Audi A4 vs Audi S4: Performance, Tuning, and Reliability
Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.
We’ve written about the Audi S3 vs S4 and the Audi A3 vs A4, so we thought it was time to write about the Audi A4 vs S4. To start this article off, there isn’t very much of a difference between the two, but we will go more into that below. We’ll be covering price, size, performance, common problems, and more for both models to assist any readers in their purchasing decision. The Audi A4 and S4 are both very popular Audi compact executive cars. Let’s jump into it.
Audi A4 vs S4 – The Basics
The Audi A4 was first introduced in 1994 and is still in production today. Being introduced after the S4 can be a bit confusing, but we will touch on that in a second. Being around since 1994, the A4 is one of the longest-running sedans in Audi’s suite of sedans. Up until 2009, the Audi A4 had many body styles: four-door sedan, five-door Avant, and a 2-door cabriolet (convertible). However, after 2009, Audi spun off a new coupe and 5-door Sportback and relabeled it as an A5.
The Audi S4 was first introduced in 1991 and is still in production today. It may be confusing as to how the S4 was introduced before the A4, but it is because the first generation S4, or C4 S4, was not based on the A4. It was actually based on the Audi 100 instead. The S4 is now a high-performance variant of the very popular Audi A4. Since the S4s inception, there have been three different body styles: 4-door sedan, 5-door Avant, and a 2-door cabriolet (convertible).
Audi A4 Generations
- B5 A4 (1994-2001)
- B6 A4 (2001-2006)
- B7 A4 (2004-2009)
- B8/B8.5 A4 (2009-2016)
- B9 A4 (2016-2023)
Audi S4 Generations
- C4 S4 (1991-1994)
- B5 S4 (1997-2002)
- B6 S4 (2003-2005)
- B7 S4 (2005-2009)
- B8 S4 (2009-2016)
- B9 S4 (2017-Present)
Audi A4 vs S4 Price
New Audi A4 Price
In this portion, we will be going over the new A4 2022 model year prices. There are 2 different engine options for the A4: a 40 TFSI, and a 45 TFSI. A Premium A4 40 TFSI quattro® starts at $39,900, a Premium Plus A4 40 TFSI quattro® starts at $44,600, and lastly, a Prestige A4 40 TFSI quattro® starts at $50,200. While a Premium A4 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $42,000, a Premium Plus A4 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $46,200, and lastly, a Prestige A4 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $50,900. We feel it is important to also go over the Audi A4 Allroad as well. So, a Premium A4 allroad 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $45,500, a Premium Plus A4 allroad 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $49,700, and lastly, a Prestige A4 allroad 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $55,400.
New Audi S4 Price
In this portion, we will be going over the new S4 2022 model year prices. Unlike the A4, the S4 only has one engine, 3.0T V6 TFSI, but it is much more powerful. A Premium Audi S4 starts at $51,900, a Premium Plus Audi S4 starts at $55,500, and lastly, a Prestige Audi S4 starts at $60,200. Quattro®, Audi’s AWD system, and an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission come standard on a new S4.
Used Audi A4 & S4 Price’s
When it comes to used Audi A4s vs S4s, pricing is pretty much consistent with new prices. With that, we mean that since the S4 is the high-performance variant of the A4, it tends to be a bit more expensive. Since the A4 and S4 have been around for a while, we will be basing prices on the most popular generations. A used B8/B8.5 A4s price ranges from $8,500 – $28,998* with an average price overall of $18,749, depending on model year and mileage. A used B9 S4s price ranges from $33,995 – $65,998* with an average price overall of $49,995, depending on model year and mileage. The S4 is not only more expensive on the new side, but also on the used side. So, is the Audi S4 worth the extra money?
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General A4 & S4 Topics
A4 vs S4 Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Audi A4, 2022 Audi A4 Allroad, and the 2022 Audi S4.
Audi A4 vs S4
As can be seen in the table above, there aren’t very many differences when it comes to size. The reason we included the A4 allroad is that it is an A4 that taller and has more cargo space. Therefore, for those consumers that need more cargo space, we wanted to show that the allroad is a valuable option. The only other thing that sticks out is curbweight. The S4 has a different engine, 3.0T TFSI, that is heavier than the A4. Now let’s jump into the biggest difference between the Audi A4 vs S4, performance.
Audi A4 vs S4 Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 A4 and 2022 S4 performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
As stated above, the A4 has two different engine options: a 40 TFSI (2.0T TFSI), and a 45 TFSI (2.0T TFSI). Both engines can be found in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trims. Also, Quattro®, Audi’s AWD system, and a 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission come standard on both engines. The 40 TFSI quattro® engine puts out 201hp and 236 lb-ft of torque while the 45 TFSI quattro® engine puts out 261hp and 273lb-ft of torque. The 45 TFSI A4, is the same engine seen in the A4 allroad. The 40 TFSI engine gets 26mpg in the city and 34mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 29 with a 15.3gal fuel tank. Lastly, the 45 TFSI engine gets 24mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 27 with a 15.3gal fuel tank.
A 2022 Audi S4 features a 3.0T TFSI quattro® engine that puts out 349hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in three different trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. It has a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. Quattro®, Audi’s AWD system, and an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission come standard on this S4 engine. The 3.0T TFSI engine gets 21mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway for a combined mpg of 24 with a 15.3gal fuel tank.
A4 & S4 Reliability and Common Problems
Is the Audi A4 reliable? The Audi A4s reliability rating is 3.5 out of 5 according to RepairPal. This puts the Audi A4s reliability in the middle of the pack, at 14th out of 31 luxury midsize cars. If you are in the market for a used Audi A4, we would advise avoiding 2009-2014 model years. Annual maintenance costs are about $739, which is the average annual ownership costs for all luxury midsize cars.
Common problems seen in A4s are engine misfires due to premature ignition coil or spark plug failure, PCV valve failure, HPFP (high-pressure fuel pump) failure, excessive oil usage (2011), faulty pistons (2012), and more. Although this seems like a long list of common problems, we’ve seen MANY A4s last well over 200,000 miles or more. See below for specific A4 generation common problem posts we have written.
The 7 Most Common Audi A4 B5 Engine Problems
The 7 Most Common B7 Audi A4 Engine Problems
The 5 Most Common Audi A4 B8 Problems
The 6 Most Common Audi A4 B9 Engine Problems
Is the Audi S4 reliable? Unlike the A4s average reliability, the S4’s reliability is below average. RepairPal has rated the S4s reliability 2 out of 5 which is below the average 3.5 out of 5 luxury midsize car reliability rating. This puts the S4 27th out of 31 luxury midsize cars, which isn’t great. If you are in the market for a used Audi S4, we would advise avoiding 2015-2017odel years that should be avoided are 2006-2008, 2010-2012, and 2015-2017. The average annual maintenance of an Audi S4 is $1,171, which is way above the average luxury midsize cars of $739.
Common problems that are seen in S4 are as followed: carbon build-up, premature water pump or thermostat failure, PCV valve failure, premature fuel injector failure, premature ignition coil or speak plug failure, and deteriorating suspension bushings. If maintained properly, an S4 can last up to 150,000, but issues can arise around 100,000 miles if preventative maintenance isn’t performed. See below for specific S4 generation common problem posts we have written.
The 7 Most Common Audi B5 S4 Engine Problems
The 7 Most Common Audi B7 S4 Engine Problems
Audi B8 S4 Common Engine Problems & Reliability Issues
The 5 Most Common Audi B9 S4 Problems
A4 vs S4 – Which is Better?
Now when it comes to which model is better, this is a tough question to answer. The reason being is every consumer has different vehicle needs or lifestyles. Some may want a sportier, more powerful vehicle, such as the S4. Others may be looking for a vehicle that will fit their family, get great gas mileage, and provide the most value for their dollar, such as the A4. In our personal opinion, we would choose the S4, but that is because we love the sport look and love more power. Both have equal 5-star safety ratings. Both have similar tech and safety features. The S4 has better handling and brakes, with a more powerful engine.
Before choosing which is best for you, go down to your local Audi dealer or used lot to get a test drive with both. Nothing will help more than getting behind the wheel and seeing them both in person.
Audi A4 vs S4 Conclusion
In conclusion, we hope the information above assists anyone looking to go with either model. Making a big purchase, such as a luxury vehicle, is no small feat, so we hope this article helps you get over the fence on one or the other. In short, the S4 is sportier and more powerful, while the A4 provides the biggest bang-for-your-buck. If you are needing more cargo space, the A4 allroad is also a viable option. If you are a consumer that has experience with either vehicle, then please provide your input in the comments below. This will assist future readers in their own purchasing journeys.