The 2019 Audi S4 is a driver’s car that doesn’t forget its passengers. Sure, there’s plenty of power, superb grip and remarkable driving dynamics. But there are also supportive and comfortable seats, fine cabin materials, generous passenger space, a lot of tech features and the option of a fabulous Bang & Olufsen audio system.
It’s this balance of ingredients that make the 2019 S4 such a delight and it’s something Audi manages to do with each of its S vehicles. There are more powerful Audi cars, just look at the company’s RS versions, but it’s the amount of power here, blended with a suspension that’s sporty, but not jarring, plus smart choices regarding content that contribute to the overall appeal.
What’s New for 2019?
A new Premium entry-level trim joins the existing Premium Plus and Prestige trims, with equipment levels adjusted across all three models. Audi has also changed its horsepower ratings. The 2018 version was rated to have 354 hp, but the 2019 S4 has 349 hp. No difference to the engine, nor the torque figure. See the 2019 Audi S4 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Well-considered amounts of power equipment, luxury touches and suspension tuning
- Typically polished Audi styling
What We Don’t
- Only the top trim level offers the most driver-assistance features
A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 endows the S4 with 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission (with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles) sends that drive to all four wheels.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Audi S4 premium compact sports sedan is available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium ($51,195) comes with 18-in alloy wheels, a sport suspension, a panoramic sunroof, full LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, keyless entry/ignition, front/rear parking sensors, selectable driving modes, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient LED cabin lighting, a self-dimming rearview mirror, forward-collision warning, leather/Alcantara (simulated suede) upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable/heated/massaging front seats with self-inflating bolster cushions, a garage door opener, a 7-in display for the infotainment system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth, an HD radio, a 10-speaker audio system, two SD card slots and two USB ports.
The Convenience package adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision mitigation, Advanced Key (with engine start/stop and trunk opening functions), driver’s-side memory settings, a 90-day satellite radio subscription and an alarm system with motion sensors.
The Premium Plus ($55,495) has the Advanced Key as standard, plus the Virtual Cockpit (a 12.3-in configurable driver information display), driver’s-side memory settings, Wi-Fi, navigation, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision mitigation, satellite radio, wireless charging and a phone signal booster.
The Prestige ($58,795) adds navigation, handwriting recognition for controlling the infotainment system, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist (a partially autonomous system that steers and brakes in stop/go conditions), active lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, road sign recognition, a top view camera system and a Bang & Olufsen audio upgrade.
The Premium Plus and Prestige trims are eligible for the S Sport package that includes a sport-tuned adaptive suspension and a sport rear differential.
Other options include ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 19-in wheels, Nappa leather upholstery and variable ratio steering.
Trunk space is 13 cu ft., enough for three sets of golf clubs.
Standard safety equipment includes stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags (front, front side, front knee, full-length side curtain). Rear side airbags are optional.
The S4 variant has not been crash-tested by any North American agencies, but the regular A4 won the full five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with four out of five stars apiece for front impact and side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) made the A4 a Top Safety Pick after it aced all the major crash test categories.
Behind the Wheel
The S4 is powerful enough to make the eyes widen and to get the blood pumping, but not so crazy that it becomes a liability. The chassis, all-wheel drive, tires and traction control system all contribute to channeling that power in the desired direction, making every drive a thrilling occasion.
In most conditions, the AWD system has 60% of power going to the rear wheels for a sporty feel. If circumstances dictate, up to 85% can be sent to either end within milliseconds. The optional sport differential can even split that torque between wheels on the same axle, lending more support to get around a corner.
Body control is superb, the car takes fast turns without leaning this way and that. Step on the brakes and the S4 decelerates in a confident, calm and composed manner. If there was one little gripe, it’s that the steering could be more tactile.
Everything is hushed and business like in the cabin, where only a muted bark from high engine revs might make a driver momentarily forget the high quality of the surrounding materials. Passenger space, meanwhile, is perfectly adequate.
The digital Virtual Cockpit screen replaces the usual driver’s gauges with a choice of data, such as navigation information, and requires little time and effort to learn how to use. It’s well worth having.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 — Slightly more powerful than the S4, with 400 hp, but otherwise not in the same league in terms of quality, equipment, handling or youth.
2019 Jaguar XE S — A supercharged V6 makes 340 hp. The rest of the car is similarly wonderful, except that the cabin isn’t at Audi’s level.
There’s a logic to jumping on the freshly introduced Premium trim and owning a brand-new S4 for a relatively reasonable price. But chances are that most buyers at this level are more demanding, so Prestige trim would be the ideal choice. Find an Audi S4 for sale