2015 Audi S4

What's new for 2015? Largely unchanged, the 2015 S4 welcomes a special-edition Nogaro Blue package into the fold.

Would you believe that this is the sixth year of production for the current-generation Audi S4? That's what subtle styling will do for you. Eschewing trendy swoops and creases, the S4's designers didn't stray far from the regular A4 sedan's formula, adding only special wheels, quad tailpipes, silver mirror housings and a gray grille. As a result, the 2015 Audi S4 has a timeless elegance to it, accented by up-to-date LED lighting elements but fundamentally defined by class and restraint. Not everyone wants to advertise their car's performance potential to the world, and in this regard the aging S4 is still a breath of fresh air.

Speaking of performance, the S4's sublime supercharged V6 hasn't aged a day. When it debuted, the S4 was slightly quicker than its main rival, the BMW 335i, and that continues to be the case six years later. We initially gave the all-wheel-drive S4 a slight edge in handling, too -- particularly with the optional sport differential aboard -- and that margin has actually widened with the softening of the latest 3 Series. As for available transmissions, the S4's gratifying six-speed manual shifter can be swapped out for Audi's seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, a.k.a. S tronic, a nearly flawless gearbox that's one of the best in the business at any price.

Exterior Highlights
High-performance version of the A4 luxury sedan, available in a single Premium Plus trim level

The 2015 Audi S4 is a high-performance version of the A4 luxury sedan. It's offered in a single Premium Plus trim level, with an available Prestige package that adds a number of high-end features.

The Premium Plus includes 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, selectable drive modes (Audi drive select), a sunroof, automatic xenon headlights with washers, foglights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, quad exhaust tips, auto-dimming mirrors with exterior heating, keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front sport seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, leather and simulated-suede upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, aluminum interior accents, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a dash-mounted MMI electronics controller with a 6.5-inch display screen and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an SD card slot, iPod integration and satellite radio.

The Prestige package adds adaptive headlights, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and a Technology package, which includes a color driver information center, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitoring system, a navigation system, an upgraded version of MMI with controls mounted on the center console, a 7-inch display screen, voice controls, Bluetooth audio connectivity and Audi Connect telematics with mobile WiFi hotspot capability, Google Earth map data and Google Voice local search.

The upgraded stereo and the Technology package are offered as stand-alone options on the Premium Plus. Available exclusively on Prestige-equipped S4s is the Driver Assist package, which adds adaptive cruise control and adaptive steering.

Optional on both Premium Plus and Prestige are a High Gloss Black package (19-inch dark gray wheels, gloss-black exterior trim and mirror housings in body-color paint instead of the standard silver), a torque-vectoring sport rear differential, adaptive dampers (with adjustable settings via drive select), premium leather upholstery and rear side airbags.

The special-edition Nogaro Blue package includes eponymous paint, unique 19-inch wheels, aluminum inlays from the Euro-model RS 4 and sport seats with blue simulated-suede inserts.

Stylish cabins, excellent material quality, metallic accents, form-fitting sport seats, MMI infotainment features, generous space in front and rear seats

Audi's enviable brand image is due in part to its stylish, sumptuously trimmed cabins, and the S4's innards certainly don't disappoint. Materials quality is generally excellent, and the understated dashboard design with its tasteful metallic accents will look just as classy a decade from now as it does today. Compared to the A4, the S4 adds form-fitting sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and gray-faced instruments, subtly signaling its sporting intentions without making a fuss about it.

Infotainment features are controlled via Audi's MMI, which consists of a controller knob and related buttons that control menus on a central screen. Overall, it's an effective system. Interior versatility is an S4 strength. Drivers of all sizes should have no difficulty getting comfortable behind the wheel, while four adults can ride comfortably on long trips. That's not a given for sedans in this size class. Trunk capacity is average at 12.4 cubic feet, but the rear seatbacks fold flat, opening up a claimed 34 cubes behind the first row.

The 2015 Audi S4 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill start assist, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear seat side airbags are optional. The Technology package adds a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system. Prestige models include the Technology package and are eligible for the Driver Assist package, which includes adaptive cruise control with full-stop capability and a forward collision mitigation system that provides full automatic braking under 19 mph.

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