With the 2010 Audi S4's outstanding supercharged V6 engine, excellent handling, impressive gas mileage and luxurious cabin, few will miss the previous V8 version ... there's just too much to like.
After skipping the 2009 model year, the Audi S4 returns for 2010 based on the total redesign of the 2009 A4 sedan. It's therefore larger with additional cabin space than the previous version. And while it also has received new styling and new features, the most significant change is the new supercharged V6 that produces more torque with much better gas mileage than the previous V8.
Also new for 2010 is the elimination of the convertible S4 (replaced by the S5 convertible) as well as the S4 wagon, so the 2010 model is sedan-only ... and a good one at that.
With the 2010 refresh, the Audi S4 is now capable of going head-to-head with other sport-oriented sedans in addition to offering new looks, new electronics interfaces and a host of mechanical upgrades. Of particular significance is the S4's new 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission aimed at those who value the simpleness of an automatic without compromising performance or driving experience engagement. There's also an optional sports rear differential this year, which helps the S4 handle closer to its rear-wheel-drive competitors.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The high-perfromance 2010 Audi S4 is is offered in a choice of two packages: Premium Plus and Prestige.
Standard features for the S4 Premium Plus include 8-way power sport seats, heated front seats, a leather and faux-suede interior, tri-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, 18 inch wheels with summer tires, foglights, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a dash-mounted Multi Media Interface (MMI) electronics controller, Bluetooth, and a 10-speaker stereo with satellite radio, a CD player (single) and an auxiliary audio jack.
The S4 Prestige model then chips in with voice controls, driver memory settings, 19 inch wheels, keyless entry, keyless ignition, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, an upgraded center-console-mounted MMI controller and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic.
Also available is the Audi Drive Select Package which adds an enhanced steering system, a sport rear differential (varies torque between the rear wheels), adaptive suspension dampers and driver-selectable performance settings. In addition, the navigation system and upgraded stereo are available options for the Premium Plus, while stand-alone options include full leather seats, adaptive cruise control, 19 inch wheels and a power rear sunshade with manual rear side-shades.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Now powering the 2010 S4 is a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engine that's good for 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. This is only 7 ponies less than the old 4.2 liter V8 but is 23 more lb-ft of torque. The net result is a faster S4 with much better fuel economy.
While the EPA-estimated gas mileage is above average for this class of car, coming in at 18 mpg city, 27 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined for the manual (the S tronic gets an extra 1 mpg highway), the new S4 still goes from a standstill to 60 mph in a very quick 4.9 seconds. This gas mileage performance is a huge 6 mpg (combined) better than the previous V8.
The power is transfered via Audi's now famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which features a 40/60 front/rear torque split. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual (S tronic) is available as an option.
Standard safety features on all 2010 S4s include antilock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a hill-holder for the manual transmission. In addition, rear side airbags are an available option, as is Active Braking Guard, part of adaptive cruise control that both alerts the driver and gets the brakes ready for maximum stopping power when a collision is detected as imminent.
Although the new S4 had not yet been crash tested at the time of this writing, the regular A4 was awarded perfect five-star ratings across the board for all front and side impact protection categories.
The interior of the 2010 S4 is certainly one of the best in its class. The design is attractive, refined and solidly constructed with high grade materials. The seats are comfortable and supportive while the optional two-tone color schemes add still more to the already luxurious ambiance.
The controls are well laid out and user-friendly overall. The cabin is roomy and comfortably accommodates four adults, while trunk space comes in at a decent 12 cubic feet.
The 2010 Audi S4 is at its best when showing off its road manners. This is a quick-off-the-line sedan with precise-handling, terrific AWD grip and little to no body roll. Even with its advanced cornering ability, the S4's sport-biased suspension is still able to provide a reasonably smooth and comfortable ride.
The manual transmission provides smooth shifting, while the dual-clutch automated manual is quite a good one -- providing either its own quick shifts or those driver-directed via steering wheel-mounted shifters. The S tronic is likely to please even serious driving enthusiasts.
2010 Audi S4 Sedan
Premium Plus quattro, manual: listed price: $45,900, invoice price: $42,687
Premium Plus quattro, S Tronic: listed price: $47,300, invoice price: $43,989