the engine off right before the car has come to a complete halt. As with most Audis, the S4's interior looks sharp and the multimedia system has crisp graphics, especially on the head-up display. The S4's exterior is a bit conservative, making it a sleeper.
Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.
CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert
Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.
Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.
Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles
Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.
Second Hand — Not Second Best
Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.
But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.
CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories
CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.
Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.
We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.
The 2018 Audi S4, like almost every sedan these days, faces a challenging marketplace overrun with the crossovers that consumers have adopted en masse. And Ingolstadt hasn’t made things any easier for the S4, which shares showroom real estate with both Audi’s SQ5 SUV and the S4’s shapelier and slightly more capacious sibling, the new S5 Sportback. While the S4 remains a go-to for under-the-radar performance and luxury for proponents of the traditional three-box, sports-sedan formula, its wider allure is waning.
Now based on the latest-generation Audi A4 sedan, the revised-for-2018 S4 shares much of its makeup with the SQ5 and the S5 Sportback, including its Volkswagen Group MLB Evo platform and a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. (Audi unfortunately has axed the six-speed manual from the order sheet with the new generation of S4.) Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, with the S4 defaulting to a 40/60 front-to-rear torque bias; the system can shuffle up to 70 percent of the grunt to the front axle or 85 percent to the rear as traction demands. Compared with the previous S4’s 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, the new mill churns out 354 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque at a low 1370 rpm.
More Speed, Less Drama
Weighing 89 pounds less than the last S5 Sportback we evaluated, our S4 test car returned the same 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph sprint as the S5, as well as a quarter-mile pass of 12.8 seconds at 109 mph—0.1 second and 1 mph quicker than the Sportback. The SQ5 needed 5.1 and 13.7 seconds for the same measures. More important, the sedan’s times are both 0.6 second quicker than those of the previous S4 and fleet enough to better all of its key competitors save for the Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic sedan, which just edges out the Audi with a 4.1-second blast to 60 mph and a quarter-mile in 12.7 at 110 mph.
Rolling on standard 18-inch wheels (19s are optional) shod with 245/40R-18 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo2 summer tires, the S4 also returned an impressive 0.99 g of lateral grip on the skidpad and a 148-foot stop from 70 mph, although we should note that the 501-pound-heavier SQ5 matched its braking performance. Similarly, the S4’s observed fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 28 mpg on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test merely equaled the efficiency of the portlier SUV. The S5 Sportback, which shares the S4’s EPA estimates—21 mpg city, 30 highway, and 24 combined—fared notably better at 23 mpg overall and at 33 mpg on the interstate.
HIGHS: Solid performance, stealthy road presence, refined and high-tech cabin.
What the S4 lacks most is character, which is fine for a stealthy sleeper but less so for a driver’s machine. It does not do theater. Whereas the previous supercharged V-6 had a snarl in its voice and a crispness to its responses, the turbo engine, while more powerful and plenty willing to rev to its 6750-rpm redline, feels and sounds dulled in comparison. The eight-speed automatic gives up little if anything to the old car’s seven-speed dual-clutch unit, providing more fluid low-speed behavior yet with similarly coordinated and lightning-quick shifts. Responsiveness to the small, steering-wheel-mounted paddles is not quite as instantaneous, though. Dropping the shift lever into S wakes up the whole powertrain for aggressive driving, but the setting’s reluctance to cruise in top gear and eagerness to downshift and hold revs can feel a bit too eager for anything less than a flat-out pace.
Our test car was fitted with Audi’s $1150 variable-ratio Dynamic Steering system, which provides precise and super-direct action for the driver, but we probably could live without it. We haven’t driven an S4 equipped with its standard fixed-ratio setup, but the Dynamic helm always felt a bit artificial and stingy on the tactile feedback that we’ve praised in other sporty sedans such as the 10Best Cars–winning Alfa Romeo Giulia. The S4’s fine balance of solid body control and taut-but-tolerable ride quality on most surfaces also at no point had us wishing for the bigger 19-inch rollers. However, the torque-vectoring rear Sport differential, part of the $2500 S Sport package that also includes red brake calipers and adaptive dampers, is a worthwhile upgrade. It compensates for the S4’s inherent understeer at the limit—partially attributable to 56.6 percent of its 3928 pounds sitting on the front wheels—by modulating torque across the rear axle to tighten the car’s line into and out of corners. Additional configurability comes via the selectable driving modes (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual) of the Audi Drive Select system, which can vary the responsiveness of the steering, engine, and drivetrain as well as the firmness of the dampers. Yet, from behind the wheel, it just drives like a quicker A4, with none of the S4’s kit really endowing it with a feeling of specialness.
Lost in the Scenery
That impression carries over to the car itself, with the S4 mostly distinguished only by its model-specific wheel designs, quad tailpipes, and bright aluminum-look mirror caps. The S model’s quilted front sport seats, wrapped in leather with microsuede inserts, are as beautiful as they are comfortable and supportive, but little else changes inside. Like all Audis, the build quality and high-tech minimalism of the S4’s cabin is one of its greatest attractions. And Audi’s MMI infotainment interface is still great, its central control knob and secondary shortcut buttons and toggles providing intuitive control with minimal distraction. We see little need to replace it with capacitive-touch displays as Audi plans to do with its whole lineup, starting with the 2019 A8 luxury sedan. It is in overall execution that the S5 Sportback presents the greatest challenge to the S4, what with its sleeker coupelike profile and 22-cubic-foot cargo bay accessed via a hatchback versus the sedan’s 13-cube trunk; we squeezed six carry-on cases behind the rear seats of the Sportback, compared with five in the S4.
At $52,375 to start in its base guise, the S4 represents a discount of $3000 versus the similarly equipped S5 Sportback and $2900 compared with the SQ5 crossover. That entry point also undercuts the $54,395 Mercedes-AMG C43 sedan, although a BMW 340i xDrive is slightly more affordable still at $51,945 (and the 340i can be had with a manual transmission). We’d opt for a more discreet paint color than our test car’s vibrant Tango Red metallic, even if all of the S4’s available hues besides basic black and white cost $575 extra. Along with its sizable list of standard features, our example also included rear side airbags for $350 as well as the $2800 Navigation package (the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, navigation, Audi’s MMI Touch controller with handwriting recognition, and six months of all of Audi’s connectivity features) for a reasonable as-tested sticker of $59,550.
LOWS: Short on engagement behind the wheel, fierce competitors in the same showroom.
In a new world bent on crossovers, the S4 is a traditional choice—albeit one that fails to stand out among Audi’s other body styles with similar hardware. While it’s quick, capable, and certainly more satisfying to pilot than a high-riding SUV, the SQ5 could easily keep up with the S4 in the real world. And other than its slightly lower entry fee, the S4 presents a weak argument against the S5 Sportback, whose happier blend of curbside presence and day-to-day versatility we’d consider worth its premium.
2018 Audi S4
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$59,550 (base price: $52,375)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
183 in3, 2995 cm3
354 hp @ 6400 rpm
369 lb-ft @ 1370 rpm
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.8-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Hankook Ventus S1 Evo2, 245/40R-18 97Y A0
Wheelbase: 111.2 in
Length: 186.8 in
Width: 72.5 in
Height: 55.3 in
Passenger volume: 94 ft3
Trunk volume: 13 ft3
Curb weight: 3928 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.7 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 19.2 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 31.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.9 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.5 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.8 sec @ 109 mph
Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 148 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.99 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 20 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 28 mpg
Highway range: 420 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 24/21/30 mpg
c/d testing explained
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2018 Audi S4 First Test: So Quick! But…
What do you really want from your luxury sport sedan?Audi S4 Full Overview
Four-cylinder engines aren't what they used to be—they're way, way better. And considering the goodness of the A4 2.0T's 252-hp turbo-four, the new turbo-six-powered 2018 S4 must work harder than ever before to justify its premium over the mainstream A4 that slipped by every other car in 0-60-mph acceleration during our huge Big Test comparison of compact luxury sport sedans. The 2018 Audi S4's upgrades go deeper than just a powerful six-cylinder engine, and we tested the more performance-focused sedan to see how it compares to rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and, well, Audi in the form of our long-term A4.
I've spent many months and thousands of miles with our long-term A4, a 2017 model with a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. On paper, it doesn't sound impressive, but the engine is hooked up to a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The car is always responsive, and even when I'm in a lead-footed mood, I have never felt like I needed more power. The thing is, the Mercedes-AMG C43, Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, and others are just as much about emotional wants as they are about practical needs. The S4 adds style, status, and power to the A4's strong overall package.
Under the 2018 S4's hood is a 3.0-liter turbo-six that produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft. Unlike my long-term A4, the S4 gets a conventional eight-speed automatic, and its all-wheel-drive system is biased 40/60 front/rear. Our loaded S4 tester included a $2,500 S sport package that adds red brake calipers, a sport-focused adaptive suspension, and a rear differential. The adaptive suspension is definitely harsher than my A4, which uses a now-discontinued comfort-oriented version of Audi's adaptive suspension, but the S4's system is still everyday-livable. The rear differential can send nearly all of the S4's torque to one of the rear wheels, if necessary, to keep you moving in the right direction if you accelerate quickly out of a corner (you might feel the effect occasionally if you're looking for it). I most appreciated the adaptive suspension and red brake calipers, but the value of that package will depend on how hard you plan on driving your car.
Really, the same can be said about the S4, as a whole, especially if you're also considering a loaded A4. One S4 advantage, not surprisingly, is acceleration. The S4 hits 60 mph from a stop in just 4.2 seconds, reaching that benchmark speed a full second ahead of our already-quick A4 long-termer. That 4.2-second time ties that of an all-wheel-drive Mercedes-AMG C43 we've tested and is three-tenths of a second quicker than a rear-drive Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. The last-gen S4, which was powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, reached 60 in 4.4 seconds.
Launching an A4 will pin you to the back of your seat, and the S4 adds to that appeal. When it comes to the sound, however, there's no comparison. The S4's engine note sounds more muscular than the 252-hp A4, yet it's more subdued than the C43. Listen closely in the S4's Sport mode, and you might be able to make out a crackle from those wonderful quad-exhaust outlets.
"Fairly subtle exhaust note," said road test editor Chris Walton after driving the S4 at the track, "and as quick as anyone would ever need, but it's such a sleeper—too much of a sleeper maybe."
For those who dig styling that's sporty but doesn't shout, the S4 will be a good fit. The four exhaust outlets, silver side-mirror trim, and subtle lip spoiler communicate that the sedan is an S4, as do the available red brake calipers on our $65.050 tester.
The brakes themselves stopped effectively in 60-0-mph tests, with a 104-foot performance that was 22 feet better than our long-term A4 and also shorter than the C43 (111 feet) and Q50 Red Sport 400 (105 feet), though an all-wheel-drive Kia Stinger GT matched the S4 here. Where the S4 pulled away from that heavier and slightly slower Kia as well as everything else in its class except the Mercedes is on our figure-eight course. This Motor Trend test tracks different driving characteristics including acceleration, braking, cornering, and the transitions between them. The S4 put in a time of 24.3 seconds at 0.82 average g, well ahead of the Q50 Red Sport 400's 25.6 seconds at 0.74 average g and the C43 4Matic's 24.8 seconds at 0.77 average g. Although not really in the same class of acceleration as those cars, the Stinger GT AWD turned in a time of 25.2 seconds at 0.77 average g, and our long-term A4 clocked in at 26.3 seconds at 0.69 average g.
Testing director Kim Reynolds called the S4 a "heck of a car" and appreciated that, on the figure-eight course, the Audi had good body motion control: "What I like here is how you can rotate it and slightly drift the tail out on exit," he said. "It turns-in well (not great, but well enough), but then you can adjust it with throttle."
That's helpful info on a sporty car like this, especially if you plan on tracking your S4. Even so, this isn't a full performance sedan such as the C63 or the RS 4 model sold in other markets, so if most of your driving involves trudging along in traffic to work, you'll appreciate the S4's sharp interior. The $500 carbon-fiber trim looks great, as does the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster and the crisp graphics on the head-up display. I also find Audi's MMI infotainment system easy to use, though it can initially take a little time to find semihidden control pages such as the one to customize the dual-color interior ambient lighting as well as the page that updates the custom drive mode, changing everything from the loudness of the engine to the tuning of the engine, steering, and suspension. It's a great interior in which to spend a commute, and the sport seats with diamond stitching are a huge upgrade in feel and comfort over the base seats in our $52,325 A4 long-termer.
One minor issue we noticed in our tester that needs an immediate update if it affects all S4s—the engine stop/start system has a nasty habit of sometimes turning the engine off 1-2 mph before the car has actually come to a complete stop. I tend to use engine stop/start systems more than the average Motor Trend staffer, but even I turned off the S4's system on our tester.
After you press the button to turn off the engine stop/start system, you're left with a well-rounded car, just like the less powerful but still quick A4. The S4 is fun to drive, though it's not quite as connected to the road as the Cadillac ATS and Jaguar XE. What prevents me from recommending those cars are their rear seats, which are among the most cramped in the class. Then there's the turbo-four-powered version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, an entertaining car that lacks a direct S4/C43 competitor. Plus, the all-wheel-drive version of the Italian sedan is more than a second slower to 60 than those cars.
When you want a very quick compact luxury sport sedan instead of a moderately equipped midsizer like everyone else, the C43 presents the biggest threat to the S4. If the S4 is too subtle for you, consider the more showy Mercedes. The Head 2 Head winner will probably be more expensive once you add all the options you want, but it's attractive and—for better or worse—louder.
If you're seeking sportiness more than straight-line acceleration, consider the S4 or the C43. But where does that leave the A4's class-leading acceleration?
I asked online editor Alex Nishimoto his thoughts on the A4/A5 versus S4/S5 question because he reviewed the A5 and S5 Sportback models last year. "Although I could certainly live with the A4's turbo 2.0-liter," he said, "if I was splurging on a luxury sport sedan I'd most likely be seduced by the S4's addictive thrust. The turbocharged V-6 just accelerates effortlessly—even when you punch it at cruising speed—and having that extra fun on tap would be worth the price premium for me."
For me, as much as I'd miss taking on my favorite driving road in sport seats that massage me (standard on the S4), I wouldn't get the S4, A4, or even the C43. The A5 Sportback is the car I'd drive. Arguably more beautiful than any car mentioned above, the A5 Sportback would still be quick when you need it but also efficient when you don't. The car will spend more miles on the road between fill-ups, and even though I'd long for the sound of an S4/S5 or C43 engine, the money I'd save (as much as $5,000 or more depending on options) might just make that compromise worth it.
So if you go S4, enjoy the added punch the turbo-six engine provides—you'll be driving one of the quickest sedans around. Thanks to my thousands of miles in an A4, however, I'd put the A5 Sportback at the top of my list. The turbo-four engine provides plenty of oomph, and the hatchback boasts way more curb appeal than a stylish but subtle A4/S4 will ever have.
|2018 Audi S4|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$65,051|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 4-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.0L/354-hp/369-lb-ft turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,938 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||186.8 x 72.5 x 55.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||12.8 sec @ 107.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||104 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.99 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.3 sec @ 0.82 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||21/30/24 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||160/112 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.80 lb/mile|
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.2018 Audi S4: Start Up, Exhaust, Test Drive and Review
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