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Old 12-09-2008, 01:45 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Test Drive: 2009 Audi S4






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Majorca, Spain - You simply can’t have enough of a good thing, especially if it’s an Audi. The A4 was recently voted the 2009 Best New Luxury Vehicle in Canada by members of AJAC. Last month, Audi gave auto writers their first drive in its even more athletic sibling the new Audi S4.


While they look alike, the faster and more agile S4 and S4 Avant, its wagon-bodied edition, are the gifted jocks in the A4 family. A new supercharged V6 engine replaces the outgoing V8, plus Audi also has come up with new and clever ways to convert power into rapid, yet very stable, vehicle motion.


The new 3.0-litre TFSI engine combines direct fuel injection with a low-pressure supercharger. It can produce 333 horsepower, yet fuel consumption is surprisingly low. An official Canadian fuel rating, however, has not yet been established.


At the heart of the S4 is Audi’s brilliant Quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system that now sends 60 per cent of drive power to the rear wheels, during normal operation. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a new seven-speed S Tronic automatic is an option.

New engineering tricks start with Audi Drive Select. The driver is given three driving-style choices that alter the working modes of the engine, the S Tronic transmission and a new optional Sport Differential.


In the “comfort” mode, safety and stability are priorities along with optimal suspension damping. The “auto” mode is a balance between all functions. And the “dynamic” mode emphasizes agility and the dynamic effect of the new Sport Differential.


The Sport Differential is actually a conventional differential with additional clutch packs and gear seats on each axle. An electro-hydraulic system is used to engage a clutch pack and this can increase the wheel speed of that axle by up to 10 per cent.


I got an opportunity to play with this system on a race-track, while on the island of Majorca. Heavy rain during our one-day stay in Spain (on a plain, wouldn’t you know) actually added to the driving experience and gave me a better appreciation of the Quattro drive and Sport Differential systems.


The Sport Differential can accelerate an outside rear wheel in a curve primarily to counter understeer (a tendency to run wide). The torque intervention enables the S4 to retain directional accuracy by “forcing” the car into a corner.


An advantage of supercharging over turbocharging is that the torque boost is immediate at low engine speeds. Maximum torque of 325 lb.-ft. is available between 2,900 and 5,300 r.p.m. The S4 can sprint to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds and it has an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h. As already mentioned, the surprising part is that its fuel consumption has also been reduced, by 27 per cent, according to Audi.


High fuel efficiency is made possible primarily by direct gasoline injection. The supercharger also is integrated into the engine design and located behind the throttle valve. When coasting, there’s a partial vacuum and its rotors are free-running, so the drive power required is low.


Visually similar to the A4, the S4 has an aero-trim package, aluminum-look side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, a small spoiler at the rear and quadruple tailpipes. It also comes with xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights plus LED tail lights.


Inside, it has sports seats and the upholstery is an Alcantara/leather combination. The steering wheel, the key and the instrument cluster all bear the S4 logos and it comes with brushed aluminum trim.


The “S” designation on a production Audi has been around since 1990 and it first appeared on an A4 body car in 1997. Faster, more fuel-efficient, more agile and more stable, the new Audi S4 and S4 Avant are undoubtedly the best yet.
Quick facts about the new Audi S4:
  • New 3.0-litre TFSI engine with mechanical supercharging delivers 333 hp and 324.53 lb-ft of torque.
  • Zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and it has top speed of 250 km/h (governed).
  • A 27 percent lower fuel consumption – combined estimate 9.7 L/100 km.
  • Six-speed manual gearbox as standard and an optional seven-speed S Tronic automatic.
  • Quattro permanent four-wheel drive with new rear-biased characteristics.
  • Optional sport rear differential.
  • Sports suspension with firm settings, optional Audi drive select dynamic driving system with adaptive damper control and dynamic steering.
  • High-performance brake system with large discs and black callipers.
  • Standard 18-inch wheels and optional 19-inch wheels.
Manufacturer’s web site
Audi Canada
http://www.canadiandriver.com/luxury...09-audi-s4.htm
















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Old 12-09-2008, 02:06 PM   #2
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pics not working

Is the US getting the S4 Avant with 6MT? IIRC we aren't.
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Old 12-09-2008, 02:11 PM   #3
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will this be cheaper than the 335i?
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Old 12-09-2008, 02:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JuggernautTCW View Post
will this be cheaper than the 335i?
It will probably be around the same price as an M3.
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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I actually expect the S4 to be priced around 45-50k. It wouldn't fit too well in the model lineup if it was priced higher than the S5's and S6's.
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:21 PM   #6
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It will probably be around the same price as an M3.
so why pay more for an S4 when 335xi offers about the same?... not a rhetorical question... just wondering why some ppl would opt for the S4 instead.
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:58 PM   #7
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We'll just have to wait for the inevitable comparison tests.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JuggernautTCW View Post
so why pay more for an S4 when 335xi offers about the same?... not a rhetorical question... just wondering why some ppl would opt for the S4 instead.
Why buy an STi, when an Evo is better in most tests?

It's all personal preference.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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Audis generally come with more standard equipment.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JuggernautTCW View Post
so why pay more for an S4 when 335xi offers about the same?... not a rhetorical question... just wondering why some ppl would opt for the S4 instead.
The pricing scheme does not match up for Audi and BMW. You can get the BMW with slightly less power and options for less, lets say 3 to 5 grand, or you can bump up to the Audi which has a little bit more of everything.

Audi starts out its lineup at a lower power point, the 2.0T and that entry level engine leaves the V6 more or less competing both with the 335i and 328i. When you look at the S4 the only choice to keep yourself in a BMW is to bump up to an M3, which will be priced out of the power and money range of the Audi S4. It will be interesting to see where Audi prices the upcoming RS4 and RS5, which are more meant to compete with the M3.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:15 PM   #11
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Don't see the point of the S Audi's. A G37 can keep up with this new S4 and it will save you around 10 grand...
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by William WRX View Post
Don't see the point of the S Audi's. A G37 can keep up with this new S4 and it will save you around 10 grand...
But it won't be an Audi. For people who like Audis, and not Nissan/Infiniti, your point is moot.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
The pricing scheme does not match up for Audi and BMW. You can get the BMW with slightly less power and options for less, lets say 3 to 5 grand, or you can bump up to the Audi which has a little bit more of everything.

Audi starts out its lineup at a lower power point, the 2.0T and that entry level engine leaves the V6 more or less competing both with the 335i and 328i. When you look at the S4 the only choice to keep yourself in a BMW is to bump up to an M3, which will be priced out of the power and money range of the Audi S4. It will be interesting to see where Audi prices the upcoming RS4 and RS5, which are more meant to compete with the M3.

Indeed.

You know what's funny is that you can get a 3-series, bare-bones with no options, for relatively little money. But you practically get roll-up windows and a carbeurator, for that much.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Siper2 View Post
You know what's funny is that you can get a 3-series, bare-bones with no options, for relatively little money. But you practically get roll-up windows and a carbeurator, for that much.
Seriously. The opposite is one of the things that Honda/Acura does right: your particular trim options are pretty much transmission and nav, if that much. It's so frustrating building cars on some of these sites. The base price only tells half (maybe 2/3rds) the story.

-Mike
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:51 PM   #15
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Yes indeed.

Honda's a very smart company. A lot of automakers could learn a whole lot from their business mindset.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I actually expect the S4 to be priced around 45-50k. It wouldn't fit too well in the model lineup if it was priced higher than the S5's and S6's.
Out of curiosity I went to the Audi website and built an A4 3.2 FSI quattro prestige package with the with nav and 19" wheels and the price was $48,250. Base price was $43,000 with no options, so Audi already has a car in the same price range as a 335i. It could very possibly be that the S4 could start at $50k which is where it realy needs to be to have any chance.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JuggernautTCW View Post
so why pay more for an S4 when 335xi offers about the same?... not a rhetorical question... just wondering why some ppl would opt for the S4 instead.
wat? the S4 is rated about 30 hp up on the 335i or xi, how exactly are they the same?
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:08 PM   #18
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The estimated entry price is $50k USD, in between the 335 and the M3.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:18 PM   #19
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wat? the S4 is rated about 30 hp up on the 335i or xi, how exactly are they the same?
That, and why ruin the decent balance of the 3series with AWD?
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by edkwon View Post
wat? the S4 is rated about 30 hp up on the 335i or xi, how exactly are they the same?
The ratings might throw off those that don't know much about cars, but the N54 engines typically make around 330-340hp. They are severely underrated. Why the S4 will be priced against the (much better) M3 is anyone's guess. I've been saying this for a while now, but my sneaking suspicion is Audi is pushing themselves upmarket by overpricing everything. That would seem retarded, but it's working. Don't get me started on the laughfest that is the pricing of the TT.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:42 PM   #21
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The S4 Avant is still one of my favorites. Sorry, but I don't see anything from BMW, MB or any of the luxo imports that's in the same league.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:47 PM   #22
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wat? the S4 is rated about 30 hp up on the 335i or xi, how exactly are they the same?
And the 335i will still leave the S4 in the dust every day of the week. As much as I love Audis build quality and interior, they need to boost their performance up a notch.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:59 PM   #23
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I am thinking the S4 will compete well against the 335i. I would still go for the 335i, but if I really wanted AWD it would be a close call. Who am I kidding, it would be a close call cause I love Audis.

I still remember the first and only RS4, the original wagon only variety, I ever saw (in Paris I think). It was bright red and parked on the street like any other car. It looked gorgeous and then as I got closer I realized there were two child seats in the back. That kind of thing, the usable 330 HP supercar back when most cars were under 200 is what still draws me to Audi's.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:59 PM   #24
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Stupid double posting internet connection.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:38 PM   #25
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And the 335i will still leave the S4 in the dust every day of the week. As much as I love Audis build quality and interior, they need to boost their performance up a notch.
Not being a street racing douchebag (im not saying you are) who is waiting to challenge the next BMW or Audi at the light and obsessed w his performance numbers, that is pretty academic and matters little to me. Small penis syndrome?

Audi and BMWs are different cars to me, if i want a BMW i'll get one, if i want an Audi, i'll get one. What it boils down to is that both cars are nice sports saloons with nice interiors and go pretty fast, and the differences are purely individual preference. If price influences decision, then it influences decision...
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