Audi S4 Quattro: It's Atop the Asphalt Jungle
Audi's Christian Bokich proved why Audi's on a roll. At the Midwest Automotive Media Association's 2009 Fall Rally, he let jaded journalists loose with its S4 sedan. This sports sedan sports a supercharged, 3.0-liter, V6 engine cranking out 333 hp with 325 lb-ft of torque. Oh! Mama! This S-car goes. While a six-speed manual is available, this one had the optional seven-speed S-tronic or automated direct-shift gearbox. That's a twin-clutch automated manual transmission.
Bokich says this V6 provides V8 performance. Fuel economy is improved-no gas-guzzler tax. The S4 is EPA-rated 18 mpg city and 27 highway-better than previous model's 13 city and 20 highway.
The S4 blew my mind. It delivers premium sports sedan grace, polish and punch. The mill sounds terrific, as though Audi somehow tuned its four exit pipes to emit just the right amount Stan Getz cool-jazz wah, wah... Audi claims an active differential aids agility. With its firm steering, one plies an undulating Hoffman Estates, IL Sears parking lot with racetrack poise. Controls are typical Audi--complex. Yet, I quickly tweaked seat heaters, interior temps and map screens. One trouble: price. Audi asks $46,000 for starters (S4).