Depreciation Station: 2009-'15 Audi A4 and S4


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Looking for a deal on a mid-sized, performance-tuned German sedan? Before you jump to the usual suspects, check out the Audi A4. If you have a little extra cash, zero in on its sportier sibling, the S4.

“The S4 is a nice alternative to an M3,” says Hugh Bate, president of Chariots of Palm Beach. “It’s right there between a 335i and an M3 for performance.”

The latest version of the A4 appeared for 2009, and it’s still in production. That means for less than $10,000, you can drive something that looks like a current Audi. And, as Hugh notes, these smaller Audis look like the bigger ones, so you can have some premium curb appeal for a fair price.

Of course, these Audis are more than just their looks–which some people can find a bit conservative. The interiors feel upscale, and few manufacturers can match the touch of Audi’s switchgear.

Then there’s Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive setup. The base A4s came with only front-wheel drive, leaving the rest–including the S4 models–equipped with quattro.

If you’re looking for a solid kick in the pants, check out one of those S4 sedans. They came stateside starting with the 2010 model year and can best be described as beefed-up A4s.

Where the base A4 received the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine found in countless Volkswagen and Audi products, the S4 came with a supercharged V6. Audi shelved the V8 used in the previous S4, but less displacement doesn’t mean less fun. It offers practically the same amount of horsepower and even more torque.

The supercharged V6 sends its 333 horsepower and 325 ft.-lbs. of torque through a six-speed manual or seven-speed, twin-clutch transmission. The rest of the S4 comes nicely equipped, sporting a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system, eight-way power sport seats, and meaty wheels and tires.

The driving experience? Call it a great daily driver that delivers good fuel economy and isn’t going to suffer a meltdown if the weather turns bad.

That performance comes with a bit of a premium, though. Although a late-model A4 starts below that $10,000 threshold, budget at least $25,000 for an S4. “$30K gets you a nice ’10 S4,” Hugh adds. A similar M3 will cost a few bucks more and won’t offer all-wheel drive or that distinctive experience.

CARE & FEEDING

Hugh Bate of Chariots of Palm Beach has sold new and used Audis for many years.

“The A4 cars tend to be pretty well put together,” Hugh says. Small electronic items like power windows have generally been weak spots on later-model Audis, but he says they’re getting better. Plus, the smaller Audis tend to have fewer issues than their upmarket, gadget-filled siblings.

The supercharged V6 engines found in the S4 models are aging well. Previously, the top-of-the-line A4 had a V8–a glorious engine–but those models are a bit rare.

The quattro all-wheel-drive systems are marching along steadily, too.

The dual-clutch transmissions are also running smoothly as the miles rack up. What’s a dual-clutch transmission? Even though the interior only features two pedals, the transmission itself operates more like a manual transmission. A pair of clutch discs stacked together allows the transmission to make lightning-quick shifts–quicker than any mere mortal could manage.

Not fast enough? Neuspeed and APR both offer drivetrain, suspension and brake upgrades for both the A4 and S4.

SOURCES

APR
(800) 680-7921
goapr.com

Chariots of Palm Beach
(561) 640-1090
chariotsofpb.com

Neuspeed
(800) 423-3623
neuspeed.com


This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

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Comments
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nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
12/8/18 8:36 p.m.
dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/11/18 7:11 a.m.

The older ones with the 1.8 turbo can be had for way under 10k and the 1.8 can be modified to some darn good HP numbers.

joeg1982
joeg1982 New Reader
12/12/18 1:47 p.m.

Heavy car--even with the 1.8.

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