A wolf in sheep's clothing, the 2018 Audi S4 sedan appears nearly identical to its A4 sibling, but packs significantly more performance. This all-new version of Audi's compact-luxury-performance sedan boasts a wealth of tech, safety and driver-assistance features, plus standard all-wheel drive. It flies under the radar, yet rises above rivals like the BMW 340ix.
You'll Like The 2018 Audi S4 If...
If you want performance without panache, the 2018 Audi S4 sedan blends all-wheel-drive dynamism and luxury as few others can. With its brawn also comes plenty of brains, highlighted by Audi's excellent suite of driver-assistance, active safety and tech-laden infotainment offerings.
You May Not Like The 2018 Audi S4 If...
If you must have rear-wheel drive and/or a manual transmission, look elsewhere. A BMW 340i can grant you both, while a Mercedes C43, Infiniti Q50, V6-powered Cadillac ATS and Jaguar XE 35t offer a rear-drive layout. Crave even more power? Go M3, C63 or keep those fingers crossed for an RS4.
The Audi S4 is all-new for 2018. This compact-luxury-performance sedan comes a year after -- and builds upon -- the all-new A4 sedan. With its 354-horsepower V6, the S4 has over 100 more horsepower than the A4 and boasts a bevy of other performance enhancements.
Audi has a knack for interiors that are tech-savvy, contemporary, minimalistic yet luxurious. One highlight is the optional Virtual Cockpit, a fully configurable digital instrument cluster that can display Google Earth maps, driving data and other info. It complements a center-mounted 7.0-inch infotainment display (an 8.3-inch is optional) that is controlled via a rotary dial and auxiliary buttons above the transmission selector. Speaking of, the Audi uses a "monostable"-type shifter that springs back into place. If you're new to this type of selector, make sure you get comfortable with it. Like other compact-luxury sedans, rear-seat room can be tight for taller passengers.
The S4 appears very similar to its lesser brother, the A4. Still, discerning eyes can parse the differences. For one, the S4 sits 23 millimeters lower than your everyday A4. Up front, full LED lights come standard. Aside from the subtle "S4" badges, the easiest way to tell the two apart is in back. Just look for the S4's quad exhaust outlets. This all-new S4 also benefits from a trunklid lip spoiler. Here, too, its subtlety speaks volumes. The S4 comes with 18-inch wheels with summer or all-season tires. Optional are 19-inch wheels with summer tires.
We'll just come out and say it: We love the way the 2018 Audi S4 handles no matter the situation. Straight-line performer? Zero to 60 mph is extinguished in 4.4 seconds. Serpentine asphalt up and down a mountain? Consider it carved. Supple highway cruising? The S4 is calm and collected. Like so many other luxury cars, the Audi S4's driving behavior and dynamics can be tailored for the road at hand via its standard Audi drive-select programming. But even in "Auto" mode it's smart enough to figure out an ideal balance of comfort and agility. The S4 is just a finely balanced, dynamic, extremely enjoyable car to drive. The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 is a well of power, and any instances of turbo lag are few and far between. Even the exhaust note is confident, though it can be a bit intrusive when left in Sport mode.
The 2018 Audi S4 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $51,875 for a Premium Plus model and $56,775 for the Prestige. Fully loaded, an S4 can run into the high $60,000 range. At these prices, the S4 is nearly in line with the all-wheel-drive BMW 340ix, Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 sedan, and Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD. An AWD Jaguar 3.5t can be had for less, as can the lower-powered Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design and Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Audi. We expect the all-new Audi S4's resale value to hold up quite well over the years.
The 2018 Audi S4 sedan comes in two trims: Premium Plus and Prestige. With a name like "Premium Plus," you'd be correct in assuming even a base model is equipped well: Think heated and 12-way-power adjustable front seats with massage functionality, a 755-watt/19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, tri-zone climate control, sunroof, and an infotainment system that works with everything from CDs and HD Radio to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features include leather/Alcantara seating, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, driver-seat memory, and Audi's pre sense basic and city systems, which can detect moving objects like pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes.
The S4 Prestige brings Audi's Virtual Cockpit, upgraded 8.3-inch display with navigation and touch/handwriting input, head-up display, top-view rearview camera and blind-spot monitoring. Many options can be bundled into the base model. Others include cold- and warm-weather packages, rear side airbags and Nappa leather interior. The Driver Assistance Package for the Prestige trim brings active lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist, and traffic-sign recognition. For those seeking to wring the most out of this luxury-performance sedan, get the S Sport package. It bundles a sport rear differential that actively splits torque between the rear wheels and adaptive damping suspension.
The S4 isn't festooned with a big spoiler and doesn't shout its performance credentials. This is a sleeper through and through. Other drivers will likely see it as just another A4. You'll then quickly be seeing them in your rearview mirror.
It may sound indulgent, but there's nothing quite like having your back massaged while driving or riding as a passenger in the front seat. This feature puts the "comfort" in creature comfort, and best of all it's standard in the 2018 Audi S4.
Under the Hood
This is where the real difference exists: Instead of the A4’s 4-cylinder, the new S4 uses a V6. Whereas past S4 models used supercharging to boost power, this new one is turbocharged. Among the results is a gain of 21 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque over the previous generation. All 2018 S4s use Audi's fantastic Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. An 8-speed automatic is your only transmission, but it's a good one; smooth all the way. Like so many other new cars seeking to eke out better fuel economy, the Audi S4 uses an engine start/stop system that cuts power at idle. It can be aggravating in urban settings, but can be disabled with the press of a button.
3.0-liter turbocharged V6
354 horsepower @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
A wolf in sheep's clothing, the 2018 Audi S4 sedan appears nearly identical to its A4 sibling (reviewed separately), but packs significantly more performance. Like the A4, the 2018 S4 is all-new, the latest in what has become a cult favorite among compact- performance-luxury sedans. It boasts the impressive roster of technology, safety and driver-assistance features that came with the new A4, but is blessed with a new turbocharged V6 under the hood. Paired with a slick 8-speed automatic transmission, standard Quattro all-wheel drive and upgraded brakes, the S4 excels on just about any road and weather condition. The 2018 S4 is a deft challenger to the Mercedes-Benz C43 and BMW 340ix, and our choice for drivers craving dynamic performance and understated elegance.