Audi S4
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Overall

The A4 gets a little extra power to complement the 2013 facelift; S4 sprints to 60 mph from a standing start in less than five seconds.

Drivetrain

Upgraded 220-horsepower four-cylinder gas engine also makes big torque numbers and channels it to either the front wheels or all four; supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is reserved for the S4.

Luxury-laden flagships like the A7 and A8 might give the impression that Audi is focused more on pampering and performance than packed parking lots, but the truth is that they’re more about creating and using technology to make for a better driving experience as well as a safer and more efficient car. The thing about Audis, and the A4 in particular, is the crisp styling, tight proportions and tailored interiors that would please fashion-conscious Europeans. Even more so with the facelift from 2013 that adopted leaner LED headlights, a reshaped grille and new bumpers to refresh a car whose last major revamp was in 2008. Since the platform is based on the architecture developed for the A5 coupe, some shared design details include the gauge cluster and control panel as well as the string of LEDs underscoring the headlights. Base models feature an updated 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine now with 220 horsepower (up from 211) and 258 pound-feet of torque. The optional supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque is available only in the sporty S4 sedan. The transmissions range from a continuously variable unit in the very base front-drive model to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic for the all-wheel-drive models. The S4 comes with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed paddle-shift manual. Quattro directs 40 percent of the torque to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear. When road conditions become slippery, torque can be redirected to the tires with the most grip. Every A4 contains plenty of premium pampering content, while placing a massive assortment of gadgets on the options list. Among the more innovative is a lane-change assist that warns if another vehicle is within the “blind-spot” area. The 2014 model year sees a number of visual changes for mid- and top-level models, including standard “S line” sport packages with new 18-inch wheel designs.

Base price (incl. destination): $34,600; $49,500 (S4)
Type: Four-door sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (220)
Optional engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V6, supercharged (333, S4)
Layout: Front-engine; front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 22/30 (2.0, FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,700