Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Audi - A4 - S4 sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Delicious engine note, instant engine response, excellent driveability, smooth and highly adaptive auto, unshakable all-wheel drive grip, unrivalled road-holding, ergonomics, interior quality
Room for improvement
No more manual option, S4 Avant no longer available, goatee-beard grille expensive to repair, weight dulls outright performance, lacks M3's driving involvement

22 Nov 2005

IN early 2004 we described the then-new Audi B6 S4 as "...a thundering yet thoughtful cross-country tourer that eliminates many of the everyday compromises of its BMW (M3) arch-rival".

Almost two years on nothing much has changed really - not where it matters, anyway.

The styling update is a matter of taste. Thousands obviously like it because A4 sales are up substantially this year.

Others believe the purity of the previous B6 edition has disappeared with the goatee-bearded B7.

Now there’s less choice too. No more manual – the preferable gearbox in this grand touring sedan – or station wagon. This is hardly progress, although by the end of 2006 the altogether hotter RS4 will offer both.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

The same level of strong performance is there for the taking. A determined thrust forward is what you get when you mash the pedal to the metal.

The thing is, you’re more likely to be impressed by the noise of the V8.

No matter whether you’re out to lose your driver’s license or tootling along in peak-hour traffic, there’s a reverberating growl ahead, beneath and behind you.

It’s not felt physically, just heard, and it really is one of the loveliest V8 sounds you’re ever likely to hear in a car at this price level.

By comparison the acceleration is eager but not electrifying the overtaking abilities swift and very controllable but not neck-snapping, and the overall V8 response rapid but not ripping.

Blame it on the weight (1700kg-plus) and automatic gearbox (ZF’s brilliantly smooth and driver-adaptive six-speed unit) the six-speed manual is sorely missed here. Audi says that most buyers ignored it, so this is why it no longer exists for us.

If you’re really keen, and can convince 10 other new S4 buyers to do the same, Audi says it may consider importing the manual gearbox version.

Yet one of the main culprits for all the S4’s heft – the quattro all-wheel drive system – is also one of the reasons why it remains such as special car.

It’s a gripping story you’ve heard many times before in the quarter century. With quattro, no matter what the weather or road conditions are, Audi’s roadholding and stability make for exceptionally safe and sure progress.

Just for the record, on a dry racetrack, approaching all sorts of curves at about 120km/h with the stability control left on, the S4’s tail could be made to gently slide out with progressive throttle inputs.

Here the S4 never felt anything less than outstandingly safe or in control. But it isn’t a super-exciting or mega-involving drive that the you-know-what from Bavaria is.

The Audi will flatter the novice driver take you faster and surer over a wider variety of roads and weather conditions in probably more comfort and style than any current rival and you could live with it always without knowing how talented it really is.

Some say the interior is looking a little stale now. But few cabins are as inviting or intelligently executed as the B6 and B7 A4s’. In the S4 you’re merely sitting on better seats among more toys for you to enjoy.

So the latest S4 is still the same gripping yarn as before, slightly watered down perhaps now that the manual is missing - but still strong on character and style. Except now it has a different front and back cover.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new A4

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

A4 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here