In 1993 the first Audi S4 sold in Australia was priced at $132,890 – and 25 of them were sold. In 2017, the Audi S4 will set you back $99,900 and they will sell a hell of a lot more than 25 because this thing is not just beautiful to drive but it’s holding back its raw performance and power ready and waiting when you want it.
This is the first time the S4 will sell under $100,000 in Australia and while your first thought might be “yeah but what about the options” – think again.
After spending a few days and over 1,000 km in the S4 I can think of very little I was “missing” in the S4, and the one I was driving didn’t have either of the two option packs fitted. The only extra expense here was the metallic paint (well worth the $1,800 I think!).
As standard you’re getting a car 75kg lighter than the A4, and packed with a virtual Cockpit display powered by a 60 frames per second NVidia graphics system which looks sensational. WiFi connectivity, Digital Radio, Apple CarPlay and the sound system is fantastic.
On the safety front you’re getting advanced collision warning, pre-sense technology for front and rear crashes, and even an Exit warning system that alerts you via lights inside and outside the door when you go to open the door in traffic – if a bike or car is heading your way you will get a warning and hopefully prevent any collision.
In traffic you’ve got stop-and-go adaptive cruise control which isn’t just a sensor following the car in front. Audi’s system is looking further forward than just one car to ensure you aren’t sent hurtling into an incident if the car ahead of you turns off the road.
If you’re stopped in the middle of the road ready to turn across traffic into a side street, Audi has a turn assist function which is looking at oncoming traffic to help prevent you pulling across in front of oncoming traffic.
The wheels are 19 inch, there’s 360 degree cameras, on the wagon (Avant) variant (an extra $3,000 and well worth it) you get an electric tail-gate and the rear cargo blind that pulls out over your luggage is also electronically controlled.
That’s just a few things. Part of $12,000 of added equipment over and above the previous model S4.
If you do want to spend some more, $5,900 will get you the performance pack, with sporty seats, carbon fibre inlays, red calipers. While $5,600 will get you the Technik pack, featuring a Head Up Display, Matrix LED lights and a 19 speaker B&O Sound System.
I’d take the Technic pack in a heartbeat – just for the HUD if anything else – not having that on some long and winding country roads was the only thing I felt the car lacked.
There is no shortage of power from the 3 litre V6 TFSI engine, with 260kW of power and 0-100 in 4.7 seconds you’ve got what you need under your right foot.
The stance is 24mm lower than the A4 and out on the twisting roads of NSW I drove for hours with a smile from ear to ear.
On every corner you feel planted to the road, it creates confidence that you can willingly have in this car. On the long stretches the adaptive cruise is a breeze.
Perhaps the high-tech instrument cluster (Virtual Cockpit) is the most impressive feature for anyone who hasn’t looked inside a new car for a few years. This fully customised screen can give preference to your maps or speedo, so many options.
The centre console 8.3 inch screen is one of the most impressive infotainment screens I’ve seen. I haven’t seen details in the spec sheets, but suspect it is AMOLED at least, because the rich colours and deep blacks were just impressive.
Apple CarPlay has a wider space than in other vehicles I’ve driven, yet my only real gripe is controlling it all via the standard Audi “Dial” – it would be much better as a touch-screen.
I’ve saved the best for last though. This thing has a sound that will get your blood pumping. Put it in Dynamic drive mode and you’ll get a beautiful sounding upshift. There’s a subtle gargle and burble from the exhaust in the downshift yet it won’t offend the neighbours because while the notes are outstanding the actual volume isn’t that high. It’s not a tunnel blasting machine, in fact the sound inside the cabin is where things are best, but again not too loud to frustrate.
I don’t think I’ve used paddle shifts as much in a sedan in some time.
The all new 2017 Audi S4 was a joy to drive, it’s great looking from every angle, it’s packed with Safety features, packed with Technology and it’s the best value S4 ever sold in Australia. If you’re looking for an understated example of performance in a mid-side family sedan, welcome to your new Audi S4.