Performance combined with European styling and luxury is just some of the benefits of going pre-owned with a used Audi S4.
Audi has produced several “S” versions for their conventional models over the years. These cars are identifiable by their “S” badges, and all are equipped with Audi’s trademark Quattro all-wheel drive system. Upgraded engines, along with bigger, more potent brakes, and enhanced suspension set them apart from their standard models.
The original Audi S4 was a high performance sport version of the Audi 100 car. The S4 name has since then been used for performance versions of the Audi A4 series.
The Audi S4 are, or have been, available as a 4-door sedan, a 2-door four-seat convertible called the Audi S4 Cabriolet and the 5-door Audi S4 Avant which is Audi’s name for a station wagon. Like all Audi ‘S’ cars, the S4 is only available with Audi’s Quattro 4-wheel drive system.
Introduced in 1991, the Audi S4 has progressed through 5 generations. Here they are listed in order of desirability when considering the purchase of a used Audi S4:
2nd Generation: Considered by Audi aficionados as the best of the S4s. It boasted a handsome design combined with a technologically advanced 2.7 liter twin-turbo V6 engine rated conservatively at 261 hp (many Audi fans claim it was more like 285 hp). A 6-speed manual was standard and an optional 5-speed “Tiptronic” automatic transmission was introduced. In 1997 the 2nd generation Audi S4 began producing the station wagon version called the Avant.
3rd Generation: The 3rd generation Audi S4 Quattro debuted in 2003 with a new chassis, body style and most importantly a new engine. An all-aluminum 4.2 liter, 40 valve (5 valves per cylinder) V8 engine replaced the 2.7 Liter twin-turboV6 engine of the previous generation. The new engine cranked out an impressive 339 hp at a remarkable 7000 rpm’s. This version also marked the introduction of the Audi S4 Cabriolet. The 3rd generation included sedan and Avant models for only 2 years, while the Cabriolet stayed in production for another year, until 2005.
4th Generation: Built from 2005 until 2008, the 4th generation Audi S4 differs mainly cosmetically from the previous generation. The few real changes were made to the suspension, where Audi removed some of the harshness. Because of the similarity, it only makes sense to buy a used 4th generation Audi S4 if it is a low mileage example still under factory warranty. If not, go for the 3rd generation for a better deal.
1st Generation: The performance version of the Audi 100 (C4) 4-door, 5-seat sedan (the 1st generation Audi S4) was sold from 19991 to 1994. It featured a turbocharged version of Audi’s 2.2 liter, 20-valve inline 5 cylinder engine producing 227 horsepower. While impressive for its time, the 1st generation Audi S4’s power is lacking for the drivers of today’s sport sedans. Furthermore, age and limited production make replacement parts difficult to find.
5th Generation: For 2009 Audi introduces an all new S4. Powered by a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engine producing 329 hp, the new Audi S4 is only available in the sedan or Avant body style. The Audi performance convertible is known as the Audi S5. It remains to be seen how this new generation compares to previous versions, but if history is any guide, it should measure up favorably.
All Audi S4 boast excellent braking and handling, along with exceptional interiors. The only major negative would be its low resale value, which is a benefit for those looking to buy a used Audi S4.