2014 Audi S4
2014 Audi S4. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Odometer at pick-up: 2,368 km
Odometer: 2,741 km (373 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 11.7 L/100 km
Costs: $72.78 (Gas)

Once again, we have secured the winner of a recent comparison test for a long-term test, and we couldn’t be more excited about this car. For the next couple months, we have the thrilling Audi S4 Sedan that took the Sport Sedan Comparison by a nose. Well, actually, as you may have noted from the pictures, this one is grey, while the S4 that took the honours in our comparison was blue, so it’s not the exact same vehicle that took those honours, but who are we to argue? And to top off our good fortune, this car has the six-speed manual transmission. I can barely contain my excitement. We know this is an excellent car to take a blast down twisty back roads, but how will it stand up to the rigours of family life and the daily commute? Those are the questions we seek to answer in this long-term test.

After taking delivery last week, the manual transmission is everything I remember from past drives of the S4: medium weight clutch, smooth on release, nicely packed gears, and a solid short shifter that slots home with a firm grabbiness that feels like you are locking a bank vault door. Yeah, these next few months are going to be good.

2014 Audi S42014 Audi S4
2014 Audi S4. Click image to enlarge

But before I get too deep into driving impressions, let me introduce our Monsoon Grey 2013 Audi S4 TFSI Premium, badged with V6T to indicate a supercharger paired with a vee-six engine configuration. Huh? Whatever, Audi likes Ts and they’re sticking with it for any forced-aspiration engines in their lineup.

The entire interior is assembled with precision, the driver’s seat feels tightly wrapped around you, and everything you touch feels right and moves with confidence-inspiring solidity. The look of the dash and console is conservative, but our two-tone Lunar Silver and Black leather interior is elegant and dramatic.

But let’s backtrack and start from the beginning. The 2013 Audi S4 starts at $53,000, the key ingredients being the supercharged 3.0L V6 and its 333 hp, standard Quattro all-wheel drive, and a host of aesthetic upgrades. One item that is listed as a new standard feature for 2013 is the 3-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel.

2014 Audi S42014 Audi S42014 Audi S4
2014 Audi S4. Click image to enlarge

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the artistry of this S4-badged sculpture with an ergonomic and tactile mastery that is one of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of grasping. It also features a handful (get it? Handful… steering wheel… oh, never mind) of vehicle system controls, for the audio, phone, trip info, etc. There are no paddle shifters because this car has a manual transmission – how awesome is that? Never have I been more pleased to not have paddle shifters.

“Fine” Nappa leather seats and door armrests are added to the list of standard equipment for 2013 (the leather is indeed fine), complementing LED daytime running lights and taillights, bi-xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels, three-zone auto climate, cruise control, auto-dimming heated mirrors, power-adjustable heated driver and passenger seats, and Audi ‘Concert’ radio (replacing ‘Symphony’ radio…) with satellite radio and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

Interior colour combinations, paint and wheels can be tailored to suit your preferences, and navigation, lighting, parking and safety options available to dress it up and put your Audi salesperson’s kids through college. Oh, and the Quattro sport rear differential is a $1,500 in Standard or Premium trim, a prerequisite if you value preternatural handling in dry, wet or snowy conditions. Audi Drive Select with adjustable damper, steering and powertrain settings is available only on Premium models paired with Quattro sport differential.

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