The top performer in Audi’s A4 line is the S4, which competes with the Mercedes C Class AMG and the BMW M3. The chassis architecture of the S4 is similar to those in the Cabriolet, Q5 medium SUV and A5 coupe. This range offers an assortment of transmission types. There is a six-speed manual, a continuously variable automatic transmission, a six-speed torque converter automatic, and the Dual-clutch transmission (DCT) seven-speed that is called the S Tronic. The seven-speed ‘S Tronic’ DL501 is the latest premium Dual-clutch transmission to be included in the Audi S4 line.
Rather than being configured for transverse installation, this seven-speed ‘S Tronic’ DL501 design is configured for inline mount. This allows it to be used in Audi’s larger vehicles. This means the design may also be applied to the high-performance quattro® Audi models.
The S4 owes some of its sophistication to the 333 horsepower V6 engine, its seven-speed Dual-clutch transmission and its all-wheel drive power distribution. Visually, it boasts the same flawless appearance as other vehicles in the Audi line. It looks powerful but stylish, and it has impeccable finishes that contribute to the vision of tasteful luxury.
The experience driving the vehicle invokes a similar quality. The hum of the V6 engine is a medium pitch, subdued when compared to the higher volume and hoarse growl of the old V8 model. In comparison to some models of Jaguar, the supercharger is nearly inaudible. Thanks to the Audi Drive Select, the S4 can adjust the responsiveness of the steering, throttle and suspension. On the seven-speed ‘S Tronic’ DL501 versions of the S4, the vehicle can adjust the responsiveness of the chassis settings to reflect the inclination of the driver and passengers.
Gear shifts are firmer and quicker with the S4. The sensation delivered from the column-mounted paddles during the shifting process is thrilling. During gentle driving or lower revs, the downshift is especially smooth. The S4 operates as though it understands whether the driver is in a hurry or taking a relaxing tour in the vehicle.
Although the difference is not as significant as with some cars equipped with DCT, the gear changes have become sharper. This is because controls have been sharpened in the S4’s Dynamic mode. There are also individual settings available, which is programmed through the MMI controls on the center console.
The S4 offers a pleasant handling balance through its innovations in the engine and the power proportion directed to the rear wheels. This means the S4 is not as loud or heavy in the front as the previous V8 model was. It offers a new rear differential that accelerates the outside wheels around the corners and marks an improved perception of agility.
The car has a mass of 1,700 kg and an acceleration performance of 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds. The S4 is considered a sports wagon which has five seats. The vehicle typically gets 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. This is an improvement over the six-speed manual, but the DCT does seem to lose a couple tenths in acceleration. The seven-speed ‘S Tronic’ DL501 transmission has clearly combined with the supercharged V6 engine to create a high-performance vehicle that has balance and a more contemporary edge.
Rene Rodriguez has over 25 years of experience working exclusively on VW and late model Audis. As Hillside Imports owner, and service writer, he’s dedicated the past 20 years to educating consumers about safety, reliability and performance.