Midnight S4

Writing and Photography by Riley Koidahl.

When the owner first tossed me the keys, I wasn't sure what to expect. Coming from classic cars, my idea of the perfect driving experience involves a connectedness that you can only get from analog features - manual steering, a manual gearbox, and the likes.

Fortunately for me, this 2015 Audi S4 benefited from a handful of tasteful modifications, upping its visceral characteristics without taking away from the refined nature of a new car.

Lowered over gray Vorsteiner wheels, the car was tight and planted, and felt eager to be thrown around corners.

An Armytrix Valvetronic exhaust awoke the S4, giving it an additional 14 horsepower whilst maintaining a relatively refined sound; that is, until the valves were opened. With the exhaust valves in the open position, it sounded like an F1 car, with the volume to match. A unique feature of the Valvetronic exhaust was the intermediary setting: quiet around town, but once you hit 4k RPM, the valves begin to open, giving you more power and, obviously, more noise.

Overall, the car provided an enjoyable experience from the smooth power delivery, taught handling, and loud exhaust, but at the end of the day, it still felt too dumbed down, or "refined," for my liking. With that said, I'm sure the S4 makes a great daily driver, but for a weekend toy, I'll stick to a classic.