Unless you get a really close look, the S4 may look like any garden-variety A4, but under that docile exterior it has the power to lay waste to most sportscars. This from a car that can seat five and has a big boot. The engine is a 3.0-litre, direct-injection petrol V6 that’s force-fed air by a supercharger. Maximum power is now 328bhp and it has 44.9kgm of pulling power.
Let’s get the numbers out of the way – they are quite stunning. It will get from 0-100kph in 5.6sec and you’ll get to its top speed of 250kph very quickly too.
But, what makes it special is the way it responds to the throttle. The engine loves to be revved, power delivery is very smooth and the way the push in your back gets stronger is absolutely addictive. Even the exhaust note is suitably sporty. The seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox is so fast that there’s instant acceleration whenever you want it.
But what’s unexpected from a car like the S4 is its fantastic ride. It is unexpected because big power usually needs a rock-hard suspension to keep it in check. But Audi has found a comfortable compromise – the ride is pliant and absorbent. It means you can use it day in and day out, because it has the compactness of an A4, and can be absolutely civilised or crazy fast when you're in the mood.
As for the handling, the S4 rolls a bit, and the steering isn’t as feelsome as it should be. There’s lots of grip too, thanks to the Quattro four-wheel-drive system. We do wish the brakes were a bit stronger though, and the car really sits down on its suspension when it’s fully loaded, so it does ground out over speedbreakers.
As for the interiors, the S4’s three-spoke steering wheel, grippy suede upholstery and grey dials look classy, and the black and aluminium theme goes well with the sporty nature of the car. The interior remains a terrific place to spend time, with fabulously supportive seats and that deep sense of quality, regardless of which surface you’re touching.
At Rs 45.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra), or approximately Rs 15 lakh more than an A4 1.8T, it offers a mix of explosive performance, practicality and everyday usability that is unmatched at this price.
Engine size 3.0 (P)
Price from Rs 45.3 lakh*
Top speed 250kph (limited)