With hot competition performance mid-size luxury sedan ranks, the 2011 Audi S4 has some of the toughest competition around, but manages to come away with solid place among the best driver's cars on the market. MotorAuthority rates the 2011 Audi S4 8 out of 10 overall.
It doesn't offer the high-revving, high-strung V-8 of the BMW M3 or even the beastly baritone V-8 of the C63 AMG, but the 2011 S4 does offer a unique solution: a supercharged, 333-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6. That's well short of the 400-plus figures posted by the competition, but the S4 doesn't care: its 4.9-second 0-60 mph times are comparable, if slightly slower, and its top speed still has to be electronically limited to 155 mph, just like the others.
But what's it like behind the wheel? With quattro all-wheel drive as standard equipment, the S4 offers something the others don't: ready grip from a stop and all-season capability. That grip is likewise to be found in the corners, with an engaging chassis that's controllable--to a degree--through the Audi Drive Select system, but it does have one weakness. It's a weakness that's increasingly common in all cars, including the high-performance sedan segment: artificial-feeling power steering. Too much unnecessary and un-feeling heft is added into the system, but it beats the over-boosted, floaty, very light alternative.
When you're not carving canyons or the weekend HPDE track, the Audi S4 is a surprisingly docile companion, with all the luxury amenities you'd expect from the A4 it's based on--with a slightly sportier look, of course. The materials are almost all high-quality, though a few knobs and buttons could use some refinement--perhaps.
Unique elements for the S4's interior include a black headliner, aluminum trim, a unique steering wheel, and a choice of walnut, gray birch, or woven stainless steel for the console and door trim.
For the complete breakdown of the 2011 Audi S4 and its A4 basis, read the full review at TheCarConnection.