Flash Drive: 2010 Audi S4
This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Audi's new 2010 S4, the high-performance sports sedan based on the A4, shows just how on top of its game this German automaker really is when it comes to building fun-to-drive sports sedans. Gone is the sweet 4.2-liter V8 engine. In its place is a high-tech supercharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6 that delivers 333 horsepower. Despite the high level of performance, the all-wheel-drive S4 is easy to drive, with a smooth and crisp 6-speed manual transmission, adaptive suspension damping and dynamic steering control. I was initially looking for a little more mechanical feel in the steering. But after a few minutes with the dynamic steering, I found it to be accurate and precise. Audi Drive Select will automatically adjust suspension, steering, throttle response and the sport rear differential, or the driver can choose specific settings. Exterior updates are subtle but distinctive, complemented by the optional 19-inch alloys. Inside, the S4 has the functional yet refined design you'd expected from Audi and adds S4 leather sport seats with Alcantara inserts. –Mike Meredith
The new Audi S4 is a sports car hiding in a regular sedan. While it is a car that everyone can drive, enthusiasts might prefer the S4 with rougher edges. Sure, you can adjust the transmission and suspension settings using the Drive Select package, but even with the more aggressive settings, the S4 seems like it has too much computer interaction influencing the driving experience. For example, it was difficult to use the electronic e-brake when on a hill while using the clutch because the e-brake didn't disengage quickly enough. Nevertheless, it is still an amazing car. The striking, updated design is cool, and with the LED daytime running lights, everyone knows you're coming. The supercharged 6-cylinder engine is just as fast as the previous 8-cylinder engine, but more efficient. I averaged 17 mpg at the pump. Unfortunately, the 6-cylinder exhaust note was not as throaty as the V8. –Joe Chulick
If price is no object, and the environment is temporarily not a priority, then the Audi S4 is easily my pick for the best family sedan ever made. That might seem like faint praise, but the S4 is so good it makes me really want to forget about my bank account and the lousy 14 mpg I managed. The supercharged engine is wonderful, feeling like a big-displacement torque monster, with a deep-throated exhaust tone and no irritating whine. The handling is engaging, adjustable, fun and awe-inspiring, and makes any freeway on-ramp an easy way to merge at speed, no matter how fast traffic is flowing. Put together, the S4 is simply enormous fun in a practical package. Only small compromises required. –Paul Hagger
Audi did a great job redesigning the A4, giving it more room and updated styling. The high-performance S4 gets the same treatment. One of the best sports sedans on the market, the S4 is an excellent mix of everyday drivability and fantastic performance. Power from the supercharged V6 comes on strong and quickly, and, when teamed with the smooth-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, there always seems to be available torque. High speed in corners is taken in stride — I never even approached the limits of this car and pushed it pretty hard. But while the handling is excellent, ride quality isn't compromised — the S4 provides a very comfortable ride. My only gripe: I miss the sound of the past generation's V8. The current supercharged engine matches the performance of that V8, but there's not much enjoyment for the ears. I'm willing to forgo those aural rewards, however, for the improved fuel economy — I saw 18 mpg in city driving, an impressive feat for a 333-horsepower sports sedan. –Perry Stern