Audi S4 Arnold MO
Creve Coeur, MO
Creve Coeur, MO
Kansas City, MO
2004 Audi S4 Quattro MT6 Compact Sport Sedan
By Michele Brooke
What was Tested?: 2004 Audi S4 Quattro MT6 Compact Sport Sedan
Mileage: 15 city / 21 highway
Base MSRP: $45,650
The 2004 Audi S4's genetic makeup is pure muscle car - at least, under the hood. It's power packed with a 4.2-liter V8 heart that beats a pulsating 340 horses at 7,000 rpm and 302 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. It can race from 0-to-60 mph in 5.3 seconds and has a top speed of 155-mph. With so much adrenaline, you'd think the S4 was an asphalt-hungry wild animal, chomping at the bit to be let lose.
However, unlike some performance cars that require a heavy foot, the Audi is all sophistication. It responds without coaxing. There's a silkiness to the way its shifter slips in and out of the gates. Its handling is tight as it gallantly steers through twisties and S-curves with poise. All the while, its all-wheel drive system is designed to keep the tires sticking to the streets like glue. In essence, it's a marketer's dream as the Audi S4 is the real deal; there's no need to add extra commercial hype to make it appear larger than it is or to attract followers - one test drive and you'll be visualizing it parked in your garage.
We must note however, that before we continue to sing the S4's praises, we do have to voice one concern that, had we not driven and experienced the S4, would have tainted our opinion of it. With so much automotive magic: awe-inspiring performance and high quality interior materials, why, oh why did Audi wrap it in an "Imola Yellow"� exterior? It's like driving a sunbeam around town; granted, we never lost sight of it in a crowded parking lot, but it also seemed to take away from its luxury image.
Intrigued by its name and overly cheery disposition, we took to the Internet to find the reasoning behind this sheet metal conundrum. As it turns out, hard core racing fans will most likely appreciate this S4-exclusive color as its namesake, Imola, is the famous track in San Marino, Italy, and host of the Formula 1 racing, where racecars are known for their flashy, vivid colors. (Fortunately, for non-racing fans, the S-4 is also available in black, gray and silver.)
Back in the States, on the more mundane highways and boulevards that flow through our cities, the Audi S4 is involved in its own heated competition: vying for the consumers' eye in a segment that's lead by two of the most established luxury performance manufacturers out there: Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Spec sheet race
When it comes to the S4's closest competitors, BMW's M3 and Mercedes-Benz's C32 AMG, the differences among the three come down to personal preferences. There's the driving enthusiast's best friend, the BMW M3; the prestige seeker's trophy, the Mercedes-Benz C32 and right smack in the middle is the Audi S4, which has taken the racing spirit of the Beemer and the interior refinement of the Mercedes and rolled it into a sporty package that comes priced lower tha...