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      12-03-2010, 07:56 PM   #1
Herms
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Got the new 2011 S4

At long last and after much deliberation, I finally pulled the trigger an a new 2011 S4 Premium Plus with Nav, Sport Diff, B&O and Nappa Leather.

Having gone from a 2008 E90 M3 to a 2009 Audi A4 Avant, I quickly found myself wanting for a faster ride and decided to start shopping around. As I know a lot of people on this forum have been cross-shopping these cars, I thought I would post some pics and a brief review.

I was strongly considering a new M3, a 2011 335, the S4, and the 2011 Mustang GT.

The Mustang had a great engine, but the car still felt clumsy to me and while it was tempting, I quickly decided that I'd like to stay in the luxury coupe/sedan category.

As compared to the 335, the S4 simply felt faster, had a better interior and audio and more enthusiast based features (such as the sport diff, seats, carbon fiber interior trim, double clutch transmisison) that make it feel more comparable to the M3 rather than the 335. One could step up to the 335is, but then I felt it was too close in price to the M3 to justify not getting the M3, and it more expensive than the S4, which I still preferred to the 335is anyway.

With respect to the M3, to sum it up, the M3 is faster, better looking and performs better overall, but given the difference in cost ($15k cheaper), the fact that the S4 has similar performance and that it solved my torque issue with the M3 made it a better choice for me.

Direct comparisons:

Looks: M3. More aggressive but not overdone. The S4, while I like that it is understated, could use a bit more flash to set it apart from the A4. Also not crazy about the stock wheels. Plan to maybe put some RS4 reps on it and a modest drop.

Acceleration: the M3 was of course faster on the high-end, but the S4 is just has so much torque it's a joy to drive. The problem I had with the M3 is that there was seldom enough room in LA traffic to approach redline, so much of that high-end was wasted. Off the line I think these cars would be close, perhaps a slight edge to the M3.

Braking: M3 hands down. S4 lacks feel and lack stopping power by comparison.

Steering: Again, M3, though the S4 is excellent for an AWD car. Also, the cars has the servotronic steering, which is a nice feature.

Transmission: My M3 was a 6MT, but I have driven the DCT as well. The S-Tronic in the S4 is seamless when the car is driving aggressively, though I do find it a bit fussy at times when in automatic mode. I also like that the DCT had more options in terms of the settings. The S-Tronic is so lazy in regular mode and not much better in Sport mode. To have the car in proper gear for sudden acceleration, the automatic mode is just useless. Luckily, as stated, the car is seamless when driven aggressively in the manual mode and I have not had any of the issues many M3 owners had with the DCT in terms of issues shifting when driven hard and the like. When great feeling with the S-Tronic is that it matches that "oh shit" feeling I'd get in the M3 like the car was going to take flight it was moving so fast. The M3 did this on the high-end such because it was so explosive over 6k rpm (turns out I'd shift intuitively based on the sound and time and not rpm, took a while to remember the M3 had another 2k rpm to go and to adjust that sound/time interval in my brain). Same feeling in the S4 because the S-Tronic shifts so smoothly it has that same "I forgot to shift" feeling I got in the M3.

Suspension: M3 again, though the S4 handles well and the ride comfort is very nice. Also, the quattro with the sport diff is just great as you can feel it quite noticablely when it is set to dynamic mode, especially on my daily Mulholland commute. This is the feature of the S4 that really won me over. While the M3 objectively has a tighter suspension, I have no doubt I would be faster around a track in the S4. Why? Because I'm not a great driver and so with the M3 I always felt aware of my limitations and was hesistant to be overly aggressive. The M3 was easy enough to drive hard as far as performance cars go, but there's just something about the quattro that leaves so much more room for error that it's easy to just really drive the car and get on the throttle coming out of turns a lot sooner than I otherwise would.

Comfort: S4. Just like the interior better and it find it more comfortable.

Audio: B&O sounds much better than the EPS in my M3. Like most every factory system I've heard, it's wanting for some more low-end thump, but the high end is crystal clear (some have called it tinny, but I find that it has very little distortion even at high volume and has such clarity that I notice elements of songs that never stood out before).

EDIT: Forgot to mention fuel economy! The S4 so far has been less efficient than advertised, but I have been killing the car since I finished the break-in period. The car does well on the freeway, but not as well as I expected. It does seem to be surprisingly good in streeet driving though, much better than the M3. A lot of the savings really seems to come from the laziness of the automatic settings with the S-Tronic. When driven hard, the car seems just as thirsty as the M3. Overall though, I am getting almost 5 miles per gallon more on average than I was with the M3 (15 v 19.5), so whatever the reason, the S4 uses less gas. I'm hoping once the S4 gets a bit more miles the consumption will improve further.
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Last edited by Herms; 12-04-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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      12-03-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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nice pick! I testdrove a brilliant red s4 before purchasing my first m3 in september. But the long list of accolades the M3 received finally became my last consideration. enjoy your ride!
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      12-03-2010, 08:10 PM   #3
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The S4 is very nice. Thanks for the comparison review.
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      12-03-2010, 08:15 PM   #4
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sweet ride.. I do love audis interiors.. very classy looking.
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      12-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #5
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Beautiful car and a very unbiased review.

Good luck with the new ride.

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Last edited by captainaudio; 12-03-2010 at 08:48 PM.
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      12-03-2010, 08:38 PM   #6
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Congrats!

Seats look amazing. Enjoy your new ride.

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      12-03-2010, 09:25 PM   #7
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nice ride, I'd take an S4 over a Ford any day...
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      12-03-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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Nice ride. I'm privileged enough to drive one of those everyday, along with my M3. Agree with you on a lot of your points especially being able to get on the throttle earlier than the M3.
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      12-03-2010, 09:47 PM   #9
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Audi do make some beautiful cars. Congrats!
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      12-03-2010, 10:49 PM   #10
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Very nice, i've had a S5 and an A5 and audi interiors are fantastic. Lots of power to unlock in that engine. You plan on any mods?
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      12-03-2010, 11:10 PM   #11
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One very nice purchase!

Turbo too...
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      12-03-2010, 11:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e92_m3 View Post
One very nice purchase!

Turbo too...
Supercharger*
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      12-03-2010, 11:59 PM   #13
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Supercharger*
I thought they were turbo'ed.

Shit, I should read up more on Audi's...
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      12-04-2010, 12:11 AM   #14
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I got one recently as well. I really do love the car, still have my E92 M3 as well which I am keeping.

I agree about the brakes, the ones on The M3 are better. I am thinking about doing an AP Racing BBK for the front

Maybe its all in my head, but in the manual mode when I am really on the gas. The S4 feels faster than my M3.

I still give the upper hand to iDrive, probably because I am just more comfortable with it.

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      12-04-2010, 12:15 AM   #15
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^^^
That blue one is hot!
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      12-04-2010, 01:04 AM   #16
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verrry nice in blue, as well...
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      12-04-2010, 01:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvwirelessguy View Post
I got one recently as well. I really do love the car, still have my E92 M3 as well which I am keeping.

I agree about the brakes, the ones on The M3 are better. I am thinking about doing an AP Racing BBK for the front

Maybe its all in my head, but in the manual mode when I am really on the gas. The S4 feels faster than my M3.

I still give the upper hand to iDrive, probably because I am just more comfortable with it.


I agree on that, until I line up with the GF and I pull on her, a lot. The S4's down low torque makes it *feel* faster than the M3. Eh, an APR chill will only enhance that feeling, and the potentially change the outcome of a race between the two.
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      12-04-2010, 01:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudiS5 View Post
I agree on that, until I line up with the GF and I pull on her, a lot. The S4's down low torque makes it *feel* faster than the M3. Eh, an APR chill will only enhance that feeling, and the potentially change the outcome of a race between the two.
I am gonna go the APR route here pretty soon. Had an APR flash on my GTI and really brought the car to life. Its a very easy car to live with.
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      12-04-2010, 01:25 AM   #19
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I'm considering getting mods as well. The APR tune gets good reviews as the Stasis tune (allegedly done by APR anyway). Also plan to get a suspension upgrade with just a modest drop and some new wheels.
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      12-04-2010, 04:29 AM   #20
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Very nice. Needs a drop and new wheels. APR's chip too.
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      12-04-2010, 04:29 AM   #21
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Very nice. Needs a drop and new wheels. APR's chip too.
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      12-04-2010, 07:57 AM   #22
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S4 looks great. The interior looks better than the M3, especially those seats.
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