B8 S4 buying questions pre / post facelift

B8 S4 buying questions pre / post facelift

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krisdelta

Original Poster:

4,271 posts

173 months

Monday 6th October 2014
quotequote all
Hello folks, new to this part of PH so please be gentle smile

I've test driven a couple of cars and think the B8 S4 is for me. The version I drove was a 2013 "8.5" car, and I'm not clear on a few points of difference from an earlir car - perhaps people can assist?

S-Tronic - Gear lever has changed with "8.5" - no button and different shape, how do earlier cars get into sport / manual mode? Do you need to have drive select for there to be more than one "mode"?

Navigation - the car I drove had the "high" nav, so lots of pretty colours / topography etc. Is this available on earlier cars and how can I tell? Some of the Nav's in pictures appear to have a mainly black background and look a little outdated.

Wheels - I'm erring towards 18" on the basis that they'll be more comfortable and cheaper on replacement tyres. Any reason to do otherwise?

Noise - 8.5 has a sound generator? Hence sounding amazing in sport mode in the 2013 car I drove - sounded louder in the car than the C63 I drove! Do the earlier cars sound good?

I am hoping to spend £25-28 (so 2010-2011 car I guess), options wise, I'll be looking for s-tronic, super sports seats, bluetooth, cruise, navigation, heated seats .. anything vital I am missing? I'm not going to be driving it around a race circuit smile

Many Thanks for any information you can share.

Kris

TGJR

750 posts

200 months

Monday 6th October 2014
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Interesting as I tried a 2011 S4 a few weeks ago and found the noise (or lack of) that the engine made a disappointment. No doubting the car went like the clappers but the quiet and whiney engine note left it feeling a bit lacking in presence.

This has pushed me towards finding an RS4 but I did not know that there was a noisy option on later S4's.

lemonslap

820 posts

127 months

Monday 6th October 2014
quotequote all
krisdelta said:
Hello folks, new to this part of PH so please be gentle smile

I've test driven a couple of cars and think the B8 S4 is for me. The version I drove was a 2013 "8.5" car, and I'm not clear on a few points of difference from an earlir car - perhaps people can assist?

S-Tronic - Gear lever has changed with "8.5" - no button and different shape, how do earlier cars get into sport / manual mode? Do you need to have drive select for there to be more than one "mode"?

Navigation - the car I drove had the "high" nav, so lots of pretty colours / topography etc. Is this available on earlier cars and how can I tell? Some of the Nav's in pictures appear to have a mainly black background and look a little outdated.

Wheels - I'm erring towards 18" on the basis that they'll be more comfortable and cheaper on replacement tyres. Any reason to do otherwise?

Noise - 8.5 has a sound generator? Hence sounding amazing in sport mode in the 2013 car I drove - sounded louder in the car than the C63 I drove! Do the earlier cars sound good?

I am hoping to spend £25-28 (so 2010-2011 car I guess), options wise, I'll be looking for s-tronic, super sports seats, bluetooth, cruise, navigation, heated seats .. anything vital I am missing? I'm not going to be driving it around a race circuit smile

Many Thanks for any information you can share.

Kris
Add the B&O sound system to your list of wants.. I'm not a fan of the 18" wheels design, however the 19" wheels (which I have) do tend to tramline a lot and the ride is hard but look better.

GrahamC230K

384 posts

216 months

Monday 6th October 2014
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Hi Kris,

I'll try and answer your points from my perspective.

krisdelta said:
S-Tronic - Gear lever has changed with "8.5" - no button and different shape, how do earlier cars get into sport / manual mode? Do you need to have drive select for there to be more than one "mode"?
Facelift or B8.5, in my opinion the gear selector is much improved. There is one physical position for D and S which are toggled between by a short pull backwards of the lever (the back toggle is sprung so the shifter returns to where it was). Manual mode is to the left. This to me is very logical as manual is only one move away. Also if you are in D or S and enter manual mode via the paddles, you can easily return to auto (D or S) via the pull back toggle.

In the original pre-facelift cars S is a separate physical position and complete move of the gearstick, down from D. Manual mode is to the left of D. If I am driving with any intent I am probably in S mode. The times I want manual, I am normally already in S. S to manual is not convenient and you have to go via D which is a bit clunky. Also forcing return to auto after engaging manual via the paddles requires 2 full moves of the shifter.

krisdelta said:
Navigation - the car I drove had the "high" nav, so lots of pretty colours / topography etc. Is this available on earlier cars and how can I tell? Some of the Nav's in pictures appear to have a mainly black background and look a little outdated.
Pre-facelift nav (even the HDD nav) is not quite as good. Ample good enough though.


krisdelta said:
Wheels - I'm erring towards 18" on the basis that they'll be more comfortable and cheaper on replacement tyres. Any reason to do otherwise?
18's are fine and more about on 18s than 19s whenever I look. I wouldn't be put off the right car with 19s though. The ride is surprisingly good (even better with drive select and active dampers). Tyres are not so bad cost wise.

krisdelta said:
Noise - 8.5 has a sound generator? Hence sounding amazing in sport mode in the 2013 car I drove - sounded louder in the car than the C63 I drove! Do the earlier cars sound good?
An early car will sound very tame in comparison. Little engine noise, just the classic s-tronic exhaust sound on spirited upshifts.


krisdelta said:
I am hoping to spend £25-28 (so 2010-2011 car I guess), options wise, I'll be looking for s-tronic, super sports seats, bluetooth, cruise, navigation, heated seats .. anything vital I am missing? I'm not going to be driving it around a race circuit smile
Get too critical of options and you may never find the right car. Above sounds like a sensible aim and achievable.

B&O I highly regard and is a must have for me, the standard audio not up to it. I wouldn't be without advanced key (keyless entry) and folding mirrors is very useful in my garage.

Edited by GrahamC230K on Monday 6th October 22:04

Adrian E

3,027 posts

148 months

Monday 6th October 2014
quotequote all
To add to Graham's excellent post - on earlier cars there is tech pack high and low available - the former has HDD nav and the latter is DVD based. Only physical difference that are obvious are either a small joystick on top of the main MMI wheel for HDD or the presence of a DVD drive behind one of the panels in the boot.

The facelift cars gain 3G Plus MMI which is a definite step up over the pre-facelift, but I suspect will fall outside your budget if you want spec on it, although you might get lucky. We bought our S5 Sportback recently and they're a bit more money than the same spec S4 as they're a good bit rarer and were higher specced in standard trim (supersports seats and S-tronic as standard) - £30k budget bought us a late average miles pre-facelift.

Folding mirrors also came as part of a memory seat pack, so if there's controls for seats by the door pull it'll have auto fold mirrors and auto dimming mirrors all round.

If you want any of the drive select bits it will limit your search, but without them it needs to be a good bit cheaper. Ours has steering and diff options, but not damping. Even on 20s the ride is perfectly acceptable. The 5 segment spoke 19s are a nice compromise, although I'm not so keen on the wheels you get with the Black Edition models as standard, you do get B&O and privacy glass etc included.

Facelift also has a flat bottom wheel option (think it comes standard on the black edition but don't have a facelift brochure to hand to check - you can download from the owners area on Audi UK)


roddyp

7,030 posts

88 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
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Adrian E said:
the former has HDD nav and the latter is DVD based.
What does this actually mean as far as navigation functions/performance are concerned?

Dr G

14,279 posts

214 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
Confusing to nail every single variant but roughly speaking:

Pre 2009:

DVD Nav MMI 2G - just DVD based sat nav, nothing extra.

HDD nav - adds slightly nicer looking mapping, topographical maps, 3d buildings, a hard drive jukebox, DVD player and SD card readers. Can be upgraded to 13 software for full postcode.

Post 2009:

DVD nav gains the SD card readers and the process for upgrading the maps changes slightly.

HDD nav doesn't change.

Post facelift:

MMI navigation system DVD based: as per 2009> DVD nav.

MMI 3G plus, this is the 'current' all singing/dancing setup. As per HDD nav but with 7 digit postcode and clever Google earth stuff if you also option the big bluetooth prep (mobile prep high).

I have all of the brochures detailing these as PDFs if you want them as a reference guide.

roddyp

7,030 posts

88 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
Dr G said:
Post facelift:

MMI navigation system DVD based: as per 2009> DVD nav.
Thanks very much. So still no full postcode on some facelift cars? That's surprised me!

Adrian E

3,027 posts

148 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
Dr G said:
HDD nav - adds slightly nicer looking mapping, topographical maps, 3d buildings, a hard drive jukebox, DVD player and SD card readers. Can be upgraded to 13 software for full postcode.
It does look nicer and re-routes a bit quicker, but as DrG says it's really the extras you get on a pre-facelift car that make the tech pack high worth seeking out. The earlier DVD based cars get a 6 disc CD changer in the dash rather than the SD card slots and option of a SIM card (which is essentially a useless feature in itself unless you never want to bluetooth your mobile to the car)

One thing I'm not sure about is the full postcode search on the HDD nav? I know there's a company that will hack the firmware to give full postcode support, but mine is running 2014 maps and firmware and doesn't support full postcode.

It doesn't bother me that much but I know some people really hate the Audi navs for that reason!

krisdelta

Original Poster:

4,271 posts

173 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
Gentlemen - thank you all for the time you've taken to respond, some very useful information. PH at its best smilebeer

As soon as my current steed has sold, I can go shopping. I'll update with pics / specs.

Cheers!

Adrian E

3,027 posts

148 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
If you see one with the spec you want, buy it! Good spec cars sell quickly - poor spec tend to hang around....get adept at spotting the options from crap adverts as most don't list what they have, or in many instances say they're 'fully loaded' when they really are bog standard!

Only things to watch are 37k s-tronic service (think they stretch it to 40k at dealers but the recommended change is in the service book) has been done if looking at higher miles examples. Brake fluid and air-con due at 3 years old, then every 2 years.

Our S5 Sportback was missing 1 option I really wanted (adaptive damping) but more than made up for it by being great condition, 1 owner, lowish miles and having a load of options on our 'nice to have' list like sunroof, advanced key, memory seats etc

Dr G

14,279 posts

214 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
Adrian E said:
One thing I'm not sure about is the full postcode search on the HDD nav? I know there's a company that will hack the firmware to give full postcode support, but mine is running 2014 maps and firmware and doesn't support full postcode.
You're right Adrian, it's hacked software rather than an Audi update.

Officially it can't be done wink

Adrian E

3,027 posts

148 months

Tuesday 7th October 2014
quotequote all
That's what I thought - not sure if firmware can then be updated without going back to them after it's been hacked either?

My '14 nav update cost me a high capacity SD card (£15) and half a day of my time smile

krisdelta

Original Poster:

4,271 posts

173 months

Wednesday 8th October 2014
quotequote all
Chaps, one quick question about the pre 2013 s-tronic, do you have to move the gear lever to manual to use the paddles? Or can you activate manual mode by tapping either the up / down paddles? If so, how do you engage "D" again?

Cheers! smile

Dr G

14,279 posts

214 months

Wednesday 8th October 2014
quotequote all
Pulling a paddle in drive or sport mode gives you temporary manual control. THe auto mode will re-engage after (I think) 30 seconds if you stop the car or stop playing with the paddles.

krisdelta

Original Poster:

4,271 posts

173 months

Wednesday 8th October 2014
quotequote all
Thank you! smile

F40GT346

211 posts

139 months

Thursday 9th October 2014
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I have a 2011 B8 S4. I really like the paddles / mode interaction. As previous poster said you can use paddles at any time and after a while it reverts to full auto, or you push the lever to the left into manual mode and then back to the right when you want auto again. This is very quick to do and you dont have to look at what you are doing.

In terms of spec I think the drive select (or what ever it is called ) is excellent. I generally drive mine in comfort which really improves ride comfort and smooths gear changes, and then I have an "individual" mode configured to my taste for more spirited driving.

I would also recommend the Sport diff - it gives the handling a more rear lead bias.

Mine also has Panoramic roof, sports seats, B&O which are all great and worth having IMO.

The sound is a little muted compared to how you describe the later cars. I have considered an after market exhaust, but dont want to end up with the dreaded motorway drone, so for now when giving it the beans I just open the sun roof!