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Newbie question - S4/S6 synopsis (kinda

John Legelis <jlegelis@fmrco.com> wrote:
>Can someone tell me what S4/S6's are?  Here in Boston I see quite a few
>late model 100-like cars with only the Audi Motorsport badge on the
>rear.  I'm assuming these are 'S' cars, but I'm not sure what's special
>about them.  Can someone provide a rundown of when 'S' cars were made,
>specifications (hp, engine types, etc), and how much they cost when new?

You can check the archives (topic S4 vs. S6) for detailed information on different "S" car models from
 Audi.  For the last decade, Audi has produced sporting versions of its sedans under different nominclatures,
 kinda like the WMB "M" cars or the factory tuner Mercedes models.  Not all of them made it to the United
States.  They were premium price/limited production series (someone else can probably tell you how
many were made).   In the late '80's ('89-90)  they offered the Audi 200 series, with the turbo inline five-cyl
MC 10-valve engine and K24 turbo making some 168hp.   In 1991 this was upgraded to the 3B 20-valve
engine with 217hp/227 ftlbs.  using the K26 turbo.  These 200's were generally loaded cars with quattro.
I never owned one, but my impression was that they were generally (all?) stick shifts.  IMHO they are
the absolute best buys in a used Audi.

All of these sporting variants were premium cars (i.e. ungodly expensive) and damn few were sold.
You must live in the Gold Coast of Boston if you see many.  I think my S4 (a 1992) originally sold for $44,000!
However, it came with Recaro leather seats, 225-50Z16 tyres,  individually controlled front & rear seat
warmers, cellular phone, Blows... er Bose stereo, sunroof, and an extremely high (typical Audi) level
of fit, finish and materials.

in 1992 Audi iintroduced the new body style and called it the 100.  At the same time, they introduced
a successor to the 200 (but really the same car as the 200 under the skiin) which they called the S4.  Not
sure about the nominclature.  A two-door coupe offered with the same drivetrain was called the S2,
so maybe the original S4 was an "S" car with four doors?  <how fast does that S-car-go?>

The new S-cars offered computer control of the wastegate and eked out an additional few horsepower
for short (15-second) bursts up to a claimed 227hp/258ft.lbs.  A lot of engine control stuff changed too.
The S-cars have no distributor (coil on each cylinder), the intake plumbing for the turbo was rerouted
 (badly, but with metal pipe instead of rubber), and the general layout of electricals, etc. was improved(?)
Probably why this year the 1992 Audi 100 made the J.D.Power top three for long-term reliability.

Only about 250 S4's were brought in in 1992, but about 500 per year after that thru 1995 (or 1995.5).
In the later years ('95 only?) Audi brought in a bunch of S wagons too.  But a funny thing happened when
Audi replaced the 80/90 series with the A4.  Suddenly the Audi 100 became the A6 and the S4 became
the S6 (same cars, different badge).  In Europe they get an S6+ with a 4.2l V-8 engine  making something
like 320hp!!(wow!) that I covet.  There have been some detail changes along the way, such as presence
of a boost guage in the dash (early S4's like mine have it) and rear anti-roll bars (dropped in 1993, altho I've
heard not always).   In 1995(?), Audi brought some S6 wagons, as well as the sedans.  These S6's were
available last year as new cars (called 1995-1/2).  I test drove one at a dealer in February 1996.  Only
differences I could spot versus mine: softer suspension, WAGON, painted bumpers, strut tower stress support
in engine compartment, glass versus metal (mine) sunroof.  All season tyres on 15" alloys were an option.
Importantly, the last S-cars imported had the SUPER Xenon gas discharge headlights which solve
one of the real inadequacies of the S4 (low beam light).  I think the late ones also have EDL rather than
a differential switch on the console.

So the S6 in 1995 was the last S car available in the US (sold thru 1996).  I guess
Audi did this  to avoid the cost of recertifying such a limited production model to meet OBDII requirements
(for EPA:on-board diagnostics new standard).  These models have now been dropped from
the line, in the US, but are still available elsewhere (Canada, for instance).  All the S4's/S6's in the U.S. are
sticks (some modified with S6+ 6-speeds too).  Used ones can be picked up for prices in the $20's.  Audi
200's can be picked up at half the price and are arguably as good or better, if kept up.

The S4/S6's are the last surviving vestiges of the glory years of the UrQ (origiinal Quattro) 5 cylinder turbo
drivetrain and will (hopefully) be replaced by a whole new line of S cars, apparently, one for each model
in the line.  So there will be an A4-based versiion (new S4) and A6-based version (new S6) and they've
already introduced an A8-based version (the S8) in Europe.  Hopefully, we'll see some of these in the
states (lobby your dealer, WRITE to him).  Personally, I think it'd be really neat to own two S4's that
are entirely different cars!!

Hope this assauges your curiosity.  (Probably more than you ever wanted to know, and I probably got 20% of
it wrong, to boot).

Doug Haley (haleyd@yankelovich.com)
"There is no fundamental difference between a sufficiently advanced technology and magic" (A.C.Clarke)
'92 S4 (mine)
'95 Saab Turbo Conv (hers)
'91 Sentra SE-R (my daughter just bent it!! see thread on "Teenage Drivers" we're going to Bondurant in 3 weeks)
'61 Alfa Giulietta Spider Veloce (ours)