2020 Audi S4 evaluation: A sweeter candy spot

Ah, the Audi S4. I do not assume I’ve ever met one which I have never appreciated. Certain, I am nonetheless mourning the lack of the guide transmission possibility on this newest technology, however the present mannequin retains all the opposite necessary S4 hallmarks. With a much bigger serving to of energy, higher dealing with and smidge extra type than the usual A4, immediately’s S4 stays a fantastically sorted and extremely succesful sport sedan. And for 2020, delicate updates sweeten the package deal just a bit extra.

LikeMore aggressive stylingSnappy and intuitive infotainmentStrong and easy turbocharged engineExcellent trip and dealing with steadiness

Do not LikeMissing the manualSteering might be weightierLacks an actual aggressive exhaust notice

Extra visible depth

Like the whole 2020 A4 household, the S4 advantages from a wider single-frame grille, however with a honeycomb insert particular to the S autos. The decrease entrance air dams are extra aggressively formed than the usual A4’s, and my Glacier White metallic take a look at automobile options much more perspective with an elective Black Optic Package deal that throws in black exterior trim together with wicked-looking 19-inch V-spoke star wheels. It is clear and enticing.

What’s additionally clear and enticing? The S4’s cabin. It is your typical Audi inside: merely laid out, intuitive to work by means of and constructed from a wide range of high quality supplies. Main parts of the sprint and door panels are wrapped in leather-based, Alcantara is scattered all through, and even the hard-plastic surfaces feel and appear substantial. This S4 will get another sporty touches similar to a flat-bottom steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and stainless-steel pedals, however the sport seats are essentially the most noteworthy. They give the impression of being fancy with diamond stitching and are supremely snug with beneficiant help. In addition they provide a therapeutic massage operate, which I am at all times glad to make the most of.

The S4 can also be purposeful, with a wide range of nooks and crannies up entrance to stash smaller objects in. There’s loads of area within the entrance for adults and there is serviceable actual property in rear, although in case you roll three individuals deep in again, the poor schmuck within the heart must straddle a big heart transmission hump. Then when you might want to transfer stuff, there’s 12 cubic ft of area within the trunk, able to swallowing the products from all however essentially the most out-of-control grocery purchasing journeys.

Extra tech

The opposite main prong to the 2020 S4’s replace is housed throughout the sprint. Audi’s MIB Three system controls infotainment features by means of a 10.1-inch touchscreen. In contrast with the outgoing system, it is 10 instances quicker, which is noticeable in how rapidly it responds to inputs, completes vacation spot searches and calculates navigation routes. It is simple to work by means of, visuals are crisp and the system is packed stuffed with options, similar to a gnarly 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Audi’s trick Digital Cockpit can also be within the S4 with the 12.3-inch gauge cluster providing a number of shows. You possibly can select between massive Google Earth imagery with 3D metropolis maps or an S Efficiency mode with a tach and speedo positioned entrance and heart, flanked by a lift gauge and lap timer.

Audi’s MIB Three infotainment system is fast and intuitive.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The S4 can also be set as much as forestall any moveable gadgets that come aboard from ever going lifeless. Passengers up entrance have USB-A and USB-C shops, a wi-fi charging pad and a 12-volt socket inside arm’s attain. Riders in again have two USB-A ports and a 12-volt plug on the again of the middle console. Heck, there’s even a 12-volt outlet within the trunk.

On the protection expertise entrance, this S4 is flush with tools. It is bought adaptive cruise management, forward-collision warning with automated braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping help, a 360-degree digicam, rear cross-traffic alert and a head-up show.

All-around performer

Nothing concerning the S4’s efficiency credentials change for the 2020 mannequin 12 months replace, which I am not likely bummed about. The three.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque remains to be its easy, punchy self, working with a fluid-shifting eight-speed automated. Use the Audi Drive Choose system to pick out the Dynamic setting for lag-free launches, getting the three,847-pound sedan to 60 mph in 4.Four seconds. Wholesome thrust is available all through the whole thing of the rev band to zip away from stoplights and effortlessly merge onto expressways.

The S4’s turbocharged V6 produces a wholesome 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How do the Audi’s numbers stack up towards the competitors? Pretty properly, aside from horsepower. The BMW M340i xDrive and Mercedes-AMG C43 outgun it with 382 hp and 385 hp, respectively. Within the torque division, the S4 is in the midst of the combo, barely edging previous the Bimmer’s 368 pound-feet of twist, however behind the Benz’s 384. As for 0-to-60-mph instances, they’re all within the low-to-mid 4-second vary with M340i the quickest at 4.1 seconds and C43 occupying the rear at 4.5 seconds.

Gas economic system within the S4 is suitable, all issues thought of, returning an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 27 mpg on the freeway. All through per week of largely metropolis motoring, I noticed 21 mpg with my admittedly heavy proper foot. The one small drivetrain nitpick I’ve is that I want the adjustable exhaust system had a barely louder and throatier setting. As is, the Current setting is essentially the most boisterous with solely a low-key gurgle.

Dynamically, the S4 nonetheless presents drivers a near-perfect center floor between efficiency and trip consolation. While you’re within the temper to toss it laborious by means of corners, put the adaptive suspension and the obtainable Dynamic Steering system into Sport for brisk turn-in and managed physique motions. I by no means push it actually laborious, however the S4 shines throughout spirited drives, monitoring by means of bends with little physique lean, and it hangs on tight with the Bridgestone Potenza summer season tires. Little doubt the elective torque-vectoring rear differential is incomes its hold hustling the rear round, too. In case you depart every part in Sport for regular driving, affect harness is much from jarring, and the steering is not overly hefty. In reality, I want Audi would dial in somewhat extra steering weight.

Bridgestone Potenza summer season tires assist the S4 grasp on tight round corners.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

While you simply wish to cruise, placing the S4’s chassis within the Comfy setting is the ticket. There’s extra physique roll and the steering lightens and is not as fast to reply off heart, however damping for bumps will increase for a supple and quiet trip round city or buzzing down the interstate. The one factor you may need to get acclimated to earlier than having a totally cozy motoring expertise is the grabby brakes. The preliminary chew is robust and requires somewhat feeling-out interval earlier than you may brake easily.

How I might spec it

At $66,490 together with $995 for vacation spot, my range-topping S4 Status is packed to the gills with styling, infotainment and security tech goodies. In fact, which means it comes with a backside line that is a far cry from its $50,895 base value.

When constructing my S4, I might go for the midrange Premium Plus that will get me must-haves similar to blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a wi-fi charger together with the Digital Cockpit tech. I really like the look of the $595 Glacier White metallic paint and $1,400 Black Optic Package deal. Toss within the $2,500 S Sport Package deal for the adaptive dampers and torque-vectoring diff and $1,150 for the Dynamic Steering to up dealing with prowess. Tack on $950 so I can rock out to the Bang & Olufsen sound system and that brings my Audi to a cool $59,990 out the door. 

With all of the bells and whistles, this S4 take a look at automobile punches in at $66,490.

Jon Wong/Roadshow
Candy-spot sport sedan

With the BMW M340i xDrive beginning at $57,690 and the Mercedes-AMG C43 starting at $55,950, the S4’s extra reasonably priced pricing is one other optimistic stepping into its favor. The three Sequence is a sharper-handling specimen and the C-Class possesses a extra trendy cabin than the S4, however neither is as well-rounded. With peppy energy, spectacular trip and dealing with combine, clear and extra aggressive appears to be like and cabin tech enhancements, the Audi stays essentially the most full and compelling automobile of the bunch.

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