2018 Audi S4 First Drive: Just Right, Yet Again

– Palm Springs, California

There is a long stretch of road in the mountains outside of Palm Springs where the 2018 Audi S4 really shines. Its new, turbocharged engine takes deep breaths of air and sends a wallop of power to all four wheels. The S4 is flat and agile, ascending and descending the mountain roads with an urgency that begs you: Just. Keep. Going.

It is an impressive driver’s car, this S4. But the big reason to love is that it isn’t just an enthusiast’s tool. The sedan strikes a wonderful balance between aggression and comfort; to use the tired Goldilocks analogy, the S4 is not too hot, but not too cold. It offers tremendous fun on the right road, but buttons up and puts on a tie for commuting and general city driving. Nothing about that formula is upset with this new 2018 model – it’s still a great luxury/sport sedan, packed with Audi’s latest arsenal of performance chops and premium tech.

2018 Audi S4: First Drive
2018 Audi S4: First Drive
2018 Audi S4: First Drive
2018 Audi S4: First Drive

If you like the handsome new lines of Audi’s fifth-generation A4, you’ll find nothing to complain about here. In fact, the S4 only offers subtle design tweaks to differentiate itself from lesser models, the most notable of which are the larger air intakes that bookend each side of the front fascia. A reshaped rear bumper houses quad exhaust outlets out back. And from the profile, only those red brake calipers – part of the $2,500 S Sport package – are the dead giveaway this isn’t just a top-trim A4.

 

 

There’s a similar strategy inside the cabin, where A4 becomes S4 ...