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View Full Version : Just drove S4 and RS6!


PropellerHead
12-23-2003, 06:06 PM
OK... let me FIRST say that I intend to contrast these with the bimmer competition so *I think* it's appropriate to this board. On to the impressions:

First was the V8 S4. Holy God.... That car was awesome. Everything about it left me impressed. The AWD was a cool in a hard corner where the car experienced neither over nor understeer- the whole thing just sort of went into a neutral slide before all the wheels took hold and we jumped out of the corner. Full circle interstate on ramps were a blast. Interstate driving was a lot like my wife's 330, but when you hop on the gas, the V8 just gives and gives. This car was equipped with in dash (near speedo) navigation and satellite radio. Navigation was much more intuitive than BMW. The beige alcantara inserts in the black leather recaro seats were a really nice visual, and they help keep you from moving around.

Negatives:
Exterior styling. I am unsure if it was the subtle delphin gray or the snowflakish S4 wheels, but I didn't really care for the styling at all. They had one of the Audi (canary) yellow S4's around back and I sort of liked it better. Understated is fine, but I think you owe something to a car with that much power. It was cold out, so maybe thats why the car initially sounded like a sewing machine- after awhile, I assume the oil thinned out and the idle was much more quiet.

Final:
If you're in the market for an M3 but would love one with four doors and AWD- THIS is the car. Absolutely fun. You owe yourself a test drive.

RS6- Twin turbo V8. Again I say, Holy God. A top of the onramp punch from 30 to 100MPH literally slams you into the seat. This car had an optional factory exhaust that at idle sounds like the V8 it is. And it's music at WOT. The steptronic-esque tranny was a blast. On the inside, the car feels bigger than an E39, more powerful than an M5 (I think), and handles better than any big Bimmer I've driven. Nice steering wheel paddles, or use the stick, or just drive it in auto on the highway. This car was silver and reinforces my suspicion that color may mean something to me. I liked the way it looked- but not as much as my 5. It feels bigger than the S4, but it should- cause it is. The ergonomics where nice, the silver gray leather with black piping and carbon fiber trim was just a work of art.

Negative:
At $87,000, it's just not in my sanity range. Because of more strict US emission standards in 2004, they only get manufactured in 2003. Too bad- if $87K becomes a reasonable thought to me for a car, I'd do this one in a heartbeat. The A6 model is likely due for a facelift or a totally new model sometime in the next couple of years.

Final:
If I were considering an M5- or any sedan near $87K, having driven both- this car has the edge. I don't know what the E60 M5 will do, but BMW has to be happy this car will be out of production.

Disclaimers:
I've been in bimmers for 17 years. I bleed blue and white. I went into this with and open mind and came away really very impressed.
I am not asking anyone to validate or argue for or against my impressions. They are after all, mine. I'll not defend them by repeating anything I've written. Anyone is free to express their thoughts contrary or congruent.

Mathew
12-23-2003, 06:08 PM
The RS6 is high on my "To Drive" list.

TD
12-23-2003, 06:09 PM
I think the S4 is my next car.

BlackChrome
12-23-2003, 06:39 PM
How was the shifter on the S4? I have only driven the last generation S4 and I really hated the shifter!

swchang
12-23-2003, 06:52 PM
I heard the S4 has been having a lot of engine troubles. I'd guess MY 2005 will take care of most of that, though.

Sean
12-23-2003, 07:17 PM
The new S4 is very impressive. I'll own one some day, but pre-owned.

Sean
12-23-2003, 07:18 PM
How was the shifter on the S4? I have only driven the last generation S4 and I really hated the shifter!

It's like running a knife through warm butter. Silky smooth.

BlackChrome
12-23-2003, 07:26 PM
It's like running a knife through warm butter. Silky smooth.
Are you sure? It felt rubbery and had really long throws. I am not the only one felt this as a lot of people on the Audi forums agreed.

PropellerHead
12-23-2003, 08:07 PM
Are you sure? It felt rubbery and had really long throws. I am not the only one felt this as a lot of people on the Audi forums agreed.I'll tell you this- coming from the 540i6 with a UUC, I really admired the gates on the S4. They were more precise, not notchy, and short. I'm sure there are kits, but I liked it better than my car.

elbert
12-23-2003, 10:29 PM
The 540i6 has a lousy gearbox; a dump truck crashbox would feel slick in comparison.

I agree with the BlackChrome: the S4 (previous generation) had a crummy tranny that is almost equal in vulgarity to the 540i6's. The first-to-second shift was so bad, the turbos would fall out of boost because the shifting action wouldn't allow for faster shifting.

I can't understand how Honda can make cable-linkage shifters feel smoother with shorter throws than just about any linkage-based shifters, including BMW's.

PropellerHead
12-23-2003, 10:36 PM
The 540i6 has a lousy gearbox; a dump truck crashbox would feel slick in comparison.Ohhh so true.. even though the UUC helped me stop rowing the boat, it's still sloppy, soft, and messy. I'll leave out the quote from an old friend who likened his affinity for- ahem- LARGER women to a jar of mayonaise...

But I think you get the idea...

BlackChrome
12-23-2003, 10:41 PM
I'll tell you this- coming from the 540i6 with a UUC, I really admired the gates on the S4. They were more precise, not notchy, and short. I'm sure there are kits, but I liked it better than my car.
Well, I drove the last S4 (2.7 Bi-Turbo V6), not the new one (V8). And they probably improved the new S4's shifter anyway.

Someone on the Audi board told me that that's how VWs are and they have came to accepted it. But they do have SSK kits available (UUC makes them).

I can't understand how Honda can make cable-linkage shifters feel smoother with shorter throws than just about any linkage-based shifters, including BMW's.
I know exactly what you mean. Coming from Honda background, their shifters are just excellent. These days I laugh whenever I hear someone mentions that they need a short shifter for their Honda. :rofl:

Wallenrod
12-24-2003, 12:00 AM
S4 is a great car. It really really is. Please see some of my internal struggles on getting S4 vs M3 on E46 M3 forum and finally "settling" on 330i ZHP on ED forum. It is really NOTHING like B5 S4 (my coworkers husband had it and I've driven it a lot of times). The shifter is absolutely phenomenal. The best I've tried. Precise and positive shifts with very short throw. Clutch is too soft IMO. It takes getting used it. The car masks its weight very very well. IMO much better than 540i and better than M5 (4 drives, 2 longer ones). It does not have this smash-me-into-the-seat type of acceleration power that M5 has but it has a lot of torque in every gear. It actually feels like a much more powerful inline six in my 330i. The power builds up as you press in a nice progressive way.
It is really a very impressive car with a tight body and very rigid chassis and GREAT suspension setup.
But... take it for a really extended drive and you WILL notice annoying things.
First, steering. Speed sensitive steering is really weird. It is FEATHER light at slow speeds and gets tighter as you pick up speed. Still it does not transmit much of the road feel. It SEEMS very electrical or electronic in its responses. As if a sensor is triggered every turn you make and wheels respond to it rather than a smooth, tight and connected feel of 330i's steering (2002 MY on). Let me say this, M3's steering feels much better than S4's and M3's steering is inferior to current 330i's.
Second, handling. In tight turns the ugly head of the beast comes up. It IS heavy and it IS front heavy and it DOES put more power to front wheels most of the time. This shows in twisties. Having said that it is a very pleasant car to drive every day and is a very fun car for some occasional crazy twisty runs. It is very effortless and easy to drive hard and fast. It's just that 330i ZHP is more satisfying. To me, right now at least. It is more tossable and "on the edge" (can you believe one says that about E46!)
The interior is absolutely phenomenal. I love it. Better than any BMW.
Another thing. Huge blind spot. This is clearly a bad design. I mean, it is really bad.
Reliability. I would simply wait couple years and see them figure out all these engine/part suppliers problems plus buy used given Audi's depreciation schedule.
Fuel consumption. Spirited runs in 330i still yield above 20MPG averges, S4 is more like low teens... These days this DOES make a difference at the gas pump.
I can see this vehicle in my future but now I simply want something more fun and smaller such as 330i ZHP but I already see some simptoms of me "geezing" as TD would put it so maybe in few years (especially given BMW's current design trends) this would be a great used (pre-owned) choice.

AF
12-24-2003, 05:09 AM
Thanks for the write up, Audi makes some very impressive cars.

I love the new S4 and have been fighting the temptation to go down to the dealer and trade my 330 in. There is something about an 8 cylinder that makes it SOOOOOO tempting.


The only downside I found is the center console intrudes on the legroom and I don't know if this would cause an irritation if I actually owned one since some people have pointed out that it is REALLY annoying and uncomfortable on the dirvers right leg/knee.

One day I'll borrow my brothers 03 A4 and see if it's an actual concern or not.

OBS3SSION
12-24-2003, 05:12 AM
Final:
If you're in the market for an M3 but would love one with four doors and AWD- THIS is the car. Absolutely fun. You owe yourself a test drive.

Or if you want 4 doors, AWD and a wagon... :thumbup:

I certainly wouldn't mind waking up and finding a blue S4 Avant sitting under the tree tomorrow morning. :D

Alex Baumann
12-24-2003, 07:16 AM
Interesting, nobody commented on the weight. Both S4 and RS6 are pigs.

Wallenrod
12-24-2003, 07:25 AM
Interesting, nobody commented on the weight. Both S4 and RS6 are pigs.

I did. S4 is a pig but it "hides" its weight better than say 540i.

Alex Baumann
12-24-2003, 07:31 AM
I did. S4 is a pig but it "hides" its weight better than say 540i.

Fair enough. Since there's no E46M3 Sedan/Touring, we will never know how it would hide its weight in a comparison.

All the comparisons I have read compared the S4 against the 3 Series, not 5 Series. (M3 Coupe, Alpina B3S etc)

Wallenrod
12-24-2003, 07:39 AM
Fair enough. Since there's no E46M3 Sedan/Touring, we will never know how it would hide its weight in a comparison.

All the comparisons I have read compared the S4 against the 3 Series, not 5 Series. (M3 Coupe, Alpina B3S etc)

Yes, you are right. The only reason I compared it with 5 series was because of the comparable weight. This is really unfortunate how heavy it is (and "sports" cars these days in general.) It's one of the things that makes the 3 series more appealing than its competitors.

AF
12-24-2003, 07:40 AM
Fair enough. Since there's no E46M3 Sedan/Touring, we will never know how it would hide its weight in a comparison.



The 3 series sedan weighs in about the same as the Coupe so I don't think it would make a difference

Sean
12-24-2003, 07:41 AM
Are you sure? It felt rubbery and had really long throws. I am not the only one felt this as a lot of people on the Audi forums agreed.

The new S4 my brother and I drove was. We both have owned serveral BMWs and we both were amazed at how smooth the shifting action was.

Nick325xiT 5spd
12-24-2003, 08:09 AM
An M3/T would have an extra 150lbs. in the tail. I'd bet that would be a LOT of fun. :D