With an upcoming major redesign that will incorporate Audi’s new “big-nose” styling for 2006, the 2005 S4 sedan and Avant (wagon) remain virtually unchanged for 2005. A new cabriolet has been introduced for 2005, which is covered in a separate section.

The V8 version of the popular A4, the S4’s 4.2-litre engine turns out 340 hp and is rated zero to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. Unlike the A4, the S4 also features a sport suspension, including stiffer shocks and springs, stronger front and rear stabilizer bars, and a 30 mm lower suspension height. Both the sedan and wagon feature Audi’s signature Quattro all-wheel-drive.

The sedan and Avant each come in a single trim line and are similarly-equipped, including a six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual shift mode is optional), anti-lock brakes with front and rear ventilated discs, 18-inch forged alloy wheels with high-performance tires, self-levelling Bi-Xenon headlamps with high-pressure washers, heated windshield washer nozzles, front and rear fog lamps, automatic dual-zone climate control, power windows with one-touch on all, cruise control, heated power mirrors, twelve-way power Recaro sport seats with Nappa leather interior, 60/40 folding rear seat, and six-CD/cassette stereo with ten speakers. The Avant also comes with roof rails.

The S4 is typical Audi: superb fit-and-finish, razor-sharp handling, long-term comfortable seats and attention to detail everywhere. The V8 increases the charm; the company claims that the S4 is the only car in its class with V8 power and its all-wheel-drive. The Avant takes it a step further, offering the same sporting character with the practicality of a cargo-hauler. The V8 is a real treat, offering robust but refined power and a suspension that can take it accurately in any direction you wish to go. Still, it’s a $22,010 jump from the V6 A4 to the V8 S4 sedan, and both have the Quattro system; expect only the serious enthusiasts to be moving up. The S4 gains the new “corporate face” large grille for 2006; if it’s not to your liking, this is your last chance for the older style.

The S4 is built in Ingolstadt, Germany.

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