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We’ve come across a fairly decent review of the new upcoming 2009 Audi S4. Audi has swayed away from the traditional all motor or turbocharged applications, and by the sounds of it, they got supercharging down very quick. The S4 will be almost 30% more fuel efficient then it’s outgoing brother with the 4.2 V8, which is a nice change.For more info check out: www.audiforum.ca
Tall stone walls on either side along the single lane stretch of tarmac echo and exaggerate the muted whine of a supercharged V6. We pull back on the paddle for another instantaneous dual-clutch shift and the ensuing pop from the exhaust makes the experience just that much more fun. The 2009 Audi S4 produces a relentless wave of torque that completely belies the manufacturer’s ratings. And that powertrain makes this sport sedan incredibly capable on these very tight and very windy roads.
It’s welcome news that the all-new S4 feels as fast as it does, because the new sport sedan is actually less powerful than its predecessor. The new supercharged V6 (dubbed V6T on the flanks) produces 333 hp compared to the previous car’s 344 hp rating. Despite having less power, the new S4 makes 23 more lb-ft. of torque (325) over a broader range (2900 to 5300 rpm). Credit direct injection, which allows for a surprising 10.3:1 compression ratio, despite 11.6 psi of pressure forced into the intake from the supercharger. Most importantly, for a company with a determined focus on fuel economy, the new car is a shocking 27 percent more frugal at the pump than the last S4. When paired with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, Audi claims more than 24 mpg.
The Quattro all-wheel drive system benefits from an improved 40:60 torque distribution, and the S4 adds Audi’s version of active yaw control, which uses clutch packs in the rear diff to alter the torque distribution between the rear wheels. The Sport Differential has been designed purely to help the car turn—and unlike other systems such as Honda’s SH-AWD, this one will send up to 100 percent of torque to the outside wheel when necessary, and it works whether you’re on the gas, or off. In fact, Audi says that the system will even work with the clutch depressed, without using the brakes to eliminate understeer completely. The S4 still retains stability control, but the system comes into play much less frequently because of the Sport Differential.
As on the 2009 A4, Audi Drive Select offers three preset modes that affect the steering response, shock stiffness, throttle response and transmission shift points. On the S4, the Sport Differential settings are incorporated into this system. In comfort mode, the differential focuses on eliminating the effects of abrupt weight transfer, while in dynamic mode, the differential is tasked with helping the S4 rotate through corners.
A few visual cues differentiate S4 from A4, most notably a flipped-up trunk lip spoiler reminiscent of the M3 CSL or Audi’s own RS4, and a rear diffuser incorporating quad exhaust pipes. The S4 sits 20-mm lower, and uses a more aggressive suspension setup, as well as standard 18-in. wheels wrapped with 245/40R18 rubber. Nineteen-inch wheels are optional carrying 255/35R19 tires. The stealthiest S4 is the Avant (wagon), which—naturally—won’t be available in the US. As you might expect, the S4 can be had with the usual Audi tech-heavy options: side assist for changing lanes, adaptive cruise control, parking radar and a rear view camera.
Audi says that the new S4 gets to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds—faster than its predecessor—and we believe it. The immediate swell of torque is utterly addictive and remains in full swing when the needle hits the 7000 rpm redline. Grab the next gear and that oomph is there and ready way before you are.
The dynamic suspension is brilliant, each setting easily discernible from the others and changing modes in milliseconds. The 13.6-in. front brakes have no trouble hauling the S4 down from autobahn speeds. But most surprising is the effect of the sport differential. On track, we did everything we could to provoke and understeer, but the car just turns. Audi has created a car that even a newbie can drive very, very fast.
The best part of the S4 is the hardest part to describe—it’s a certain harmony among all of the parts and systems on board that seems to tie the driving experience together, from the bolt-action shifter to the explosive V6 to the quick ratio steering. You can’t leave the car for fifteen minutes without wondering when you’ll be able to drive it again. The feeling is reminiscent of pre-V8 powered S4’s, and that’s a good thing.
The Bottom Line
Audi says that the S4 is no longer meant to compete with BMW’s M3. But as you might guess, it bests BMW’s 335i for driving excitement by some margin. Yet whether or not the S4 fits into an existing segment, is of little concern. The S4 goes on sale here next fall. Nicely equipped examples should start at around $50,000 (about $4,000 less than the previous S4). That’s not cheap, but the good stuff rarely is.
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