The Audi S4 debuted in the early 1990s as a high-performing version of the 100. The first generation of the S4 featured standard Quattro all-wheel drive and a turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine that could pump out up to 227 horsepower. Audi switched that model over from being called the S4 to the S6, and since 1997, the S4 has mirrored the A4. The Audi S4 has been produced in Ingolstadt, Germany from the outset and available as a four-door sedan, five-door wagon, and more recently, a two-door convertible. It is currently in its fourth generation and boasts V8 power, 18" wheels, and a sport-tuned suspension to complete its increasingly sporty persona.
The second generation of the Audi S4 premiered during the 1997 model year equipped with a 2.7L biturbo V6 engine and constructed on the Volkswagen's B5 platform. A six-speed manual transmission was employed but a five-speed tiptronic automatic was optional, as well. And as with all "S" models, Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system was standard. A year later, Audi introduced the S4 Avant, a wagon variant of the model. There would be minor updates to the Audi S4 parts and design along the way, but the third generation of the S4 didn't appear until 2003. More power came into play, as the S4 was stocked with a 4.2L 40-valve V8 engine capable of 340 horsepower. Mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, the S4 generated a new buzz due to its influx of muscle. The interior was also upgraded with high-end Audi S4 accessories, allowing for a more luxurious image for the car. Thanks to the power boost and improved comfort and styling, the Audi S4 was named in the Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best List (2004).
In 2005, Audi unveiled the new S4, which once again was built using the same platform as the A4 (this time, the B7). There were few mechanical changes to the drivetrain, as most of the revisions to the underhood Audi S4 parts were cosmetic. Specialized V8 badges, new taillights, xenon HID headlights, and an updated front-end grille were the most notable differences between the B6 and the fresher B7 S4. The fourth generation (B8) Audi S4 rolled off the line for the 2009 model year. A smaller 3.0L V6 engine is used but not a ton of power is lost, as acceleration 0-62 mph is clocked at 5.1 seconds (the Avant's time has been noted at 5.2 seconds). Top speed is capped off at approximately 155 mph, making the S4 easily among the fastest in its class. As for the exterior Audi S4 accessories, daytime LED running lights located on the front-end along with double-spoke wheels and performance tires have been the more notable changes to the S4's appearance.
A blistering reminder of what Audi is capable of, the S4 showcases the strength and design that has elevated the brand throughout the world. The signature Quattro four-wheel drive is there, but the performance-capability is off the charts. Luxurious? Of course. Systematic? Check. The S4 demands attention, regardless of model year, because it is distinctive enough to hold its own identity, something that many models cut from the same cloth cannot claim. A dependable but classy ride for anyone, the S4 has become an automotive benchmark.
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