With the exception of the recently launched RS4, the recently revised S4 featuring Audi’s corporate front-end, is the hottest A4 you can buy. For £37,115 you get a 340bhp V8 engine allied to a four-wheel drive system, giving 0-62mph acceleration in 5.6 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.
But the really important figure is the 303lb-ft of torque which is produced from 3,500rpm. With this amount of mid-range power, overtaking can be achieved without having to drop down one or two gears. Simply floor the throttle and that big V8 bursts into life, powering you forward with an increasingly vocal soundtrack as you approach the 7,200rpm cut-off point. For a big V8 engine the S4’s unit is incredibly free revving, making all that power easy to exploit.
As you would expect of an Audi, the ride is on the hard side, with an uncompromisingly stiff set-up. This is great on smooth roads but can be jarring on less-than-perfect surfaces.
So it’s best to treat the S4 as a high performance cruiser, rather than a car in which to have some back road fun. And this suits the handling too, as with the big V8 under the bonnet the S4 does feel nose heavy.
Inside, it’s typical Audi, which means peerless build quality and a well designed interior. You also get some of the best seats I have ever sat in. The S4 has a pair of electrically-adjustable Recaro front seats which are not only very comfortable but also offer incredible side support thanks to their heavy bolsters.
In many ways the S4 is two cars in one – a relaxed, comfortable cruiser with a wicked edge thanks to a rorty V8 engine. You can even choose the bodystyle you want: saloon, practical Avant estate or sleek convertible.
Model: Audi S4 quattro
Max power (bhp/rpm): 340/7,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 303/3,500
Max speed (mph): 155 (limited)
0-62mph (secs): 5.6
Combined fuel economy (mpg): 21.1
CO2 emissions (g/km): 322
On sale: Now. Price (OTR): £37,115