2013 Audi S4 | Model Review | Model Specs
The Audi S4 has been around for a while and it’s gone through several iterations and changes over the years.
One of the most appealing generations is referred to as the “B8.5” and it has aged gracefully. With depreciation placing these at an attractive price point I thought it was a good time to do a review on a 2013 Audi S4.
When I was younger my friend Richard had an S4. Back in those days they came with a V8 and were sort of few and far between. Richard has always been sort of the voice of car wisdom to me and when I got older I took what he said to heart.
He told me that car was one of the best handling cars he’s ever owned and his garage was filled with some very impressive machines.
Among his list of amazing vehicles that he often machined his own performance parts for was a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Ducati 916. So, as you can imagine, his opinion somewhat mattered to me.
This review is somewhat guided by that voice, but also from experience as I’ve spent an extensive amount of time in the seat of the 2013 Audi S4.
Is the 2013 Audi S4 a good car? Well, yes and no, but mostly yes. While that may be confusing I will explain.
As far as car reviews go you can view my opinion on the current state of review in my post: Are Car Reviews Fake? This is simply my opinion based on driving the car and it is completely unfiltered. Proceed accordingly.
2013 Audi S4 Specs:
- Engine: 3.0-Liter Supercharged V6
- Drivetrain: Front engine all-wheel-drive
- Transmission: “DSG” Dual-clutch 7-Speed
- Horsepower: 333 hp @ 5,500 RPM
- Torque: 324 lb-ft
- 0-60 mph: ~4.4 seconds
- MPG: 18 City/28 Hwy
- Fair Market Value: $22,000 – $30,000
- Average Rating: 8.5/10
2013 Audi S4 Background
The Audi S4 has a pretty easy to follow family tree. The car was first produced as a performance variant of the Audi 100 and hit the streets in 1991. After 1997 all S4’s were based on the Audi A4 sedan/estate platform.
First generation Audi S4’s came with Audi’s amazing 2.5-Liter 5-cylinder motor. Later in its life, the S4 received a 4.2-Liter V8 and was the first compact executive car to ever receive one. In 2009 the Audi S4 received a supercharged 3.0-Liter V6 and when it received an upgraded exterior and interior in 2013 it became known as the B8.5.
It has always run with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system which is the best in the industry hands down.
The current generation of Audi S4’s (2017+) received a turbocharged 3.0-Liter V6 and went through a comprehensive redesign. The result left the previous generations models a little lackluster feeling and as such depreciation will now allow you to scoop one of these cars up anywhere between $22,000 and $30,000 depending on options.
2013 Audi S4 Interior and Cabin
2013 Audi S4 Interior Highlights:
- Comfortable sport bucket seats
- High-quality materials throughout
- Great field of view
- Analog gauge cluster
- Simple to read dashboard
- Flat-bottom steering wheel
- Bang and Olufsen sound system
The Audi S4 sort of has the perfect amount of luxury technology. The test vehicle is a prestige model and comes with all available options as well as the upgraded Napa Leather in place of the more common Alcantara. It’s a great upgrade that adds a lot of comfort to the driver and passengers.
Walk up to the door and open the handle, the keyless entry detects the key in your pocket and unlocks the door before you can get it open.
Slide into the sports seat and feel it hug you. Shut the door and you will hear an ultra-satisfying “thud” that feels high-end. The flat bottom sport steering wheel looks as badass as it feels in your hands.
The carbon fiber inlay is real carbon fiber, the aluminum accents are real aluminum, the leather is real leather, and you can tell as you run your hands across every surface of the car. You now understand why the car had that $65,000 sticker when it was new.
Even today the cabin has aged gracefully and while it may not be as extreme as the newer models it’s not too far off from the most luxurious trim options of some other vehicles even today.
Audi’s infotainment system (MMI) is a little clunky and difficult at first, but you get used to turning the knobs the opposite way and eventually, it becomes second nature.
The screen might seem small, but it’s actually just because it’s not a 55-inch flat screen like every car has today.
As far as the stereo goes, it’s almost unmatched and you certainly will not find a better system in a car in this price range. Period.
The knobs are easy to use because the whole car sort of tilts the controls toward the driver, making it a pleasant experience, however, a “next track” button would be nice.
One of my favorite features outside of the flat bottom steering wheel, is the gray plated analog gauge cluster. Audi has moved to an impressive all-digital display, but the analog dashboards remain my favorite.
The rectangle digital screen in the middle is clear and presents your speed and other info in perfect, easy-to-read fashion allowing you to keep the analogs for a classic look.
Driving the 2013 Audi S4:
Here’s why I love it:
- Supercharge whine all day
- Brutal acceleration
- Satisfying exhaust notes
- Fantastic shifting in the DSG
- Comfortable but sporty
- Insane grip
- Quattro means you don’t care about the weather
- Sport Differential
First, let’s get this out there. Audi’s steering feedback and feel has never really been known as “top-notch”.
That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just not as tight and direct as some of its competitors. When Audi switched from hydraulic to electric steering in 2013 the car lost a little more feedback and heaviness.
But don’t let the ugliness of a single tree divert you from the beauty of the forest, because the rest of the S4 drives like a maniac.
The car has four driving modes that you can change electronically: comfort, auto, dynamic, and an individual setting that allows you to customize transmissions and engine aggressiveness, steering feel, and exhaust note.
Leave it in dynamic and when you put the car in drive pull the shifter back one more click till you see an “S” appear on your dash where the “D” used to be. Now you’re cooking with fire.
The Audi S4 launch control is so great and easy to use. Hold down the TCS button to watch all the warnings come on, push both pedals to the floor and let off the brake.
The car shoves you into the seat and excitedly rushes from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and belches little exhaust farts at every shift. The supercharger screams in the background and you throw up a peace sign as you pass the guys in the Camaro SS and Mustang GT’s.
It shifts brilliantly. It’s fast and smooth and sounds amazing. It’s up there with Porsche’s PDK which should say something. Shove the shifter to the right and enjoy the paddle shifters. They are a blast to use even when you don’t need to.
Don’t worry if you need to hit the brakes they work. They work good. Like really good. They look good too, painted black with the S4 logo on the caliper. If you’re ever in doubt, just check your rims after a morning commute, you will find enough brake dust to give you peace of mind.
When you rush into a corner your met with some Audi characteristic understeer, but don’t panic. The car comes equipped with an optional sport differential that emulates a rear-wheel-drive car and works brilliantly to counteract the understeer.
It rotates the car around by shoving all the power to the inner-most rear-wheel. Like some NASA shit going on in the rear end of this thing.
You don’t care though because on the streets you literally can’t push this thing hard enough. You get excited when you see a winding road or a freeway on-ramp that curves sharply.
You plant your foot into the gas without care. Quattro keeps the car velcroed down and keeps you confident in all weather conditions.
Cruising into work, you turn the stereo up, pass any car at will, and enjoy the comforts of a luxurious cabin. The car is quiet and has plenty of space for three full-grown passengers.
The backseat is more than accommodating and no one has to make sacrifices to get comfortable, save for that one friend we all have who is “6-foot-10”.
And herein lies the beauty of the S4. It’s like the Bruce Wayne of sports sedans. Smart, sexy, strong and has two totally different personalities. One is a luxury sedan and the other is a sports car.
It’s a great compromise for those who need a little more utility than a two-door coupe can offer.
2013 Audi S4 Final Thoughts
There’s always concern about the cost of owning an S4.
Historically, they weren’t reliable and they were expensive to maintain and repair. Audi has sort of come up in terms of reliability and currently sits at the top of the list. The 3.0-Liter V6 in the S4 is one of the most researched and engineered motors in Audi’s line up.
Still, I would strongly recommend shelling out the extra cash for a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) version of the S4. See my cost of ownership summary at the bottom of this post.
The car blends several elements of different segments perfectly into one package and that’s hard to do. When you think about it, the risk any manufacturer makes when it tries to do everything well is that it will sacrifice its ability to be the master in one key area.
Unfortunately, that’s how the S4 is in terms of sports sedans. It’s great all around, but it isn’t the fastest, the boldest, or the most luxurious.
But there’s something to be said about that. For the most part, we as consumers are looking for something that does most things well. There really is no trade-off here.
Higher performing cars are in higher price brackets and the Audi S4 is sort of the proverbial sweet spot of sedans. It’s fast, fun, looks good, drives great, and has a good amount of luxury and quality.
Here’s why I think you should buy it:
- Perfect for daily driving
- Perfect for families or singles
- Fast, but not reckless
- Classy design inside and out
- Feels ultra high-quality
- Accelerates, shifts, and handles like a sports car
- Sophistication and sportiness
2013 Audi S4 Ownership Costs:
- Service intervals every 5,000/10,000 miles range from $200-$800
- Alignments cost roughly $300
- TSB for loose cam-chain tensioners (warranty replacement)
- Drivetrain mounts known to deteriorate around 50,000 miles
- Brake jobs are roughly $1,200
- Suspension replacement roughly $1,200
I hope this 2013 Audi S4 review proves to be useful as you search for your next car. Remember, the beauty of the S4 is that it doesn’t require you to make any sacrifices to enjoy your driving experience and that’s something all cars should be striving towards.
Looking for something a little more wild? Check out our post: The Best Four Door Sports Cars