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Audi S4 B8: Buying guide and review (2009-2016)

Audi S4 B8: Buying guide and review (2009-2016) Classic and Performance Car
Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8
The Audi S4 range has sat at the top of the A4-range tree since its inception in the early 1990s, excluding the rather more hardcore RS4 models, which made an appearance in 1999. This made the S4 the much more affordable, and somewhat more sensible performance version, but it’s unfair to dismiss it altogether. 
 
If you like your performance car understated and very subtle looking, then any S4 is difficult to beat. Combining the Quattro running gear with powerful engines makes them the ultimate unassuming all-weather sports car. With the introduction of the B8 S4 in 2009, increased focus on fuel efficiency and emissions meant that motive power for the newcomer was provided by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 instead of the charismatic but ageing naturally aspirated V8 from the previous generation. 
 
Performance was up, emissions were down and in real world driving conditions there was not much else in the premium executive sector that could match it, especially when the roads got slippery.
 
As a second-hand purchase today the B8 S4 still presents itself as a convincing overall package, providing near Superman levels of performance while still dressed in Clark Kent’s diesel A4 clothes.
 
Which one to buy?
 
In the UK the S4 was made available with the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox as well as a six-speed manual. The S-tronic cars proved far more popular, and they do work well especially in stop start driving conditions. Not trying to be a driver’s car at the cost of all else, the manual gearbox is not essential here, and can actually be a bit baulky between changes. Body styles are a four-door saloon or estate, or Avant in Audi-speak. There is no convertible model now, as this is now being labelled S5.
 
Ride has been much improved over older S4’s, understeer through corners greatly reduced and off-the-line traction is as can be expected from a Quattro Audi. If you are looking for communicative steering or tail out antics away from roundabouts then this is not the car for you.
 
The new 3.0-litre V6 engine provides fewer aural thrills than the outgoing V8 but the supercharger gives it immediate responsiveness and despite the lower output of 334bhp it manages to outperform its older brother too.
 
Optional extras to look out for are the Bang & Olufsen sound system, keyless go and satellite navigation. The black edition optioned models came with a few unique trim items as well as a fair amount of extra standard kit such as 19-inch alloys, multi-function steering wheel and auto headlights and wipers. Well worth it when new and a desirable option in the second-hand market. Tech packs and comfort packs also offered extra spec at reduced prices, making them good value today. A sports differential was also offered as an option, although it’s quite unusual to find a car with one fitted.
 
Performance and refinement are exemplary and thanks to Audi’s evolutionary styling process the current generation will not look outdated in the years to come.
 
Performance and specs

Audi S4 Avant
Engine 2995cc 24valve DOHC V6 Supercharged
Power 328bhp @ 5500-6500rpm 
Torque 325lb.ft torque @ 2900-5300rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.1 seconds 
Fuel consumption 33.6mpg 
Gearbox Seven-speed S-Tronic/Six-speed manual
Insurance group 36
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2811mm
Length 4719mm
Width 1826mm
Height 1415mm
Curb weight 1825kg
 
Common problems


Being a modern Audi, reliability is expected and the S4 thankfully doesn’t disappoint. There were a few niggling issues on earlier cars, as well as a few recalls that were not only S4 specific. The most important thing to look for is evidence of a comprehensive service history, ensuring that there are no signs of abuse or badly repaired accident damage. These cars also hide their miles very well, so continuous proof of the mileage is very important.
 
• Two recalls affected the A4 range, which included some S4 cars. These issues related to an issue where engine oil could potentially enter the brake servo, causing braking issues.

• There was also an airbag recall, affecting post-2012 cars. This was to fix the issue of some airbags not deploying on impact. Check with Audi about your specific model to confirm whether it was affected, and if the work had been carried out.

• Engines are reliable with no recurring faults cropping up, some oil filler caps can develop leaks but other than that as long as the service intervals have been adhered to these cars can rack up some high mileages. 

• Carbon build-up in the intake manifold, which can cause decrease performance, appears to be an increasingly common issue affecting all FSI engines. Although not limited to the S4, a specialist can clean out the manifold for a small fee.

• There have been some complaints of coil packs failing, but this is not as prevalent in some of the other VW/Audi variants. If the car exhibits any signs of misfiring or hesitation, this is the first thing to check. 

• Some early cars could suffer from cooling system issues, caused by thermostats and water pumps prematurely failing. Most should have been replaced by now under warranty. 

• 2010 models with the navigation option can exhibit an annoying software bug where voice instructions do not match up with the route. This can be rectified by a software upgrade.
 
Model history
 
2009: B8 S4 released with 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine, offered with seven-speed S tronic and six-speed manual transmissions in both sour-door saloon and estate body styles.
2012: Facelifted model introduced, bringing in improved buttons and simplified MMI system. Flat-bottomed steering wheel and minor chrome trim changes for interior as well as new headlights and taillights completed the package
2015: B8 generation being phased out to make way for new turbocharged B9 based cars
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.audi.co.uk
• www.audiownersclub.co.uk – Audi owners club/resource
• www.unit20.org – Audi specialists
 
Summary and prices
 
Higher-mileage 2009 S4s can be found for around £14,000. Manual cars are rare, with the practical Avant models being even rarer. Nearly new S4s are just under the £38,000 mark, and can provide a decent saving over a brand new model. With a new S4 just around the corner however, there may be further discounts to be had over the next few months. The sweet spot is to be found with the two year old cars, which at £26,000 for a low mile S-tronic saloon, seem extremely good value.
 
Words: John Tallodi
Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8 Audi S4 B8
Last updated: 11th Feb 2016
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Audi S4
7995 45500 GBP
  • Audi S4

    £36,990 £36,990

    Colour SatNav, Comms Pack, Dual Climate Zones, Bluetooth, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps, Push Button Start, Bang & Olufsen, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Spoiler, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Child Locks, Curtain Airbags, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Quick-Clear Screen, Side Air Bags, Twin Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Privacy Glass, Remote Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Electric Mirrors, Electric Handbrake, Electric Windows, Auto-dip Rearview, CD Player, Front Centre Armrest, 4x4 GOOD SPEC CAR COMES WITH HEAD UP DISPLAY,TECH PACK,HEATED SEATS,DIAMOND STITCHED SEATS,LED HEAD LIGHTS,PARKING SENSORS,INTERIOR LIGHT PACK,B&O AUDIO,DYNAMIC RIDE SELECT,REMAINDER OF AUDI WARRANTY

    • Mileage: 5000 mi
    • Engine size: 2995
    For sale
    £36,990 £36,990
    Gravelwood Car Sales
  • AUDI S4 V8 CONVERTIBLE QUATTRO 4.2 V8- MANUAL - AUDI MMI - SAT NAV

    £13,995 £13,995

    With the hood down you have the best platform for listening to Audi's glorious 4.2 V8. It's an engine that never sounds hurried or manic, with a rich, melodious growl underlying each different squeeze of throttle. This example comes in Bright Silver with a half leather/half Alcantara Interior, Fully Service History, and a long list of extras which include :18'' Alloy Wheels, Audi MMI System with iPod/iPhone interface and SD card slot, Audi Navigation PLus, Front and Rear parking sensors, Quad Exhaust, Headlight washers, Electric Multi Lumbar seats - see more details below.

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 50000 mi
    For sale
    £13,995 £13,995
  • Audi S4 Avant ON SALE NOW

    £24,950 £24,950

    Audi S4 Avant presented in Phantom Black comes with a full history and the following specification; two tone leather, electric heated seats, multi-function flat bottom steering wheel, dual zone climate control, navigation, bluetooth phone connectivity, Bang & Olufsen sound, DAB radio with CD, cruise control, park assist front and rear, privacy glass, automatic dimming mirrors, automatic Xenon headlights, roof rails in black, black styling package, Revo stage 1 remap at 420BHP with dyno printout and 19" five arm rotor alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Estate Transmission: Automatic Mileage: 61,600 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2012 (62) Doors: 5 Engine Size: 3.0 Finished in: Phantom Black

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 61600 mi
    For sale
    £24,950 £24,950
  • Audi S4

    £7,995 £7,995

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Memory Seats, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Locking Wheel Nuts, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Power Steering, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Rear Wash/wipe, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Bose, CD Player, Radio, Alloy wheels, Must Be Seen, 4x4 All vehicles are located at GU315EA. All come with 12 Months MOT, Pre Delivery Service and 6 Month warranty. Low rate Finance with zero deposit available. Opening hours Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm. Sundays by appointment only. Please call 01730 821816 for further details.

    • Mileage: 102482 mi
    • Engine size: 4163
    For sale
    £7,995 £7,995
  • Audi S4

    £24,995 £24,995

    Powered Folding Mirrors, Half Leather, Climate Control, Parking Sensors, Bluetooth, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Cruise Control, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Child Locks, Isofix, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, Radio, 18'' Alloys, 4x4, Service history

    • Mileage: 20801 mi
    • Engine size: 2995
    For sale
    £24,995 £24,995