Audi S4 (2015-2019) review
The Audi S4 is the quickest A4 you can buy until the RS4 gets launched in the near future. The S4’s closest rivals are the BMW 340i, Mercedes-AMG C 43 and Jaguar XE S.
What's not so good
Audi S4 (2015-2019): what would you like to read next?
Despite the obvious sporting inclination of this model it’s the interior that will most likely sway you to buy it – fit, finish and material choice are exemplary and not even the classy Mercedes can match the Audi’s ‘hewn from granite’ feel.
Good news doesn’t end there – there’s decent space for passengers and the boot, though the same size as rivals, is more usable thanks to its square shape, helpful nets and tie-down hooks.
The brand-new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 powering the S4 is another magnet for praise – moving the S4 around at an alarming pace, while also being capable of 39mpg average fuel economy.
The optional dynamic steering works great and the standard four-wheel drive system is rear-biased for a livelier handling, but a BMW 3 Series is still more fun to drive.
The S4 isn’t cheap, not that the standard equipment list reflects this. LED headlights, 18-inch S alloy wheels, front seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara suede and a flat-bottomed steering wheel are standard, but everything else – from the adaptive suspension to the infotainment system with internet access – is reserved for the options list.
The Audi S4 is the perfect purchase if you want something fast and understated
The Audi S4 is exactly what an S model should be – quick, inconspicuous, spacious and practical, with an interior that’s well built and luxurious. Until the new RS4 comes, this is the most multi-talented Audi saloon you can buy, and is sure to boost Audi’s performance-model sales, which have steadily grown since the launch of the first S model (the S2 Coupe) in 1990.
For a more detailed look at the pros and cons of the S4, look at the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers you can get on an Audi S4, visit our deals page.
The Audi S4 is every bit as practical as the regular A4, with lots of room front and rear, as well as a nice, square boot. However, the saloon body style isn’t as versatile as a hatchback
Make sure you strap your family in tightly, because there aren't many ways to move them more quickly than an Audi S4
The S4’s standard seats are not too hard as to compromise comfort, but also have plenty of bolstering to hold you in place in fast corners. Optional sports seats come with a massage feature, but take up more interior space.
Not that passenger space is at a premium – two six-foot adults can sit in the rear with plenty of leg and headroom to spare. Things worsen if you go for the panoramic sunroof, which eats into headroom.
This being a VW group product its almost guaranteed that there wont be any gripes with storage areas. The glove box is huge, the door bins can hold a litre water bottle and these numerous lidded storage areas for things like phones, wallets and sunglasses. There’s also a designated cubby for your smartphone where it can get wirelessly recharged (if supported) and use the car’s aerial to boost reception.
The A4’s 480-litre capacity is an exact match for the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, but thanks to the square shape of the boot it’s more practical. The rear seats can be folded down easily by pulling a couple of levers in the boot, freeing 965 litres of space, while the middle can double as a ski hatch. If you need a bigger boot then there’s always the S4 Avant estate which can pack between 505 and 1,510 litres.
The S4 has huge grip around corners and a natural balance that inspires confidence.
Unlike S models of old, this S4 can be pretty comfortable without losing out on its pace
The 3.0-litre V6 fitted to the S4 might have a familiar capacity and cylinder number to the previous S4, but that’s where the similarities end. It is an entirely new engine developed jointly by Audi and Porsche, and set to find itself fitted to a variety of models.
Turbocharged rather than supercharged (as in the old S4) it pumps out 349hp – up 21hp from the old model. Torque has grown 45lb ft and standing at a hefty 369lb ft and that figure is available at 1,370rpm – barely above idle. That translates to a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds – one tenth slower than an entry-level Porsche 911.
With help from its slippery body the S4 can average fuel economy of 39mpg and emits 166g/km of CO2 emissions.
The S4 is equipped with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system, which will prove its worth on Britain’s slippery roads. Rivals seem to be taking notes – the previously rear-driven Mercedes-AMG C43 is now four-wheel drive only and it is optional on the BMW 340i.
Audi’s Drive Select is standard on the S4 and allows for a decent range of adjustments for the steering, engine, gearbox, climate control and, if you go for the optional adaptive dampers, the suspension, too. Fit the latter and in Comfort mode, the S4 is no less comfortable than a regular A4 on big wheels, which when combined with the incredibly hushed cabin makes for hours of effortless motorway driving. Switch to Dynamic and the gearbox shifts get quicker, the exhaust sounds louder and you can feel the car’s suspension tense in anticipation of some fast corners.
The interior is a strong contender for the best-in-class accolade.