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Old 10-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
darknightohio
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Default 2010 Audi S4 Full Test and Video



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Six Is the New Eight
By Josh Jacquot, Senior Road Test Editor Email | Blog
Date posted: 10-04-2009

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Don't let the fact that the 2010 Audi S4 says "V6T" on its quarter panels confuse you. This alphanumeric soup has more to do with Audi's marketing department than it does with anything going on under the hood of the new S4.

Rest assured, the 3.0-liter V6 in the 2010 Audi S4 cranks out 333 supercharged horsepower and 325 supercharged pound-feet of torque, which hit the ground via a six-speed manual transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Audi's seven-speed, dual-clutch automated manual S tronic transmission is optional.

You see, the sassy Germans running Audi's marketing department decided that "T" should be the moniker used to indicate both turbo- and supercharged engines on the fenders of all S models using forced induction. For this, Audi lacks a good explanation — offering only that the "T" is, in fact, misleading.

We agree.

Accordingly, we've come up with an equally sensible name for the new sedan. For the remainder of this review, this Imola Yellow S4 will be known as the Red Baron.

From Eight to Six
Indeed, this 2010 Audi S4 is a giant leap for Audi, if not in the expected direction. After all, its last S4, which disappeared in 2008, had under its hood the genuine article as far as Americans are concerned — a V8 power plant. That all-aluminum mill revved to a righteous 7,000 rpm, cranked out 340 hp at full tilt and made all the right sounds. It was also strapped to a car which (according to our measurements) was lighter than this new-generation S4 that replaces it.

To these facts the Red Baron flips a big, supercharged middle finger and disappears into the distance. This is because in addition to being bigger (a good thing for rear-seat passengers) and heavier (a bad thing for everyone), it manages to punch through the 60-mph barrier in only 4.9 seconds (4.6 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). It goes on to complete the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 106.1 mph.

Both of these numbers are considerably more impressive than those of the previous S4, which might have sounded good, but simply wasn't as quick. At least part of the gap can be explained by the fact that the blown V6 makes more torque than the old V8. Its 325 lb-ft of torque is delivered as low as 2,900 rpm, while the V8's torque peak of 302 lb-ft didn't arrive until 3,500 rpm.

Lightness and Its Measurement
Run these figures past anyone at Audi and they're quick to point out that the new 2010 S4's chassis is actually 10 percent lighter than the outgoing S4. Our scales show that this does not translate into a lighter car, but when you consider the fact that the new car's wheelbase and overall length is more than 6 inches longer than the previous generation, it's quite a feat to have kept this package as light as it is.

There's also the matter of weight distribution. Hanging eight cylinders forward of the front axle gave the old S4 an unavoidable 62 percent front/38 percent rear weight distribution. The Red Baron hit our scales at 3,984 pounds. The front axle, however, bears only 55 percent of that weight thanks to the new car's revised engine placement and its lighter engine. Meanwhile the 2008 S4's claimed curb weight was 3,864 pounds.

Better weight distribution almost always means better manners, and we were impressed with the 2010 Audi S4's handling. At 68.8 mph it charged through the slalom at a rate approaching the last BMW 335i sedan we tested, which managed the feat at 69.9 mph.

Lateral acceleration around the skid pad was also striking. A two-way average of 0.90g with the stability control off is good, but the 0.92g average with the system turned on speaks volumes for Audi's attention to the calibration details.

The S4's 109-foot stop from 60 mph is also better than most of its competition, as is its pedal feel.

Driving Reality
Following are the words you'll need to understand what's missing from the above acceleration numbers.

Topping BMW's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six in a contest of throttle response is a task we figured impossible. But tickle the Red Baron's go pedal and its V6's instant snap makes the Bimmer engine feel positively apathetic.

So rapid and immediate and crisp is the supercharged Audi engine's response that it made us forget all about the fact that turbos are, ultimately, more efficient than superchargers when it comes to adding power. Again, in response to this fact, the Red Baron simply snaps to attention and begins making real, usable power faster than you can say "turbo lag." Such is life with belt-driven boost.

To that snap this S4 adds Audi's Drive Select — a $3,950 option that includes adjustable suspension damping and steering assist as well as Audi's active rear differential, which can bias torque individually to each rear wheel. Of course, this is coupled with all-wheel drive, 60 percent of which the 2010 S4 now biases to the rear under normal conditions.

Maximum Attack
When you're driving hard, you'll likely not notice these bits of management, but you will get a sense that you're driving one of the most capable sport sedans available today. The S4's balance rivals its German competitors even if feedback — especially through the steering wheel — is less natural. Drive Select can add or remove steering assist, but the S4 lacks the high-resolution steering communication we'd like it to have.

Still, there's more control here than we expected, largely due to the adjustable suspension, which stiffens up the ride control to a level that permits maximum attack, a level of confidence that can only be had with all-wheel drive. Oh yes, and it's fast. Very, very fast.

We worked up to a quick rhythm in the 2010 Audi S4 until we channeled our inner Walter Rohrl and dared to touch the brake pedal with our left foot. That mistake shut down the fun faster than you can say "unintended acceleration," as the electronics cut back the throttle in response. Audi says the electronics' lack of tolerance for an overlap between throttle and brake action is a safety feature. We say it diminishes the S4's abilities when going flat out and takes away a useful driving tool for skilled drivers.

It's What's Inside That Counts
There is no shortage of S4-specific niceties on this car. Embossed into the silky napa-style leather upholstery of the optional seats is the S4 logo. The front brake calipers share this logo as do the rocker sills, steering wheel and grille.

The rest of the interior is typical Audi, with lavish materials solidly assembled in a sensible and appealing fashion. Everything the driver needs to touch feels solid, durable and responsive. Quirks include the iPod cable in the glovebox that needs to be about an inch longer, because it binds when the door is fully open. And there's the engine start/stop button, which seems to kill the engine only about half the time. (Certainly this is because of something we are doing or not doing, but, really, should this ever be a problem?)

Your rear-seat passengers will never notice this gaffe because they'll be too busy appreciating the abundance of legroom. No longer is the backseat in the 2010 Audi S4 a penalty box. In fact, it's so commodious that a 6-foot-1 passenger will fit comfortably behind a driver of the same size.

Then there's the $6,100 Prestige package, which adds 19-inch wheels, the ear-tingling Bang & Olufsen audio system, keyless start/stop, navigation, voice-activated controls, auto-dimming mirrors and seat memory. Really, that's a lot of goodness for $6 grand.

The Tally
All in — with its Prestige package, Drive Select, leather seats and Driver Assist package — the S4 you see here totals $59,150 including destination. That's no small investment for a car in this class, but the S4 is no small consideration, either.

The Drive Select adjustable suspension and steering alone set the Red Baron apart from most of its rivals, many of which are just as comfortable, but lack the ability of the 2010 Audi S4 to adapt to full-whack driving with the push of a button. Plus, the S4 is quicker. And in the sport sedan segment, quick counts for something.

The fact that the German marketers behind this car don't give a rip about the difference between a "T" and an "S" probably isn't going to keep anyone from enjoying this truly great car. Least of all us.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Full Article:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...topanel..1.*#2

Video:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...deoId=20310139

















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Old 10-05-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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Very nice. Glad to see that they ditched the V8, honestly.

I wish Subaru would use similar Recaros. I'm always *so* jealous of the Audi crowd!
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:24 PM   #3
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We could get recaros...but then we'd have a $50k STi.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:05 PM   #4
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Very nice; I would love to see a Legacy STI as a cheaper version of the same idea.

Quote:
We worked up to a quick rhythm in the 2010 Audi S4 until we channeled our inner Walter Rohrl and dared to touch the brake pedal with our left foot. That mistake shut down the fun faster than you can say "unintended acceleration," as the electronics cut back the throttle in response. Audi says the electronics' lack of tolerance for an overlap between throttle and brake action is a safety feature. We say it diminishes the S4's abilities when going flat out and takes away a useful driving tool for skilled drivers.
How is not being able to heel-toe a "safety feature"? I wonder how hard it is to defeat this "feature"
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lboogie
We could get recaros...but then we'd have a $50k STi.


It wouldn't be THAT bad.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
How is not being able to heel-toe a "safety feature"? I wonder how hard it is to defeat this "feature"
If it's easy it's a fuse that will set off a warning light. If it's not it's a fuse that controls lots of other things and there will have to be a software solution that will also shut off the warning light.

Disconnecting the traction controls on an Allroad a few years ago required pulling several fuses; I can't imagine it will be easy in this case.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:40 PM   #7
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I don't really get why Audi would deliberately design a sports car so you can't heel-toe it.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:48 PM   #8
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So they don't have the recent toyota incident and past BMW incidents happen in their cars. Its a legal saftey feature. It will be standard on new cars I'm sure. And I would expect it to be required by law in the near future too.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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What incidents and why then does Audi seem to be the only company doing this? I've recently test-driven a Legacy GT and BMW 535 and both allow you to heel-toe
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:53 PM   #10
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Impressed until I saw the price. For that price, I'd rather have a lightly used M3 sedan.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:56 PM   #11
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^^ My point exactly or even a 335i with 10K in my pocket isn't bad either. Nice car but way over priced.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by blk_wrx View Post
^^ My point exactly or even a 335i with 10K in my pocket isn't bad either. Nice car but way over priced.
That was a loaded S4 with all options. The base price is $45,900. To get a 335i to have the options that a base S4 gets, the 335i will be more expensive.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #13
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Also, this is almost the size of a 5-series (I've driven the A4 on a track and its a lot bigger than the previous model)
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
I don't really get why Audi would deliberately design a sports car so you can't heel-toe it.
I think they paid a hefty price for having closely spaced pedals in the 80's...
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:39 PM   #15
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love the interior

think the front end looks awkward..like a catfish or something (goes for all of the new A4's)
its way overpriced from a performance perspective, and probably even from a luxury perspective as well.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
Very nice; I would love to see a Legacy STI as a cheaper version of the same idea.



How is not being able to heel-toe a "safety feature"? I wonder how hard it is to defeat this "feature"

Matter of time before audi takes that out or someone figures out wether its a tuning fix or other electronic piece that can be taken out...
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:51 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
What incidents and why then does Audi seem to be the only company doing this? I've recently test-driven a Legacy GT and BMW 535 and both allow you to heel-toe
The accelerator sticking and people dieing because of it. In BMW the guy survived though.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:09 PM   #18
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This car is a better value than a 335xi, which it should be cross shopped with..

And have fun with the used M3.. you would be paying much much more in hidden costs and overpriced service
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:41 PM   #19
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The accelerator sticking and people dieing because of it. In BMW the guy survived though.
Was the BMW MT? All you have to do if the gas sticks in an MT car is put the clutch in.
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:33 PM   #20
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Was the BMW MT? All you have to do if the gas sticks in an MT car is put the clutch in.
and in an AT all you have to do is drop the lever to neutral...
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:38 PM   #21
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There are a lot of things you CAN do. Most people dont. The BMW was auto and the driver couldn't change into neutral, its like the whole car just locked up on him. He could have turned the car off but I think he didnt want to lock the steering wheel going as fast as he was.
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:54 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
How is not being able to heel-toe a "safety feature"? I wonder how hard it is to defeat this "feature"
It's possible that the system will let you use the brakes and throttle together as long as the clutch is disengaged. My dad's Allroad seems to work this way. I can heel-toe, but as soon as I try to run the engine against the brakes rally style, it shuts down the fun. Annoying as hell in slippery conditions, but turning the ESP off solves the problem.

That said, this sort of e-nanny system is still very aggravating.
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:43 PM   #23
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and in an AT all you have to do is drop the lever to neutral...
True, but as the recent event which has prompted Toyota's largest recall will tell you, not everyone is privy to that little tid-bit of information. To us, it is common sense, but it is completely lost on someone who only knows how to 'go through the motions' of driving a car.

Audi is doing the smart thing by protecting North Americans from themselves. If they don't, a group of owners will no doubt come knocking for a handout courtesy of a class action lawsuit.
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:47 PM   #24
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The 80's Audi's were using current design Toyota floormats...
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:00 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jigga View Post
True, but as the recent event which has prompted Toyota's largest recall will tell you, not everyone is privy to that little tid-bit of information. To us, it is common sense, but it is completely lost on someone who only knows how to 'go through the motions' of driving a car.

Audi is doing the smart thing by protecting North Americans from themselves. If they don't, a group of owners will no doubt come knocking for a handout courtesy of a class action lawsuit.
yeah i was just pointing out to the other person that you don't have to have a MT to disconnect the engine from the wheels
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