What Makes the Audi S4 An Instant Classic

The Audi S4 hasn’t always been the prettiest looking vehicle, but it eventually became one of the most crucial models in the Audi lineup. It is now an impressive and sleek performance car, highly sought after by enthusiasts and novices alike. Let’s breakdown how the S4 developed over the years, and what led to success within a highly competitive executive compact vehicle market.

audi b5 s4 avant


Chronology of the S4

The S4 was first released in 1991, and was created to be Audi’s second sports-style sedan. The vehicle entered a tough market that already featured popular models like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class. The S4 was a respectable vehicle in it’s own right, but it was a particularly interesting choice because of how much easier it is to modify compared to the 3 Series or C-Class. This allows owners ultimate flexibility when it comes to performance, and makes it a great candidate to benefit from an Audi S4 repair manual.

Audi S4s are a wonderful product of German engineering. This makes them easier to work with than vehicles that were designed in a more-complicated way. This also allows you as an owner to easily diagnose and fix any issues you notice with your vehicle! Even if you don’t understand cars very well, a repair manual will clearly indicate what steps to take and where everything is located. You’ll save thousands in the long run, and will also gain a great understanding for your S4, putting you directly in control of how it runs.


The first S4 was produced for 3 years, and was the only version that used the C4 platform from Volkswagen. This is why the first S4 has a more box-like shape than future models. It was equipped with a 2.2L five-cylinder engine that could come standard or be turbocharged, 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions with the option of a 4-speed automatic, and Quattro four-wheel-drive.

This first batch of S4s also featured variable power steering and an excellent braking system. Even though this was just the first iteration of the S4, it already showed signs of a performance-handling vehicle with great power and speed.


nogaro blue b5 s4 wagon

In 1997, the S4 transitioned to a new body platform, the B5 from Volkswagen. Models made during this period are often sought after for how well they performed. With the new platform came a wagon version that was known as the Avant.

This new S4 came with a 2.7L V6 engine equipped with twin turbo. The 6-speed manual transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive stayed from the previous model, but a 5-speed automatic version was now also sold. The B5 S4 was one of the fastest sedans in the world upon release, accelerating from 0-100km/h in less than 6 seconds.

The B5 also made improvements to the suspension, braking system, and technology features. The suspension was now made independent for each wheel, while the brakes were upgraded to include a variable power distribution system.


The B6 Audi S4 first surfaced in 2003. The Avant wagon model was also carried over to the new Volkswagen B6 body platform. In addition to a convertible, 2-door variant. With the new platform came an update to the appearance of the car. It now sported a rounder, sleek look on the exterior and detailing features inside the vehicle.

The most noticeable change from the previous iteration was the new engine the B6 was installed with. It came with a new, 4.2L V8 engine. This engine was indeed quite powerful and offered some incredible acceleration numbers, with some 0-100km/h results of less than 5 seconds. Despite the power, acceleration of the vehicle was not as efficient as it could be, leading to poor fuel economy.

B6 Audi S4s still featured 6-speed manual transmissions, but now featured a 6-speed automatic transmission as well. This version of S4 were now run on Quattro four-wheel-drive, a change from the previous use of all-wheel-drive.


The B6 didn’t last very long, as Audi switched the S4 to the newer B7 platform in 2005. The S4 experienced very few changes during this time, with most of those coming to the exterior appearance of the car. This is most noticeable in the design of the grille, headlights, and tailpipe.

The engine, transmission, and drive of the B7 all remained the same as the previous B6 S4. Mechanically, a few parts were improved, but none that significantly changed performance. The B7 is very similar to the B6, being a very similar, but slightly upgraded version of the previous model.


In 2009, the S4 received major updates as it was shifted to the Volkswagen B8 platform. Cosmetically, the exterior of the vehicle is much improved, and reflects trends of modern sport styling. The interior of the car is also equipped with several convenient technology features to enhance quality of life while driving.

The B8 received a new, smaller supercharged 3.0L V6 engine. This allows it to achieve more power than the previous, larger V8 engine, while getting much improved gas mileage. With this engine, 6-speed manual is still standard, but a 7-speed dual clutch transmission is now offered as an option. Acceleration reached a new high for the S4 lineup, with some results of 4.5 seconds for a 0-100km/h test, making this variation of the S4 one of the best performers.

In 2012, the appearance was updated yet again to feature a different grille and headlights. The interior was also restyled. This version of the B8 is commonly referred to a B8.5, and comes with electric rather than hydraulic steering, allowing it excellent handling.


In 2017, the B9 Audi S4 was finally available for purchase. This newest variation features a few significant changes, most notably the engine and transmission.

The B9 comes with a 3.0L V6 turbocharged engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. This allows even greater power than the previous supercharged V6 engine, while further increasing fuel economy and acceleration capability. The B9 tops already-quick acceleration times of the B8 without problem.

The B9 now combines all the best aspects of the Audi S4 into one, ultra-powerful compact executive vehicle. There is no surprise that it compares well with the C-Class and 3 Series.

Great for Modification & Self-Servicing

audi b6 s4 interior

No matter what version and year of Audi S4 you drive, you’ll find the same underlying elements of quality construction and incredible performance. An S4 is a rewarding car to drive, putting more power at your fingertips than many other cars on the market.

Even though stock components of an S4 are already excellent, one of the biggest perks of an S4 is how customizable it is. The S4 took a long time to perfect, evidenced by constant upgrades to the engine and transmission. If you drive an older model, it might not be as optimized as new models, but that can be easily remedied if you choose to swap parts out yourself!

The Audi S4 is one of the best executive compact vehicles in the market for a good reason. It runs like a champ, offers super-smooth handling, and is easily modified! Any vehicle that fits that criteria is an excellent choice for do-it-yourself (DIY) servicing. You can do this on your car by picking up an Audi S4 service manual! The S4 was brilliantly designed with simplicity in mind, making it easy for you to follow the instructions you’ll find within a manual! Keep your iconic S4 performing optimally by taking control of it’s wellbeing!

Get a Audi S4 repair manual pdf right here.


About Ren R

Ren R
Loves cars and helping others learn how to take care of their own vehicle. Drives a Honda Accord and enjoys every second of it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *