S4 - 1000 Mile Mini Review


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Nov 9, 2011
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So here's a short review of my car after the first 1000 miles. These are purely my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

I've been inching my way up the performance ladder over the last 10 years or so. Here's how I got to the S4: Peugeot 206 XSi -> SEAT Leon Cupra (MK1) -> VW Jetta 2.0 TDi -> Audi A4 2.0T FSI (B7 - not quattro, Shark Stage 1 remap) -> S4.

What was the spec?
- S4 saloon in Phantom Black, Pearl Effect
- Audi Drive Select
- Quattro sports differential
- Hill Hold Assist
- Black styling pack
- 3 spoke flat bottom steering wheel
- Parking system plus
- Year 4 warranty

You didn't spec damper control?
Nope. I've got half an eye on keeping this car for the long term and decided against it as a potentially expensive thing to repair in future. I know you could say the same about most of the car but this was an easy one to de-spec. For anyone wondering if this is a bad idea I can say I have no problem at all with the standard suspension. It's comfortable (more than my S Line B7 was) yet does the job in the corners.

Where did you buy it from?
Reading Audi. I did quotes on carwow with Maidstone Audi being the best price. I then emailed the local dealers to see if they were interested. One said "no thanks". One didn't reply. Reading Audi came close enough to be worth doing. Maidstone is 100 miles from me, Reading Audi is 1.8 miles from my office.

So what do I think of it overall?
Love it. I think it's a great all rounder. It's fast, it has 4 doors and a big boot so I can still do the Dad taxi act. The engine has great performance and plenty of future potential should I wish to explore that later. On the economy front, I don't think the mpg is at all unreasonable for what you get. My current average over the first 1000 miles is 24.7 mpg. I've seen 31-33mpg on my run into work in the mornings.

I would agree with Warren's comment on the A5/S5 forum about the engine feeling lazy at times. From a standing start I find the car can pile on the speed impressively, you get to 70mph in no time. :) On the move it does pick up quickly but it just doesn't feel punchy. Not in the same way my turbo B7 did. This may just be because the V6/supercharger combo is more linear than the boooooost nature of a turbo, especially a remapped one.

What do you like?
The engine and S-Tronic is a great combo. And the little things: DAB radio, SD card slot and Xenons!

What don't you like?
Stop/start. I gave it a fair shot but it's a bit annoying. Sometimes it works fine and doesn't intrude. Other times I wonder what it's up to. For example, if I brake to a stop at the lights the engine turns off, if I put the hand brake on the engine restarts. Why?!

The wipers. Don't laugh. They work fine but I just find the arms look a bit feeble and cr*p, like something from the bottom of the parts bin. My B7 had meaty wiper arms.

The design of the back of the saloon, the Avant looks better at the back.

Anything else?
Well, I've had real problems adjusting my seat to suit me. I just cannot seem to get it 100% comfy which is amazing considering the many ways you can adjust it. Comparing with our other car I've decided what it seems to be is that if I sit at the distance I would like to be from the pedals, the steering wheel is then too close (with the wheel adjusted right back). This is not solvable as my arms and legs are fixed lengths. For reference I am 5' 9" and wear trousers with 30" legs. What has helped a lot is the accidental discovery you can twist the seat control to alter the pitch of the seat. Mine seemed to be sloping downwards, tipping me out of the seat which wasn't helping.

This is something that I didn't encounter on any of the test drives I took but I'm guessing the excitement and adrenaline covered the issue. I guess this is one reason to ask for an extended test drive!

How do you find S-Tronic?
Again this is something I really like. It makes traffic a lot easier, removing the clutch work of stop/start traffic. My car is used for commuting only so this is a big bonus for me. Also being brutally honest, I'm a bit cr*p at changing gear so it flatters the idiot in me. I think now the car is beyond 1000 miles I'll be trying the paddles a bit more for those situations where I know I want to overtake stuff. I do find the gearbox makes the very occasional clunk at low speeds, which seems to be in keeping with what other people have found.

And hill hold assist?
I'll be honest I specced this because it was £65 and I didn't know if I'd need it but for the money it hardly seemed worth debating. I actually use it a lot but not for hills! In stop/start traffic it applies the brakes once you come to a stop which I find is what I use it for the most.

What have you done to the car?
So far just filled it up with petrol and had it professionally detailed. I chose CQuartz Finest to provide some protection, it has a 2 year warranty.

And this is what happens when it rains.


And finally, some photos.





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The stop/start with an auto-box is strange I noticed when I got a rental car. If you sit at the lights and put it into park, it starts the engine :-S Same as on a Merc too. With a manual it doesn't do this. I actually really like the stop/start in mine. It is nice and quiet and tranquil when waiting for 5-10 mins every morning in no moving traffic.
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Nice review +1 for hill hold assist (I'm loving this £65 option)
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Nice review, don't have hill hold and find the car is fine on hills and won't roll back. I find in D the car does seem lazy but put her in S and that's that problem sorted.
Can't help with the comfort issue, it may just be because you have short legs and long arms!
Ooh you cheeky Monkeys! :) I don't have long arms. I'm obviously just uniquely unsuited to the seat. :) Will keep messing with it. Never had this issue in any car. Adjusting for pedal reach is about all I've ever done. Ho hum.
It's ok, my wife says that I'm unique and I get the impression that it's not a compliment!
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Great review 9/10! - have you really only just hit 1k !? :) Im on 3.5k

I'm 5'10" (just) and also having real trouble finding a good seating position I like.

Generally I like the engine and box (don't tell Warren) but dislike when i'm doing 50ish and want some power,
it drops from 7th - 4th and makes such an almighty roar I tent to lift, at which point it seems to change back up to 6 or 7.
I'm trying to limit the travel distance on the pedal, as ideally I want it to go for 5th...maybe its just me!

Fully agree with the 'doesn't feel punchy' comment, would be nice to have that immediate punch.

I really want the car to sound better, been looking into exhausts and plan to remove the fuse from the soundaktor to
see how it sounds without the fake soundtrack


Ps - yes Avant's do look better!

Pps - I use the Road trip app and have averaged 24.5 mpg over 3.5k miles - best = 27, worst 22
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Hey Keef,
I hope you're well? Yep just cracked the 1000. You can see the date in the photo above. I collected the car on 9th June so it's taken me just shy of 3 months to do! :) I had planned on some longer runs to do it quicker but due to work and family commitments it never happened. Some weeks I only do 66 miles! I realise I'm merrily paying for a huge chunk of depreciation but I figure this is my attempt at a non sensible car so I don't worry about it.

I reckon the Shark Performance stage 1 remap would sort the punch issues on the car. It did wonders for my B7 and made it feel like you thought it should have been from the factory. You can see what I had to say about the B7 here:

I won't be doing any modding whilst in warranty though. This is too expensive a car to have a warranty claim declined.

Keep us posted if you do go for an exhaust. Would be interesting to hear what the soundtrack is like.
Good write-up! The only thing i disagree with is your thoughts regarding the rear profile. I think what spoils the rear of the S4 saloon is the shape of the valance, and plus the car itself needs to sit a bit lower. To me the rear of the avant just looks very plain, sorry guy's we can't all be the same I guess - it looks great from the side though. :icon thumright:
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This is a really good write up, really well written and informative for people who are thinking of buying.

My thoughts -

Sports diff/damper control - the bills worry me too, but the system is bordering on witchcraft. Very weird to begin with, but spot on. Wouldn't ant to be without it.

Keefs almighty roar... I know what you mean. But I like it... wish it was louder! There is a throttle position that will drop you to 5th and give you a bit more power, but in 4th you need the revs to get the power. That's the difference between a supercharger and turbo I suppose. I'm not quite in your camp regarding the 'lack of power' feeling, just put your foot down and then end up in the boot of the car in front! I think that's more my lack of powerful car experience though, my last car had 130bhp (mapped to 160) so literally half the power.
Seats - I'm 5.10 and very happy with the seats, only thing I change is the lumbar support on a long trip... that is adjusted depending on memory positions/key too... which I didn't realise.
Saloon/Avant rears - I think the saloon looks better with the raised boot bit, but the profile of the avant is spot on, as well as the front with the roof bar things. Horses for courses though really.

Once again scotty, well written.
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Great review I've nearly done 4000 miles now and really love the car.
I have the adjustable dampers and like the comfort and sport setting choices I can almost get the seat comfy (6 feet tall) but keep tweaking luckily I can save a good setting then have a fiddle without losing a reference.
No issues with punchiness of performance - it is relatively high performance and will change down a couple of gears if you wellie it I think this is what it's supposed to do ;-) I like the ability to quietly cruise around in comfort when not in the mood ! I still look forward to driving it and it never fails to impress.
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Thanks for all the comments. It's great to see what everyone thinks and glad we don't all agree, it'd be no fun if we did. :)

To clarify on the performance, I'm not disappointed with the car, I think it's plenty fast enough. I just think there is hidden potential in the mid range that would give it the "punchiness" I talk about. I imagine razza1's Stage 2 S4 is punchy at any speed. :)

I did spec sports diff, just not damper control. There was a secondary reason to not speccing damper control, I was trying to keep the options list short! I know it is not an expensive option but I had to stop somewhere. The car was already well beyond what I intended to spend on my next car so I had to try and keep a lid on it. A short options list was a must.

I should have added one more point to the review, so here it is: have you done anything stupid?
Yes! I grounded the car whilst trying to park it half-and-half on the kerb. Fortunately I've scuffed the sump guard and stopped as soon as I heard a crunch. Still it made my heart sink, especially as I'm so OCD about my cars. :)
I curbed my right front wheel on the edge and took a chunk out of the anti-curbing strip on the tyre while turing into a tight space next to a high curb.

......2 weeks after purchase. Still wasn't 100% sure on the width of the car or the swing in. The loud "bang" really papped me up, I was happy to find out it was only curbing and not a buckle in the alloy.

Still not got around to having it repaired, get that much brake dust on the front wheels that I can't see it at the moment ;)
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I got in the car a few months or so ago and heard a crack. My rear pocket on my trousers had cracked in half(!) as I went to get in the car and the half button still attached scraped down the seat for a few cm as I put my **** in it. Couldn't believe it. Too scared to ask anyone how much it'll cost to fix!
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