The A4 and other European sedans have competition in the form of the more potent, sportier Audi S4.
Also, there are numerous generations of the Audi model for used car buyers. But is the Audi model a dependable option?
What is the finest Audi S4 year, and which should you avoid altogether?
Do you like Audi? Get the list of the Most Reliable Audi Models
VIDEO: Audi S4 Review
Audi S4 Best and Worst Years
The finest and worst years of the Audi S4 are hotly debated. 2012 is considered to be the most dependable year for the Audi S4. According to a review, 2012 is also the finest year for the Audi S4 regarding reliability, safety, affordability, and resale value. According to a suggestion from a Reddit thread, versions from 2013 or later are an excellent option because they have features like a rear diff, B&O sound, and titanium or black aluminum optics. A guide to buying a 2009-2016 Audi S4 offers details on several model years but does not single out any particular years as the best or worst. Lastly, a comparison of the performance and features of the 2020 and 2006 Audi S4 shows how far the vehicle has advanced, but it does not give details on the dependability or performance of each model year.
The Best Years For Audi S4
The most significant years for the Audi S4 are a subject of debate. According to, the most dependable year for the Audi S4 is 2012. Those looking for a used Audi S4 should choose an early B8 generation vehicle.
According to a review, 2012 is also the finest year for the Audi S4 regarding reliability, safety, affordability, and resale value. According to a suggestion from a Reddit thread, versions from 2013 or later are an excellent option because they have features like a rear diff, B&O sound, and titanium or black aluminum optics.
A guide to buying a 2009-2016 Audi S4 offers details on several model years but does not single out any particular years as the best or worst. The 2012 and 2013 editions of the Audi S4 are among the most significant years for dependability and contemporary performance.
The Worst Years For Audi S4
The worst years for the Audi S4 need to be clarified based on the search results presented search resultstain signs of troublesome model years, though.
The 2005 Audi S4 is said to have the “worst Audi S4 troubles,” according to a review by Carcomplaints.com. According to a review, the 2011 model year of the Audi A4 was the worst, which may also be true of the S4, given it is built on the A4 platform.
Owners have reportedly filed 39 complaints across 25 model years, most centered on transmission problems. Last but not least, a review points up problems with a particular component in V8-powered Audi S4 cars that needed to be replaced frequently and was challenging to access for maintenance.
Learn more about other Audi Models
Audi S4 Overview
The high-performance version of Audi’s A4 small executive automobile is the S4. The original Audi S4, produced between 1991 and 1994, was a sportier variant of Audi’s 100 saloon/sedan.
Since 1997, the Audi A4 has been the foundation for all succeeding S4 models. As the A4 has changed from generation to generation, so has the S4.
The S4 has always received numerous improvements over its more mainstream 100 and A4 siblings, including a more potent internal combustion engine, larger improved brakes, firmer suspension, larger wheels, and distinctive sheet metal, design cues, and badging.
As a result, the S4 is the top-of-the-line trim of the A4 family in markets where the even more potent Audi RS 4 is unavailable.
All S4 variations have had front-mounted, longitudinally orientated engines, just as their regular A4 counterparts. The original C4 version used a 2.2-liter inline five-cylinder turbocharged engine, but the B5 generation used a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
The BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, which at the time featured a 3.2 L inline 6-cylinder engine, were in direct rivalry with the B6 and B7 versions due to their shared 4.2 L V8 engine, which was the first time a V8 engine was installed in a compact executive automobile.
The B8 generation competes with the Mercedes-Benz C350, the BMW 335i, and the BMW 335i/340i xDrive thanks to its supercharged 3.0-liter V6 TFSI engine. Instead of a supercharger like the previous generation, the recently released B9 generation is propelled by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 TFSI engine. The Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG/Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC and BMW M340i xDrive are rivals of this generation.
All S4 models feature a transaxle-style transmission that is longitudinally located directly behind the engine, and like all Audi “S” models, the S4 is only offered as standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) system, which employs a Torsen-based center differential system.
Since the model’s introduction in 1991, all variants of the S4 have been produced at Audi’s facility in Ingolstadt, Germany; they are or have been, offered in four-door, five-seat saloon, and five-door, five-seat Avant (Audi’s designation for an estate car/station wagon) body styles.
In the B6 and B7 generation A4 lines, a two-door, four-seat Cabriolet (convertible) S4 variation was offered. In addition, the Audi S5 nameplate is used for advertising the “S” variation of the B8 Cabriolet, which is now manufactured using the A5 coupe body type.
Is an Audi S4 trustworthy?
However, RepairPal believes that the newest S4s are unreliable, which is bad news for prospective owners who want one. For example, the reliability score for a later model Audi S4 is 2.0 out of 5.0 on RepairPal. That is well below the industry average of 3.5.
The S4 is therefore classified as “below average” in terms of reliability by the website. Therefore, you should avoid the newer models favoring an older generation if you plan to skip a model year based on reliability.
The Audi S4 is ranked 27th out of 31 in the category of luxury midsize cars. However, 2012 is the most dependable year for the Audi S4, according to MotorAsk.
This means those looking for a dependable secondhand Audi S4 should choose a vehicle from the early B8 generation.
When did Audi start producing the S4?
Since the early 1990s, Audi has produced the S4 in various variations. The brand has succeeded over several generations, and prospective owners should look into every variant based on their preferences.
The B5 generation runs from 2000 to 2002, the B6 generation from 2004 to 2005, and the B7 generation from 2006 to 2008. The B8 generation of the most recent vehicles lasted from 2010 to 2016; the B9 generation is still in use today.
The B8.5 and B9.5 generations result from the midcycle facelifts performed on the B8 and B9. Therefore, one item to consider is your desired styling and engine for your S4.
For instance, Audi switched to a 3.0L V6 engine from the 4.2L V8 following the B6 and B7 models.
Is the B8 S4 trustworthy?
One of the most dependable options in the model portfolio is the S4 from the B8 generation. However, MotorAsk cites the 2012 model year as the most dependable.
Together with its supercharged 3.0L V6 engine, the 2012 model provided a choice of a seven-speed automated or six-speed manual transmission.
As a result, the A4 gains 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, making it a sterner step forward.
Despite its power, the B8 is one of the most dependable models for used car buyers. Unfortunately, RepairPal did not give the new S4 the same low dependability rating as it did.
What is the price of an Audi S4?
The entry-level Premium 2023 Audi S4 costs about $53,895 to purchase. But, prospective buyers will have to stretch to a starting price of around $62,195 if they want the top-of-the-line Prestige trim.
Yet, purchasing a used model is a far more affordable choice. For instance, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), the reasonable buying price for the 2012 model from the B8 generation is around $11,727 with typical miles.
How Safe is an Audi S4?
The Audi S4 is a safe vehicle to drive, thanks to its numerous safety features. Safety features like front, front-side, and Sideguard head curtain airbags, antilock brakes with electronic braking-force distribution and brake assist, stability and traction controls, and tire-pressure monitors are standard for 2021 and 2023 models.
The A4 car, on which the S4 is based, has reportedly undergone a thorough safety evaluation. For cars of this year, make, model and trim, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists safety problems.
The S4 is based on the 2020 Audi A4, which scored favorably in most IIHS crash tests. Lastly, the NHTSA gives safety evaluations and rankings for the 2022 Audi S4 (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration).
Related article: Audi S7 Best and Worst Years (Quick Facts!)
How Can You Tell Whether Something Is a Lemon?
Purchase a vehicle history report.
There is no better initial step when purchasing a used car than to obtain a car history report. Two well-known services offer this information for little money: Anyone looking to purchase a used car will find the information provided by CarFax and AutoCheck extremely helpful.
The reports let you know the number of past owners, whether or not it had any accidents, how frequently it required maintenance, and the current title.
The final section is among the most crucial since it contains the lemon label, which attests that the car followed the correct legal procedures to be designated as a lemon.
However, in some areas, dealers must inform a customer if the vehicle is a manufacturer buyback, which is a reliable way to determine whether a vehicle has a lemon title. However, it is the responsibility of the buyer to conduct a thorough investigation into the vehicle’s history.
Therefore, consumers may need help if they accidentally purchase a secondhand lemon because they must inspect it first.
You can view the owner’s history on the vehicle history report, which should indicate whether the manufacturer has purchased the vehicle back.
While owners can claim a car is a lemon in a legal dispute and ask the automaker to buy back the problematic vehicle, that is a guaranteed technique to determine if the car was labeled a lemon.
You can also determine if the vehicle was sold or traded before it was given a lemon tag if the prior owner may have missed an issue. It also implies that the car’s persistent issue must be apparent.
Look carefully at the vehicle’s repair record and try to identify any recurring issues. Recurring problems in cars with lemon histories are simple to spot. You can determine whether the issues with the car are minor wear and tear concerns, such as those with the clutch or brakes, or a more severe problem.
Check to discover if the repairs were necessary or carried out even when the car was brand new. It can assist in determining whether the car is a lemon or if an incident like a collision or modification caused a misdiagnosed issue.
Are the repairs significant or minor? A severe repair would deal with the drivetrain or suspension, whereas a superficial one would address non-driving-related issues like window or seat controls.
Severe repairs would be more challenging, but handling a car might not be a hassle if a car was considered a lemon for a less severe cause.
The report also shows whether repairs are being made at a dealership or a general shop. Like you would with any used car, examine the vehicle’s general condition and health and determine whether routine maintenance has also been carried out.
This will assist you in deciding whether or not you should consider purchasing this car.
Inspection before purchase
Is the car still a good investment? You should get a pre-purchase inspection if the flaws are not too concerning or if you believe the automobile may have been incorrectly labeled as a lemon.
A mechanic can determine whether the problems are repairable and why the car was considered a lemon.
A technician can assist you in determining whether or not a recurring issue is indicative of more severe problems or worries about the quality of the vehicle.
Their satisfaction with the car might help determine if it is a worthwhile investment or a lost cause.
Audi S4 FAQ’s
The most dependable year of the Audi S4 is?
One of the most dependable options in the model portfolio is the S4 from the B8 generation. MotorAsk specifically cites the 2012 model year as being the most dependable of the bunch.
Which Audi S4 should you avoid?
If that’s not persuasive enough, Carcomplaints.com lists the 2005 Audi S4 as the vehicle with the “worst Audi S4 difficulties,” with “engine rattle on start up” listed as the primary concern. But, if none of the information in the literature deters you from purchasing one of these S4 models, just be sure you can afford the price of
When was the fastest Audi S4 produced?
According to AWE, Jeff Jones’ Audi S4 is the quickest S4 in the world after reaching the benchmark time of 11.61 seconds at 119.12 mph (191.8 km/h) on Saturday. The factory-built 2012 Audi S4’s 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine generates 245kW and 440Nm.
Is the Audi S4 a trustworthy vehicle?
If you take the time to do routine maintenance and drive safely and sensibly, you can anticipate the typical Audi S4 to last up to and maybe over 100,000 miles before needing serious repairs.
Which Audi S is the most trustworthy?
It’s also the most dependable Audi you can purchase. In the What Car? dependability assessment, the A3 outperformed the Volvo V40, Ford Focus, and even the Honda Civic with a 93.6% reliability grade. The A3 has less well-known issues, yet it is more reliable than other Audis.