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Wednesday 20th June 2012

PH Blog: S express

Why S sometimes beats RS when it comes to PH-friendly Audis



So after a week, quite a few miles and hours at the wheel the PH Le Mans Audi S4 is shortly to return to its keepers. And leaves me impressed.

The PH S4 camping it up at Le Mans
The PH S4 camping it up at Le Mans
Hot Audis are a curious breed. And the S4 Avant only vindicates my growing suspicion that the S models are the ones to go for, at least in the current line-up. I’m not, for instance, going to offer any sort of argument against the previous RS4, a truly wonderful combination of noise, poise and subtle menace that the new version apparently muddies with needless complexity and gizmo related faffage.

Pick your way carefully around the S4 spec sheet though and, to some extent, you can get much of the previous RS’s appeal, the pick of the gadgets that do work and the ability to pass on the ones that don’t. OK, noisy V8 beats supercharged V6 any day of the week. But with the optional Sports Differential (£620 and available on non-S 3.0 TDI A4s too) it can do most unexpected things.

Fast, subtle, balanced and comfy too
Fast, subtle, balanced and comfy too
This transpired on the launch a couple of years back. On dry tarmac it was business-as-usual fast Audi. Nice cabin. Understeers a bit. Copy filed and job done. And then we got to a little kart track where the benefits of the Sports Differential were to be demonstrated. And it rained. And without that passing shower I’d have written the S4 off as just another fast Audi.

First clue I was wrong was a chat with an engineer who said they’d benchmarked the Sports Differential against the Mitsubishi Evo’s Active Yaw Control and Super All Wheel Control. Really? With that in mind and on a devilishly slippery kart track I decided to see what lurked beyond default Audi understeer. Sure enough on turn-in it wanted to plough on. But with throttle came a most surprising response – a gentle transition to the rear axle, a quarter turn of opposite lock and a predictable, graceful slide out of the corner all four wheels scrabbling. Amazed I remember trying it again. And again.

Manual V8 S5 more fun than an RS5?
Manual V8 S5 more fun than an RS5?
That memory stuck with me and though our Le Mans S4 didn’t have the Sports Differential it still seemed a nicely balanced package, thankfully free of the worst of the tech overload and with a usable, useful amount of performance and attitude entirely relevant to its role. Cripes, it even rode OK!

Same goes for the TT S, which is much more lively, gutsy and fun than the faster but stodgy and uninspiring RS version, a pattern repeated with the RS5. Especially if you dig out a pre-facelift S5, before the switch to the supercharged V6. What’s not to likeabout the combination of Audi’s lovely, free-revving 4.2 V8, subtle looks and a close-ratio six-speed manual, after all. The gap is narrower with the more back to basics RS3, which is a cool car in its own right. But the S3 is not far off, more attainable, easily tuned and also available as a manual.

Proof that a little bit less can add up to a whole lot more, at least when it comes to fast Audis.

Dan

Dan Trent
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monthefish

Original Poster:

18,136 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
The S's don't have wider arches though.

/debate.

thewheelman

2,194 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
I thought it was common knowledge that the "S" Audis represented better value for money all round, the only reason to go for the RS is power. The "S" offers more performance than most people would ever need.

mylo911

5 posts

54 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
clap Great article, and I couldnt agree more.
Recognition where it's due!!

loudlashadjuster

1,244 posts

71 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
monthefish said:
The S's don't have wider arches though.

/debate.
Ice burn.

rtz62

626 posts

42 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Sorry, they turn me cold....
Advertisement

vjj

569 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Hello Dan

Have to agree - wife has a 2011 S3 black-edition 3 door manual with a slight(stage one) Revo remap.
Puts 317bhp and 325lbs of torque (300 from 2400 rpm - all confirmed on rolling road) and it is fabulous to drive - I kept the standard 18 - inch alloys as well and the ride is more than acceptable almost all of the time.

We test-drove the RS3(on 19 inch wheels as standard) and found that the ride was appalling and the tramlining on the uneven roads of surrey and sussex totally unacceptable.

The Daytona Grey one we speculatively ordered(before taking the above-mentioned test drive!) is now sitting in the showroom at at Crawley Audi - it looks fantastic.

The deposit from that RS3 has been transferred across to a new A6 Avant 3.0 twin-turbo S-line, which I will be collecting next week (chopping in my Q7).

313 bhp and 476 lbs of torque - looking forward to it, especially having seen the Youtube video of it against the BMW 550d in Germany(exact times to 60,100,155 mph).

We will be keeping the S3 - it's fantastic.

uncle tez

451 posts

38 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Used S6's are looking very tempting to me. 5.2 V10 for not much more than £10K.

vjj

569 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
S6 V10 Avant is a fantastic car - not blindingly quick like an RS6 or E63 but fast enough to deal with most things

in 2008 my Audi Dealer let me have one for a weekend - christ I had some fun, but boy was it thirsty - 11 mpg.

As I paid for my own fuel I couldn't justify it at the time( was doing 25000 miles per year), but it worked out OK for him because I bought my first Q7 from him.

Have to admit, though, they are great value and as a high days and holidays car it fits the bill....................very nicely

Itsallicanafford

896 posts

46 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
...must, must stop myself pointing out the typo.....(must unaudi like..)

Bezza1969

777 posts

35 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Totally agree with this, all the audis I like are s models. TTS, S3 and S4....Can't see the point in the RS4 over the S4, except for outright power and the V8 rumble. The S4 avant is more performance than most people will ever need and will do 30+ MPG on a long gentle run...I REALLY like the Mk2 S3. Keep waiting for prices to drop but they remain stubbornly high.

dave stew

1,502 posts

54 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
I really fancy a S5 for the exact resons cited in the article - V8 grunt and soundtrack and a three pedals rather than a slushomatic.

Gunmetal grey with dark red leather interior...

Dave Hedgehog

7,331 posts

91 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
interesting, i suspect the S4s low own grunt will be far usable than the RS4s V8 grunt in real world driving

agree but all the electricary nonsense, but luckily you can spec the RS4 without it, to my spec its 61.5k which is not as much as i expected, loaded you can get it to 84k thou!!!

wouldnt agree about the S3 / RS3 thou having just put 4k miles on an S3 it has a real lack of low down grunt, gets totally out of shape on what i would consider moderate braking (feels like each front wheel is going in different directions) the 6 speed DSG is clumsy and dithers occasionally compared to the 7 speed but the amazing thing is the ride is vastly worse getting very close to crashy even thou the S3 rolls like a ship at sea on hard cornering, the 4 pot has very little character as well whilst the i5 wails with soul

trailing throttle oversteer is extremely easy in the S3 thou, very reminiscent of the R32 in placing the car on the road


Edited by Dave Hedgehog on Wednesday 20th June 17:08

FrankyH

54 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
There's definitely too much stuff on cars nowadays that you don't need or want. It just adds weight, reducing performance and M.P.G., and it's more stuff to go wrong.
I wouldn't mind a B8 S4 saloon in a few years, an early one, when manual was still an option.

Obiwonkeyblokey

5,176 posts

127 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Ive got the S4 avant and its a great piece of kit. I almost wasn't going to buy another super quick saloon/ estate after selling an E60 M5 I had for a bit but got bored with, but the Audi just does everything so well. Its great all rounder and Ill be hard pushed to replace it with something different when I get rid next March. Its as fast as you could want with loads of gadgets and loads of boot space.

Im lucky to also have a TVR Cerbera and a 997 carrera 4 and frankly the audi is as quick cross country as the TVR and possibly than the 911. Mainly due to drivability, the 7 speed box in it is awesome.

Jip

89 posts

32 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
vjj said:
S6 V10 Avant is a fantastic car - not blindingly quick like an RS6 or E63 but fast enough to deal with most things

in 2008 my Audi Dealer let me have one for a weekend - christ I had some fun, but boy was it thirsty - 11 mpg.

As I paid for my own fuel I couldn't justify it at the time( was doing 25000 miles per year), but it worked out OK for him because I bought my first Q7 from him.

Have to admit, though, they are great value and as a high days and holidays car it fits the bill....................very nicely
Hi vjj - I used to work there! Who do you buy your cars from??

taffyracer

2,093 posts

130 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
I had a S6 avant for 3 weeks, was the most boring car I have EVER driven, can't imagine this would be any different, RS yes but I'd prefer a diesel over an S

Hellbound

2,254 posts

63 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
So can we have a comparison with the new BMW 335i Touring or whatever its going to be called?

MonkeyMatt

5,330 posts

94 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Hellbound said:
So can we have a comparison with the new BMW 335i Touring or whatever its going to be called?
It came out very well when they tested it against the V60 Polestar in Auto express so would be good to see a three way!

vjj

569 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Jip said:
vjj said:
S6 V10 Avant is a fantastic car - not blindingly quick like an RS6 or E63 but fast enough to deal with most things

in 2008 my Audi Dealer let me have one for a weekend - christ I had some fun, but boy was it thirsty - 11 mpg.

As I paid for my own fuel I couldn't justify it at the time( was doing 25000 miles per year), but it worked out OK for him because I bought my first Q7 from him.

Have to admit, though, they are great value and as a high days and holidays car it fits the bill....................very nicely
Hi vjj - I used to work there! Who do you buy your cars from??
Big Dan the Polishman

We have had from him - TT V6 3.2 Roadster KU57 EDF(wife) - used
S3 Black edition GY60 ***(wife) - new - still have
Q7 TDI S line BJ57 CYX (me) - used
Q7 Tdi S line plus GU12 *** (me) - new still have and will be PX against................A6 Avant TDi Biturbo - reg tbc (me) - new - delivery next week

Chopping in Q7 ' cos some T**t crashed in to the side of it - been repaired by audi but lost love for it - managed to do a swap for the A6 BiTurbo with no money in (Q7 very high spec - over 60k list - A6 54k list, got 5k off the Q7 back in March so I am happy with the deal)



vjj

569 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
interesting, i suspect the S4s low own grunt will be far usable than the RS4s V8 grunt in real world driving

agree but all the electricary nonsense, but luckily you can spec the RS4 without it, to my spec its 61.5k which is not as much as i expected, loaded you can get it to 84k thou!!!

wouldnt agree about the S3 / RS3 thou having just put 4k miles on an S3 it has a real lack of low down grunt, gets totally out of shape on what i would consider moderate braking (feels like each front wheel is going in different directions) the 6 speed DSG is clumsy and dithers occasionally compared to the 7 speed but the amazing thing is the ride is vastly worse getting very close to crashy even thou the S3 rolls like a ship at sea on hard cornering, the 4 pot has very little character as well whilst the i5 wails with soul

trailing throttle oversteer is extremely easy in the S3 thou, very reminiscent of the R32 in placing the car on the road


Edited by Dave Hedgehog on Wednesday 20th June 17:08
Get the revo remap - it changes the car completely

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