Audi S4: Through the Lens of History

Table of Contents

Overview of Audi S4

Audi automakers have always been committed to producing world-class vehicles, and the Audi S4 embodies their commitment. Audi S4 is quite popular among people and is the sole reason it has survived several generations successfully, and Audi enthusiasts still look forward to its new models.

Whether engine power, transmission options, luxury, performance metrics, or technological features, this lineup has gracefully stood the test of time. Audi implemented innovation to it as the years went on that kept people stuck to this Sedan’s engineering and technological features.

Let’s look at how the Audi S4 lineup has advanced.

Origin and Evolution:

The high market demand for high-performance Sedans and Wagons gave rise to the idea of Audi S4. It first emerged as a competition to Mercedes’ AMG line and BMW’s M models. Audi S4 has shown its determination to keep up with the trends since its inception in the early 90s. While some trademark features have been part of the model since the beginning, much has been changed compared to the first models.

The key features of the early models that have stayed include the Quattro all-wheel drive and expert engineering combined power and practicality. While the early models got their power from the turbocharged engines, Audi instilled V6 engines to the lineups over time. Power and sophistication have been constant companions when it comes to design and performance. It kicked off as large Sedans that gradually adopted the compact A4-based platforms, making it more appealing.

The interior cabins have continually been refined and comfortable for drivers and passengers alike. It has been the top choice for people seeking a blend of sporty and luxurious vehicles since its debut.

Power, Performance, and Efficiency:

The first Audi S4 generation from 1991-1994 featured a 2.2-liter inline-5 turbocharged engine. It produced 227 horsepower, conforming to the authority of the S4 in the world of high-performance sedans. It had a Quattro all-wheel drive option for top-class traction and stability.

The second-generation Audi S4 models, I.e., models that came out during 1997-2002, produced 250 horsepower from its 2.7-liter V6 biturbo engine. Not to mention, the Quattro all-wheel system has always been an Audi S4 feature, ensuring great control over the drive.

Audi integrated a robust 4.2-liter V8 engine in its S4 B7 from the third generation, packing a substantial punch with 339 horsepower. It pushed the boundaries of performance with the typical Quattro-driven composure. The Audi S4 B8 from the next generation was the first to come up with a V6 powerhouse that churned out a whopping 333 horsepower. These 2009-2016 models had the same driving performance as a Quattro AWD; however, Audi took measures to make the blend of power and sophistication more sustainable.

The Audi S4 TDI belongs to the current generation of the S4 that started back in 2019. This model’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine produces 349 horsepower and combines with Quattro AWD to offer boundless performance and functionality.

Exploring the Interior Features:

Surprisingly, the Audi S4 has always had quite a luxurious interior – even when manufacturers focused more on performance than comfort. The Audi 100 S4 from the first generation features plush seating, ample space, and high-quality materials around the cabin. The already comfortable and well-appointed cabin improved with the air conditioning, power windows, and premium sound system.

The B5 generation was a sportier trim with supportive seats, upgraded leather upholstery, sport steering wheels, and aluminum accents. The standard features on all the B5 models included dual-zone climate control, power accessories, and a premium audio system. The later models of this generation started featuring infotainment technology and Audi’s MMI system.

The third and fourth generations improved the MMI system and refined the driver-centric cabin. The premium optional features like the navigation system, adaptive cruise control, and Audi Drive Select made their way to this generation.

The current generation offers all that the current technological era can offer for automobiles. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is the highlight of this generation’s interior, offering a fully digital instrument cluster with customizable displays. The MMI system is upgraded and paired with the sleek touchscreen infotainment system. The materials used inside are high-quality and premium, I.e., brushed aluminum accents and leather upholstery that create an upscale environment. The lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control systems made the cabin more viable for the owners. The B9 generation is still upgrading its new models with evolving technological features.

Color Options:

While black, white, and progressive red are the brand colors of Audi, the Audi S4 featured the following different shades and colors throughout the five generations:

  • Silver
  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Imola Yellow
  • Gray
  • Deep Blue
  • Estoril Blue
  • Sprint Blue
  • Dolphin Gray
  • Misano Red
  • Tango Red
  • Navarra Blue

Color availability differs for each model year and market; the official website or local dealerships can help you with the color choices of the models.

Exploring the Infotainment Technology:

The mind-blowing transformation of Audi S4 manifested in its infotainment technology as well. The pioneer models featured technology primarily focused on the driving dynamics and basic infotainment system. It started integrating the true infotainment technology in the second generation, while it took another step forward with Audi’s Multimedia Interface (MMI) in the third generation. The later generation focused on improving the new MMI system and offered improved connectivity. The current fifth generation has a high-tech cabin with a Virtual Cockpit and an innovative MMI interface. The cutting-edge technology, along with top-class performance and maneuverability, is integrated into the S4’s latest models.

Space and Storage in Audi S4:

As discussed earlier, the Audi focused more on the performance in the first-generation models. However, the trunk capacity was 15 cubic feet, and the passenger space was adequate even in those models. The second-generation models had considerable improvements in the interior, including roominess and fold-down rear seats. Furthermore, the trunk capacity was up to 16-17 cubic feet. The features and layout were the same for the third generation. Even though the trunk space was lesser for the fourth-generation models, I.e., 12-13 cubic feet, the passthrough integration added to the vehicle’s practicality. The current vehicles offer a five-passenger capacity with roomier cabins, fold-down rear seats, and 13-14 cubic feet of trunk space.

Other features across the generations included cargo covers to conceal the items, cargo nets to hold them in place, and trunk lid cargo nets. Cargo hooks were also added to the utility features in some models.

Safety Features of Audi S4:

The automotive safety of this model throughout the years has been uncanny. The safety features for the first-generation models were basic, i.e., driver-side airbags and anti-lock brakes. Euro NCAP safety rating awarded the second-generation safety a four-star rating for advanced features like stability control and side-impact airbags. For the third generation, the Euro NCAP safety rating was enhanced to five stars for adult occupant protection with the curtain airbags and adaptive cruise control features.

Blind-spot monitoring, rearview cameras, and lane departure warning features in the fourth generation made it constantly secure top safety ratings in crash tests. The driver assistance system is standard in the fifth-generation models. The emergency braking system makes it a very safe and reliable Sedan.

Driving Abilities of Audi S4:

All thanks to the powerful engines and the Quattro AWD, the Audi S4 is popular for its strong driving dynamics. The precise controlling and handling make the drive fun; manual and automatic transmissions with pedal shifting provide engaging gear changes. The Dynamic Drive Select offers customizable driving modes, and the strong brakes ensure excellent stopping power. The interior is designed to stay calm, quiet, and comfortable, enhancing the driving experience.

Decoding the Fuel Economy of Audi S4 Over the Years:

The fuel economy differed over the years per the engine options and other performance-related factors. The fuel efficiency for the first generation was approximately 18-20 mpg, which deteriorated for the next few generations.

The gas mileage was 16-19 mpg for the second and 15-18 mpg for the third generation. The supercharging option in the fourth generation improved it to 17-24 mpg. The estimated fuel efficiency for the current generation falls in the range of 20-27 mpg, which we owe to the fuel-saving techniques relative to the turbocharged V6 engine.

The Pros and Cons of Audi S4:


  • Top-class performance
  • Comfortable interior
  • Advanced technology
  • Versatility


  • Maintenance Costs
  • Resale Value
  • Technology Complexity


GenerationPricing Range (varied by model year and trim & adjusted for inflation)
First Gen$40,000-$50,000
Second Gen$40,000-$50,000
Third Gen$45,000-$55,000
Fourth Gen$48,000-$55,000
Fifth Gen$50,895-$60,000


The key feature of the Audi S4 throughout different models is its performance and drivability. Its features and powertrain make driving fun and a popular choice. Despite its ever-changing features, it has undergone a considerable transformation, but its popularity and demand have remained constant. The interior comfort and excellent tech features make it the top pick of sports Sedan lovers!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):

Q: Which car is faster? S3 or S4?

A: Whether we talk about power or acceleration, S4 dominates S3 and offers a faster commute mode.

Q: What makes Audi S4 so popular?

A: The top-tier performance attributed to the powerhouse and Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes Audi S4 so popular.

Written by: Motorcardata

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