Thursday, April 28, 2011

Audi S4 V8 - the perfect mix

I'm a fan of cars with power. When I say power, I don't mean dragsters or Nascar cars, I mean usable real world power. The ability to merge on to the freeway in any fashion, no matter how reckless. The ability to overtake lesser and slower vehicles in short distances. The ability to move swiftly through canyons and backroads with limitless speed. The ability to express what your mind says the car should do. Not just straight line horsepower but the power to make things happen. To find a car that has this power is not as easy as one may think. It takes a delicate balance of sophistication, competence, traction, and of course a powerplant that pulls this sophisticated jack-of-all-trades rocket around.

Enter the Audi S4 V8. The previous generation used a 2.7L V6 engine with 2 turbos force feeding air in to the cylinders for power delivery. This was a decent combination and one that tuners used to great success as well as Quattro GMbH in the original RS4 Avant with 380hp. After a while though, it seems that these engines start needing affection. Affection many didn't want to pay for, given the design was so tight in the engine bay that it necessitates major work to change a turbo. Audi saw the need and answered with the V8 from the S8 horseshoed in the small engine bay of the A4, a car built to house a 4 cylinder or V6.

Combine the engine with the Quattro all wheel drive system and all of a sudden you have a car that goes anywhere and does anything. Kinda like a Subaru, except this car was made when Subaru was just starting to import the WRX and let's face it. Just because they are all wheel drive and sporty doesn't mean they are comparable. One's an economy car with a quick motor, the other an entry level mid-luxury sedan with competence and a pedigree established long before Subaru was earning WRC trophies.

The car is quick, very quick. The engine sings a great tune when you want it to as well. Drive it like Granny, and it's happy as a fly on a turd but use the pedal on the right and it's as eager to please as your new puppy. You know, the one that pees on the floor in excitement. It's more composed at speed than the Queen Mother herself, but the feedback almost speaks to you.

What's amazing is how easy this car is to drive fast. It inspires confidence like few cars on the road. It begs you to brake late and slam the gas pedal. Forget the old adage from Jackie Stewart that "smooth is fast". That was for guys with low power and no grip. No Jackie, Quattro with a V8 is fast.

Is this the fastest car I've driven, no. Not by a long shot. Is it the best track car. Nope. Is this the car that I would choose to drive everyday knowing that it can handle every weather condition and any task I ask it to do. Yep. There is a small list of cars I would drive every day and this is on there.

A special thanks to my brother. This is his car and it needs a brake job so I swapped him with a loaner car from my work and drove this. I promise, I didn't brake any speed limits. In Germany......

1 comment:

  1. Great Job! You are right that the S4 is one of the best sports sedans ever made. It handles and corners with confidence and feels like it is made from a single piece of billet aluminum.

    Keep up the good work..