2014 Audi S4

The S4 is the sport-focused version of Audi's popular A4 small sedan. Like the automaker's other S-line models, the S4 isn't an extreme performance vehicle in the manner of a BMW M car or an Mercedes AMG machine, instead offering a solid mix of power and luxury at a relatively reasonable price.

Recent Changes
The S4 receives an Audi side assist safety system and a Black Optic appearance package as new options for the latest model year.

Based on the 220-horsepower A4 sedan, the S4 ratchets up the performance quotient with a 333 horsepower, 325 lb-ft of torque 3.0-liter V6 engine that yields a zero-to-60 mpg time of five seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. A six-speed manual comes standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is also available. Fuel economy is rated at 17/26 with the manual and 18/28 with the automatic.

Complimenting the upgraded powertrain is a tightened and lowered suspension that helps the S4 hug the curves like a sports sedan should.

As with the rest of the A4/A5 lineup, the S4 was updated for the latest model year with more angular headlights, Audi's latest corporate grille and a redesigned lower front bumper. The S4 is distinguishable from its less potent kin by a more aggressive front fascia with more foglamp housings and a metallic-trimmed grille.

From the side, one will notice more sporty wheels, mounted outside larger, high-performance calipers and rotors that help bring the performance-minded car to a halt. Continuing to the rear, the S4 features a unique rear fascia and badging that will let more pedestrian vehicles know exactly why they are viewing the back - and not the front - of the S4.

Inside, S4-specific touches include black and gray contrasting leather accents along with S-line gauges, door sills and badging. Otherwise, the interior is essentially the same as that of the standard A4, with a modern-looking dash, plenty of high-quality materials and a relatively spacious backseat for the segment.

Recent updates include the newest form of Audi'a MMI infotainment interface and Audi Connect, which brings in-car internet connectivity and industry-first Google Earth integration - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.

Standard and Optional Features
The S4 can be had in two trim levels - Premium and Premium Plus.

The Premium models comes standard with Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with iPod integration, Bluetooth connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, xenon headlights and LED taillights.

The Premium Plus trim adds a navigation system with Audi Connect a 12-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with HD ratio technology, Audi side assist and a rear parking Camera.

Notable options include ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control and a performance-oriented Sport Differential package with torque vectoring. Also available is Audi Drive Select, which offers a variety of different suspension, steering, transmission and engine calibrations.

Newly optional on the Premium Plus model is Audi side assist, which monitors the blind spot areas, as well as fast-approaching vehicles.

The new Black Optic appearance package includes black exterior touches and 19-inch Titanium Rotor-design wheels.

Occupant Safety
All S4 models are fitted with dual front, side thorax and side curtain airbags along with stability and traction control systems and electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist. Rear side airbags are available as an option.

Key Competitors
The S4 is aimed at the competition's mid-grade small sedans that slot between the base-engine cars and the performance models. These include the Mercedes-Benz C350, the BMW 335i and the Infiniti G37.