2011 Audi S4 Review

May 9, 2011  //  Articles, Reviews, S line

2011 Audi S4

”S4 is an A4 with a bigger engine”. This is what seems to be the general understanding of the whole Audi S line nomenclature and even the RS where the comment is similar – “ RS4 has just a bigger engine then the S4” and that sums it up.

Or does it?

If you are an Audi enthusiast or an educated fan of the brand you know better … you know how little the above statements tell about the idea of the S model line and how generic and even disrespecting they are towards one of the best envisioned, designed, manufactured and performing sedans ever made!

S4 is not about true performance, it’s not about absolute luxury and it’s not about pure style … it’s about the perfect balance of all those, packaged into one car with enormous potential waiting to be unleashed. This is what the 2011 S4 is … a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a misunderstood gentleman asking you politely to rethink your understanding of “bang for your buck”, and above all – a machine build to perfection by a brand with more than 100 years of automotive and motorsports history.

What is unique to the 2011 S4 model is that for the first time in Audi history a smaller engine was introduced in USA with better performance, lower fuel consumption, and lower price than its predecessor. Yes you read the last one correctly … the B8 platform S4 is about $5K cheaper that its V8 model which it replaced. Another interesting fact is that for the first time in USA the brand confused its enthusiastic fans with the information that the engine of the S4 is supercharged, but for consistency it will be badged as turbo charged – V6T. For those of you who want to rebadge those pesky V6T badges, Audi provides “Supercharged” ones for a “small” price.

Performance

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he numbers from the specs, although impressive, hardly give justice to how much potential the S4 3.0 supercharged engine has. Out of the factory it outputs 333hp but with a small ECU tune the engine produces more than 400hp which steps into the BMW’s M3 territory. Add in a performance intake and exhaust and numbers suggest that the M3s and ISFs of the world will have a hard time justifying their price ranges.

What is really interesting about this engine is that it has a great torque numbers available very early in the RPM range (2000 rpm) and it accelerates in an impressive manner. That holds true until it reaches the high 5000 rpm where it starts to slow down in terms of acceleration and you get the feeling that Audi did something to slow it down on purpose rather than because that was the “natural” limit of the engine. Interestingly enough with the aftermarket ECU tune that “problem” disappears and once you press the pedal you have a very hard time removing that grin of your face (mostly due to the laws of physics pushing the corners of your mouth outwards as the car continuously accelerates).

Here is our only complaint as far as the 2011 S4 3.0 engine goes. A candidate for another engine of the year this marvel of German engineering has tons of potential which seem to have been “contained” by Audi for the sake of consistent model ranges and marketing. It seems that out of the factory it was built to outperform the BMW’s N54 twin-turbo engine – goal that was achieved quite well. But what we ask is: Why not aim higher?

Audi optional Sport Differential provides another incentive for the spirited drivers by transferring the power to the outer rear wheel in turns, which provides much better stability and virtually eliminates understeer. This provides exceptional handling in corners and convinced us that it should have been included as a standard feature, since it makes the car that much better!

Exterior & Style

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he S4 exterior is quite different in comparison to the A4 and this is quite evident for those of you who are Audi enthusiasts. For everyone else the differences may be less evident on a first look. The car sits lower than the A4 with sportier suspension, it has Audi’s S4 badges on the grill and back as well as Audi’s S line design elements – the quad exhaust and the S line trim (including the matt aluminum mirror covers). The S4 comes standard with the LED headlights, different set of wheels to choose from as well as an optional Titanium package which includes our favorite 19” wheels and an all-black trim. As a matter of fact we loved the combination of the Ibis White color and the Titanium package so much that we could not resists our impulsive buyer instinct and started project “Timmy”.

Interior & Options

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udi is notorious in its attention to detail, design, and execution of high quality interiors and the B8 S4 is by no means different. Sometimes it feels like someone with Steve Jobs passion for simplicity, elegance and design did the quality control for Audi, because every single piece of the S4 interior is designed, manufactured, and placed perfectly. The optional Audi MMI (Multi Media Interface) although expensive adds a very nice set of features and plugs in seamlessly with Audi Park Assist as well as Audi Side Assist optional features. If you can afford it we highly recommend it. The variety of different fit and finishes is expected here but what impressed us was that even with the base (standard) model, the interior struck the right balance between elegance, functionality, and luxury.

Aftermarket

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his section is by no means standard in articles these days but with the 2011 S4 and its impressive 3.0 supercharged engine we truly believe this car has tons of potential and should be used as a solid base for aftermarket modifications. Although current prices are quite high for any of the standard performance mods (ECU, Intake, Exhaust) due to the novelty and the limited time the tuner brands have had to “play” with the S4, we think that in the very near future things will change drastically.

Current ECU tune for the B8 S4 will cost you about $1,500 and the choices are limited but the addition of 80+ extra horsepower with such a small tune is generating quite a revenue for those brands who offer it. The good news there is that one of the companies offers full warranty on the top of the standard Audi warranty, which is a new concept in the industry and quite welcomed by us. The choices of aftermarket intakes for the B8 platform are quite limited and news about upcoming designs and concepts are just now starting to appear. The good news is that in the exhaust section the choices are many and each with its own pluses and minuses in both “drone” and sound.

As far as our project “Timmy” is concerned we have quite a few aftermarket modifications planned so make sure you keep an eye on it?

Specifications:
Click here for the S4 Full Specifications

Photo Gallery:

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