A car for all moods

Audi S4 As I stood admiring the Audi S4's badge on the front grille and its alloy wheels, my neighbour stepped up to his pride and joy, the A6, a stable mate. He glanced at the S4 and I could detect a hint of a smirk on his face. With all due respect, the 3-litre diesel A6 is indeed a plush car and provides all the comforts in the world, but the evil streak in me could not be held back. As Mr A6 busied himself on his phone, no doubt giving a lecture to some poor soul, I got into the S4 and roused up the sleeping monster. It woke up with a huge roar. The gentleman's conversation stopped abruptly, the grin vanished and confusion was all I could see on his face. Before he could ask me any questions, I exited the scene, leaving him staring at the S4 badge at the rear.

Don't be fooled by the low-profile Audi S4. The German car may come across as your day-to-day luxury sedan, but once you step on the gas, even for a brief period, you will realise there is a completely different monster under the hood. After all, it is powered by a smug 328 bhp, 3-litre V6 TFSI supercharged engine.

Of course, many may criticise Audi for giving the new version of this sedan only a few subtle changes rather than make it stand out on its own. The short answer for such views would be that Audi already has the RS portfolio for that. The S4 ensures that it can be driven as an everyday car but, fitted with an exceptional engine, it will make most other vehicles on the road read 'em and weep. One has to give Audi credit for the mirror-like aluminium finish on the rear view mirrors and the gorgeous quad exhaust tailpipes.

Audi S4 I sit back and let the V6 engine propel me on a roller coaster ride. The S4 loves the red line - it takes just five seconds to go from standstill to 100 kmph, and zooms past 150 kmph without blinking an eyelid. With so much torque and power, the S4's top speed is calibrated at 250 kmph. Most super powered sedans reach this speed, but to give you the sports car experience, they come with stiff suspensions, great only on a race track. Unlike them, the S4 provides a drive that is not bone-jarring. The sedan is at ease also in the madness of a rush-hour street. You can drive the car in the comfort mode in such conditions, the experience rendered almost pleasurable because Audi has reduced the weight of the steering wheel, making it a breeze to manoeuvre your way in bumper-to bumper situations.

Slot it into the dynamic mode, and the genteel sedan becomes a bad-boy mean machine. At the 100 kmph mark, the rpm needle flirts with the red line and steering weighs up slightly to become more responsive. The S4 is the king of cornering with its excellent tyre grip and the 4-wheel Quattro system that keeps it planted on the tarmac. Yes, it tends to understeer a bit, but you know you are in complete control and this adds a bit more fun into driving.

The interior has dashes of aluminium and grey dials that give the car a sporty look. The all-black seats come with Alcantra upholstery. The steering wheel is a 3-spoke contraption with an S4 badge. But apart from these changes, the dimensions of the cabin are identical to those of the marque's A4 sedan.

Now, the thing to ponder about is: does it make sense to shell out Rs 52.64 lakh for the Audi S4 when it is, in essence, a fire-breathing A4? In all honesty, it does make sense - provided you want to drive this on a daily basis. One must keep in mind that super cars usually end up compromising on space and comfort. The S4 can easily race with many higher priced cars and yet remain a family car. Also the versatile 7-speed S Tronic gear box lets you pick and choose how the car should run. And if only Mr A6 knew, with the S4 you need not ever have to worry about your car's changing moods.

Arup Das is features editor at AutoX
Audi S4
Engine: 2995 cc V6, supercharged TFSI
Power: 328 bhp at 5500-6500 rpm
Torque: 447 Nm @ 2900-5300 rpm
0-100 km: 5 seconds
Top Speed: 250 kmph
Price: Rs 52.64 lakh (Ex showroom, Delhi)