We all know Audi’s illustrious sporting history which ranges from Group B monsters to Pikes Peak killers. The current history features an exotic trio of R8s for the street and the mighty diesels that tackle the endurance racing world. It’s not just the Audi super vehicles which charm us with their sports car bravado and teutonic style. The entire lineup provides one with a feeling that the previous corner could have been taken a little quicker. From A3 to A8L, the Audi family of vehicles does sporting luxury quite well (yes, including the two Qs). The 2010 Audi S4 continues this legacy by returning the vaunted model where it belongs. The V8 was fun, but the real S4 comes from a land of boosted smaller engines. Do this supercharged version allow for more fun and excitement than turbocharged S4s of yore? The answer is a grumbly, slightly whiney, yes. The 2010 Audi S4 features a 3.0L supercharged V6 engine under the hood. The dual-intercooled, direct-injected mill produces 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. That torque is available from 2,900 rpm up through 5,300 rpm so introducing back to seat is an easy affair. There is no wild back and forth from the steering wheel or screaming of rubber. The S4 produces an initial punch and then holds me in place as I hold my foot in place. It’s both calm and exciting at the same time as everything is under control as I am able to fly past the 60 mph mark in around 5 seconds. I have shared my frustration with the standard DSG gearbox quite a few times and I full expected to hate the version employed here. The S4 comes standard with a six-speed manual but I was given one with a new seven-speed S-tronic gearbox. This transmission seems much more composed then the six-speed dual-clutch system. It is not sluggish in normal automatic mode and quite responsive when I play with the paddles. A bonus I find with the S-tronic comes in the form of aural pleasure as the exhaust elicits a deep, breathy tone upon shifts.
The inside of the 2010 S4 is standard Audi excellence. The dark materials give the cabin a slightly sinister feeling, especially at night when the red glow from the various buttons and switches lends the cockpit a fighter jet feel. The power adjustable and heated front seats are comfortable and also keep my butt planted in quick turns. At 6’3″, I often have the seat all the way back and legroom is no issue up front. In the back seat is another matter, as it appears only old Jonny No-Legs could fit behind me. Not that I care too much about the folks in the back. I am up front with the fob in my pocket. This latest S4 also shares the latest 3g mmi system with the beautiful navigation graphics. The all setup is quite easy to use but I am still happy that the hot-cold controls are separate. The optional Bang & olufsen sound system is a must-have feature on any Audi and this S4 has it. The sound bursting from the speakers catches the highs, lows, and everything in between…and it does it regardless of the volume. I vacillate from deaf in 20 years to deaf in 20 minutes and it all sounds great. What? The 2010 Audi S4 S-tronic starts at $47,300 and the car you see here will cost you $53,450. This is the price you pay to play with a real luxury sports sedan. The BMW 335i xDrive and Mercedes-Benz C350 will put price out to around the same low-mid $50k range. The difference is that the S4 has more power and will slowly walk away from the BMW or simply crush the C350. The wild card however is the Infiniti G37 sedan. It has slightly more aggressive styling, similar power numbers, and can be had fully loaded for around the price of an A4 (not the S4). You can also choose between RWD or AWD which is a nice option for a lot of people. Does the G37 have the same level of fit and finish inside? No, all modern Audi vehicles are kings in this category. I think most folks shopping in this market look right over the Infiniti with wide German eyes. The new S4 is excellent…but the luxury sports landscape now has more competition. Thankfully, this S4 has gone back to its roots. The “T” on the side of the car is the first proof of that. Even though it doesn’t stand for “turbocharged”, it does mean the car has forced induction. The competition is increasing but the S4 is getting better at the same time. If a car like the BMW M3 could be considered the benchmark for high-performance luxury sedans, then I believe the 2010 Audi S4 is the current king of luxury sports sedan.