This week I m driving the popular Audi S4. I have always liked its sibling A4 because of its pleasant demeanor and quality feel. However, I always wished it had a little more. Enter the S4, the A4s evil twin. Terrific handling, great performance, and sexy looks are the things that the S4 is about. The S4 just feels right. It is one of the best European Sport Sedans on the market today. This is a real drivers car.

The S4 is powered by Audis smooth supercharged 333 horsepower 3.0-liter V6. My test vehicle had Audis award winning Quattro AWD system sending the power to all the wheels through a six speed manual transmission. Traction and handling were amazing in every condition I encountered. The S4 is happiest when driven aggressively and rewards the driver with great confidence and performance. Of course, replacing the big (and fast wearing) 245/40-18 tires can put a huge dent in your wallet quicker that you can imagine. If you want to play, you have to pay not only when you buy the $47k base price S4, but when it needs maintenance. Nothing this good is ever cheap. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway, but who buys an S4 for economy?

Outside, the S4 has the look of an edgier A4 and is a real head turner. Everyone loves the signature Audi grille and LED headlight trim. This car looks really good at night.

Inside, the S4s cabin is all about luxury, comfort, and great looks. There is ample seating for four and the trunk space is enormous. I especially appreciated the adjustable thigh bolsters on the front seats. It made a longer trip much more palatable. The interior noise level is good and the 14 speaker B&O sound system was above average. The Audi MMI infotainment system works well, but requires reading the manual before using. I suppose it is a Euro thing that we have to put up with.

Safetywise, the S4 is loaded with electronic goodies to keep you out of trouble, and airbags everywhere. The S4 hasn’t been crash tested by the government yet, but I expect it to get a top rating like the A4.

Performance was amazing, the ride was firm, but palatable. The brakes were great and overall, the car is very well balanced. The AWD system really helped it go faster around corners. I could really tell the difference. I found myself going a lot faster than I thought. I could get in a lot of trouble with this car. It was so smooth and quiet that I often found myself doing 25 mph over on the highway. Have to remember to use cruise control more often! Overall, the S4 is a really fun car to drive and will be best appreciated buy a true automotive enthusiast.

My test S4 had a sticker price of $54k. That puts it in the ring with the Cadillac CTS-V and the Mercedes C63. You may have to really like the S4 to ignore those cars, but the choice over a BMW 335 seems pretty easy. I give the S4 a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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