2024 Audi S4 Sedan review by Ben Lewis

There’s no denying it, we love European sport sedans. While most premium buyers are looking at SUVs, it’s worth remembering that brands like BMW, Mercedes and Audi made their bones on excellent performing sedans.

And while the Europeans are developing SUVs and EVs, it seems like sedans still hold a place in those carmaker’s hearts. We recently tested the BMW M340i and found it a high-performance bahnstormer. So, when Audi offered up an S4 sedan to test, we jumped at it. Can the brand with the four rings offer up similar thrills to the famous Roundel? Let’s find out!

Racy but Reserved

Like the BMW, the S4 is the high-performance variant of one of their most popular sedans. So, while the M340i is based on the 3-series sedan, and the S4 is the next step over the popular A4, both manufacturers upgrade the vehicles, but do it in a somewhat restrained manner. This is no Charger Scat Pack Wide Body that demands attention from every eye and ear within a ¼ mile – these are designed to fly low and fast on the autobahn.

The front is aggressive and functional, with a large hexagonal grille, flanked by sharply angled LED headlights and signature LED driving lights, while additional lower grilles add aero cred. Making our tester look even more aggressive, ours had the Black optic plus package, which featured a blacked-out design on the honeycomb grille, surrounds, as well as the Audi 4-ring logo and model badges.

The profile shares the handsome lines of the A4, with a coupe-like greenhouse, short front and rear overhangs, and a sharp contour line that cuts through the door handles, while a lower cut in on the doors give a muscular vibe. The real eye candy is a combination of the red brake calipers, courtesy of the S sport package, and our tester’s optional 19” 5 V-spoke wheel design in a classy titanium finish. Perfect.

The S4 is not without some bling – the angled LED taillights show off with a segmented pattern when signaling, and also when you open the vehicle with the remote. The Black optic package shows off a bit on the rear with a blacked-out tasteful lip spoiler that plays off on the blacked-out rear badging. The package really shows off on tester’s classic Arkona White exterior – a new color for 2024, and comes together as just a tasteful, low key, but impactful look.

Pure Audi Interior

Inside, you see why Audi is the standard for high-quality cabins. Open the door and the first thing that catches your eye are the Magma Red quilted front sport seats covered in rich Nappa Leather – we especially like the red, as it gives some pop to an otherwise dark interior.

Multi-adjustable, the front sport seats are as comfortable and supportive as any vehicle we’ve driven, without making you suffer for ultra-high-performance bolstering like the BMW M4 we tested.

Audi takes great care to make every place you look, touch, or sit feel great, with high quality materials, including Carbon atlas inlays, perforated leather on the steering wheel and leatherette covering on the center console and armrests.

Behind the wheel remains one of the best digital displays you’ll find on a modern car – Audi’s Virtual Cockpit was the first to allow you to move key things like navigation to the gauges, and we loved the digital sport display with bar tachometer and digital speedo that makes it easy to get info at a glance.

Info-tainment comes courtesy of a 10.1-inch color touchscreen mounted tablet-style on the center dash, and along with Audi’s MMI infotainment system, it’s simple and easy to use. The system works great and is handsome, but with full-width seamless digital displays showing up on the BMW M340i, it’s starting to look a little dated.

There’s no dated feeling in use though. With the touchscreen, Audi has deep-sixed the large circular controller for Info-tainment features, but we really didn’t miss it. One good thing, Audi left a small volume knob on the center console. And while we give the BMW the nod for the display, we’ll give Audi big kudos for continuing to offer an honest to goodness shift lever, and not the unenticing flip switch on the Bavarian.

Along with the hallmark of high-quality materials, the Audi wins you over with the good common sense to its design. The separate tri-zone climate controls are a cinch to operate, lift up the center armrest and there’s a handy wireless charger that also keeps your smartphone from sliding around. Everything is where you expect it to be, and best of all, it feels like it was designed by people who love to drive.

Compared to some competitors, the rear seats are a bit small for taller adults, but trunk space is impressively expansive, and the rear seats fold easily to create a nice flat loading floor for bringing along larger items.

S is for Super

Most of this nice stuff is available on the less-expensive A4 sedan, but it’s in the performance that the S4 really steps up.

It starts with a powerhouse under the hood – a 3.0-liter turbo V6 that pumps out a strong 349 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm. This is a very refined powerplant that starts out with a deep, throaty growl, but settles into a relatively quiet idle. While it might sound subdued, the performance is anything but, combined with a brilliantly responsive 8-speed automatic, the engine pulls with silky smoothness as the Audi rips off 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds – plenty fast for real world driving.

Handling is also impressive, starting with standard quattro all-wheel drive the grip coming out of corners is epic, and this is a very easy vehicle to attack your favorite twisty roads. Our tester raised the bar on that with the optional Sport package, that includes sport adaptive damping suspension, sport rear differential, and red brake calipers. The result was as much as you wanted to dish it out, the S4 just grabbed and go, with complete inspiring confidence.

What sets the S4 apart from others like the BMW M340i and Mercedes C43 is the level of civility. While the Bimmer and Merc feel tuned expressly for driving fun, it compromises some of the day-to-day livability. The Audi is more balanced towards that daily usefulness, so while it may be a bit less sharp, you come to love the quiet ride, the exceptional suppleness of the suspension in Comfort mode, and the effortlessness of getting around. Make no doubt, you still know you’re in a uber-capable sport sedan, it’s just more of gentleman’s express.

To that end, for 2024, the S4 sees some notable upgrades, including adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, Parking system plus, heated steering wheel with Hands on Detection and remote engine start functionality via myAudi app. On vehicles with the Navigation package, you now get traffic sign recognition, which also activates Predictive adaptive cruise control. All smaller items that add up to a much more enjoyable drive.

Break the Bank to Buy a Bahnstormer?

Like most European brands, it depends how you build it. If you want to forego the performance, you can get into an A4 sedan starting at $41,900. For a handsome sedan with a best-in-class interior and lovely road manners, that’s great value.

But of course, this is the S4, and you do pay for your thrills. Starting at $53,800 you have a fantastic performing sedan that can handle the day-to-day while giving you real exhilaration. Our tester showed what happens when you indulge in the tempting options list, including Prestige package ($7,300), Sport package ($2,500), Dynamic Steering ($1,150), Nappa Leather ($1,000) and Black optic plus package ($1,000). Add in $1,095 for Destination, and we rang the bell at $67,845.

Competitors would include the BMW M340i, at a nearly-identical $67,425, And the Mercedes C43 AMG at  a substantially-higher $74,820. Both are fine, highly tuned sport sedans; we say drive them all and choose the one that suits your style.

With refined looks, best-in-class interior, storming performance and wonderful day-to-day livability the 2024 Audi S4 is everything you could want in a performance sedan!

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.

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