1992 Audi S4 | Retro Review

This is not your average sedan.

Motorweek 92 television’s automotive magazine is made possible by funding from the corporation for public broadcasting and by the financial support of viewers like you your host from motorweek 92 john davis well hello and welcome again to motorweek 92. we’re glad to have you with us what does the name audi mean to you well to most american car buyers it means

The comfort and quality the german luxury car builders are justly famous for but europeans look at audis like this new s4 sedan in a different light over there audis are known for performance a reputation that’s backed up by dozens of wins and two titles in the german touring car championships americans rarely get to see that side of audi until now that is the s4

Is the most serious drivers car that out he’s released on these shores since the legendary quattro coupe but can americans appreciate it they can if they have a taste for the restraint that has always been an audi styling trademark the limited production s4 is audi’s most potent u.s model in years but doesn’t advertise it with tacky ground effects or whale tail

Spoilers changes to the basic 100 model body shell are minimal they include subtle fender flares for the wider 225 series tires and handsome 16-inch alloy wheels then there are the distinctive s4 badges on the grille and rear deck lid and that’s all look under the hood however and it becomes immediately apparent that this is not your average audi the s force 2.2

Liter turbocharged intercooled five-cylinder engine is a direct descendant of audi’s legendary s1 rally engine it has plenty of racy features like twin cam 4 valve per cylinder and liquid cooling for the turbo it all combines to make 227 horsepower 258 pound-feet of torque and little 5-cylinder vibration power is then fed through a somewhat notchy five-speed manual

Shifter no automatic is available audi’s famous quattro all-wheel drive system means that no power is wasted on wheel spin our test car sprinted to 60 in only 6.3 seconds and took the quarter mile in 14.9 seconds at 95 miles per hour a firm shifter hand and sharp eye on the tack are required to keep the s4 engine in the meteor upper section of the power band 3200

To 6800 rpm is optimum drop below that and power delivery is less direct but there’s still much more available torque than we’ve come to expect from audi’s turbo 5. handling offers no surprises when a car wears a quattro badge normally power goes equally to the front and rear lose rear traction however and up to 75 percent of the power goes to the front wheels

The s4 sticks to the pavement like super glue feeling more like a lightweight sports car than a 3 800 pound sedan the feel is remarkably neutral there is a touch of front plow but otherwise the s4 does exactly what you tell it to the only letdown is the very american feeling power steering it fails to deliver the kind of feedback that such a capable car demands

But four disc brakes and abs give the s4 serious high performance stopping power stops from 60 average a short 112 feet the firm pedal required a lot of effort but braking power and stability were superb out on public roads the s4 exhibits a very firm german ride but despite its stiffness the suspension is still compliant enough to soak up bumps that would upset

Many other performance cars the s-force fuel mileage is epa rated at 18 city 23 highway our mixed test loop returned a very acceptable 22 miles per gallon interior wise the s4 also closely resembles the typical 100 including driver’s airbag but with full standard power accessories and a cellular phone there are also these very readable white grey-faced analog

Gauges and the eight-way power seats up front they are firm and very supportive they combine with the tilt telescoping steering wheel to offer an excellent driving position there are also seat heaters both front and rear and a power sunroof with pre-selected openings for added convenience the standard bose cassette stereo can be combined with an optional 10-disc

Cd changer the controls are clean and straightforward the automatic climate controls also look simple until you try to get outside air otherwise they work as advertised all big audi’s offer generous rear seat room and the standard pull through ski bag feature is popular with snow lovers there’s also plenty of trunk space for those long vacations up at the lodge

But if you want to take an s4 on vacation you may have to wait a while the first batch of 92s4s consisted of only 250 cars and quickly sold out orders are now being taken for 93. they should be arriving at dealers soon but still in limited numbers the asking price is steep forty four thousand seven hundred fifty dollars our test car goes for forty five thousand

Five hundred forty dollars with the optional cd changer that’s a little more than you’ll pay for a lexus ls400 but the s4 will comfortably outperform the lexus while offering similar levels of comfort and luxury in our safety check the s4 passes with a driver’s side airbag rear shoulder belts and anti-lock brakes only a passenger side airbag is missing kits are

Many for the audi s4 and include the understated styling quick acceleration and superb handling we also like the powerful brakes luxurious well-equipped interior and generous amounts of room for people and cargo misses are the notchy feel of the manual shifter poor steering feedback and the automatic climate controls while the audi s4 may not be perfect it’s still

A prime piece of near timeless european driving machinery one that anyone who’s ever delighted in the feel of a serious german performance car is sure to enjoy you

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1992 Audi S4 | Retro Review By MotorWeek