The S4 is designed to be an all-around driver's car. In stock form the car performs impressively for a stately 4-door sedan, but is truly nothing special. In September of 1999, the S4 beat out the BMW M3, Mercedes Benz C43 AMG, and Saab Viggen in Car and Driver's Sport Sedan comparison. The Audi posted top honors in the acceleration events posting a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds and running the quarter mile in 14.2 @ 98 mph. Production S4's are electronically limited to a top speed of 143 mph, but would reach 157 without electronic intervention.
Stock is never good enough...especially when there is so much potential to be tapped. The S4's power delivery is very smooth, making it feel slower than it really is. It's deceptively fast. By adding a chip and cat back exhaust system, my started out at a "Stage II" level of tune. (I drove the car stock for only one week.) With those modifications, my S4 ran 0-60 in about 4.7 seconds. Although I'm not very concerned about drag racing times, I did make a 13.19@105 mph quarter mile pass on 11/01/2003. This was my first time EVER at a dragstrip however, so a professional driver (such as a magazine may use) could probably extract a run closer to 13.0 if not 12's out of my car. With the top speed limiter removed courtesy of the upgraded chip, speeds of 170+ mph are attainable. The #146 car in the 2003 Gumball Rally (2000 Stage II S4) reached GPS verified speeds of 175 mph.
Currently with the larger turbos and supporting hardware, the car should run 0-60 mph in about 4.0 seconds, run the quarter mile in the 11's, and top out just over 180 mph (gearing limited). I have had no problems reaching the 7050 RPM rev limter in 6th gear out on the German Autobahns. Using a borrowed GPS, I confirmed the accuracy of the speedometer and reached 177 mph (286 km/h) with more power left to go.
I'll get this off my chest immediately. The S4 is not a drag car. Some people insist on dumping thousands of dollars into their S4's to get better times at the drag strip. I for one have never understood this. A V-8 powered musclecar is much better suited to this task, but I digress.
Keep in mind the below took place with ECU chip and exhaust being my only real performance mods. Now with the new turbos, the car is significantly quicker. I would guess in the low 12/high 11 second range. Hopefully we shall see.
A few friends of mine are more into the drag racing scene than I am. One had mentioned a few times that I should run my car. This piqued my attention as I was curious to see what kind of impact my modifications had on striaght line performance. My butt-dyno told me the chip dramatically improved acceleration times. One cool fall day I decided to make a trip to the track to see what I could run. I added some Toluene to a 1/4 tank of 93 octane to produce an approximately 100 octane mix. This was done so I could run the XR setting on my ECU. Other than high octane fuel and removing the spare tire, no other changes were made to the car.
The day went well. I ended up taking 4 runs. I won all 4 races ('03 Mustang Mach I, '03 Mitsubishi Evo, and '03 Dodge Neon SRT-4 being notable wins). My best run of the day was a 13.19@105 against the Mustang. As said before, a more experienced racer would have been able to extract a better time, but the risk was not worth it to me. I launched at only 3500 rpm and did not speedshift or powershift. My best 1.80 60' time was respectable...but definitely leaves room for improvement. Overall, I was quite satisfied with my car's performance. Perhaps I will take another trip to the track, but I doubt it will become a regular habit with this car. For comparison, here is a database combining S4 drag times and the corresponding modifications. My Audiworld.com handle is Verrückt.
Now this form in racing I am much more interested in! I had planned on attending an Autocross in the area over the summer, but this never panned out. I would prefer to have an upgraded rear sway bar (to dial out understeer) and coilover suspension before I autocross the car. A 3600 pound sedan needs every advantage it can get.
With the car finally at a state of tune appropriate for serious track performance, I took the S4 out to Germany's legendary Nürburgring. The combination of the K16 turbo torque/power, Stasis Tracksport suspension, and ECS Stage IV braking system proved itself to be a formidable setup on the track. I had no problems keeping up with various Porsches, BMW's and Corvettes. The handling is nearly void of the horrid understeer Audi AWD cars are notorious for. The brakes were solid and confidence inspiring. Glancing at the speedo, I found myself going up to 40 mph faster than my normal BMW 535i track car through many sections...an eye opening experience to say the least! I fully realize the limiting factor is the driver behind the wheel, not the car at this point. Stay tuned for more track updates. I plan on also running the S4 at the Hockenheim Ring and Belgium's Spa Grand Prix circuit.
In its current state, I can dip into the 8 minute lap range on the Nürburgring.
Here is a video illustrating an 9:03 minute (bridge-to-bridge) lap on the Nürburgring in the S4.
-Pictures From Running the S4 at the Nürburgring-