The Audi S4 has long been recognized as a serious sports sedan. Before the Subaru WRX, STI, and Mitsubishi Evo became American household names, the S4 was making a name for itself as a turbocharged all-wheel drive sports sedan. And about the time the WRX and others hit the US market Audi made another significant change to the S4 formula. A formula that had been used by Americans back in the late 60s and that formula is a big engine in a little car.
A big engine for the Germans is a 4.2 liter V8 with 340hp. That was almost a 100hp increase from the older S4. The Audi S4 would have a V8 four years before the other German rivals added a V8 to their smallest hot rods. And now the Audi RS4 is a turbo-charged V8. Is that what is next from BMW and Mercedes? BMW is already turbo-charging their inline sixes and Mercedes has several forced induction power plants; so it is not unrealistic to think that the new M3s and C-Class AMG sedans will a little extra power adder under the hood.
Today you can get a gently used S4 from a couple of years about with low mileage from under around $25k. The S4 may not have quite the blistering performance of the new V8 BMW M3, but is a very satisfying ride. The S4 is an amazing mix of style, luxury, performance and even value. If the Evo or STI are on your short list for your next car, but you’re not sure if you want to live with a rally-tuned econobox, then the S4 makes an appealing option.