If you're looking for a retro-classic AWD performance sedan, then the autoTRADER.ca Find of the week might be just the ticket. It's an oddball performance car that's increasingly rare on the road today, one that helped start a now-iconic performance brand off with a warble. It's a 1994 Audi S4, the Ur-S4.
The S4, introduced in 1991, was the first performance car from Audi to get the S badge. So early in Audi's evolution into a luxury performance brand, that the name isn't just derived from it being the sport version of the A4 like you might be thinking. This one isn't even based on the car that would become the A4.
Instead, it's based on the Audi 100, the fourth generation of that car, sitting on a chassis named – as it was the fourth-generation of the company's C-segment platform – the C4. This was a car launched just five years after the Audi unintended acceleration scandal, and though the NHTSA had ruled that to be drivers confusing the pedals, the company was still working on refurbishing its image. It was also only 10 years after the original Audi Quattro, the car that brought all-wheel drive to the performance car market, so while Audi wasn't all quattro all the time, there was an opportunity for them with this new model.
MORE RELATED ARTICLES
Originally called the Audi 100 S4, the car was intended as a replacement for the Audi 200 quattro turbo, but with the performance levels turned up. That started with a new engine. It was a 2.2L inline five-cylinder, fitted with a turbocharger, intercooler, and Bosche ECU. It made 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with that torque arriving from just 1,950 rpm. Combined with the five-speed manual, it could hit 100 km/h in about six seconds, which is enough to make it quick even by modern standards. A V8 would later hit the options list in Europe, but the wonderfully Audi five-pot was the only engine option you could get here.
The S4 was fitted with larger brakes than the standard 100, with a three-channel ABS system to help make sure you could get this Audi stopped. Hey, that was impressive for 1994, remember that ABS wasn't all that common yet back then.
Audi also fitted the car with some suspension, wheel, and tire upgrades to help make sure that it could handle the power, but this one's seen some upgrades from stock that should improve that even more. All part of a thorough restoration of a car that not everyone would bother to bring back to life.
It starts with H&R Sport springs, which give the car a slight lowering but shouldn't be enough to make it unusably low, and Bilstein Sport dampers handle the increased spring rates. The seller says that the strut mounts and bearings have been replaced with OEM parts, letting the new major suspension parts do their job. Bridgestone tires on 17-inch, three-piece OZ wheels give it a period-correct look, but the larger 17-inch size means that they don't look tiny by modern standards.
As part of the refurbishment, which saw the car repainted in factory white, it was fitted with a new front fender, new glass, and plenty of replacement mouldings and grilles. All things that can easily look dated on a car from 1994.
This one's for sale in Guelph, ON, and the seller says that in the five years they've owned it (and since the restoration) it has won several awards at local shows. If you're looking for one of the first S4s, the car that would become the S6 and which spawned a full range of S and RS cars, then they're hard to find in any condition. One that looks to be this well-loved is even more rare indeed.