A look back at the 1992 Audi S4

Out of a rich history that originates in the early 20th century, Audi as we know it was born from corporate mergers in 1969. The first Audi model came to the U.S. for the 1970 model year, and the rest is automotive history. Audi’s latest model, the 2019 A7 Sportback, just took center stage at a debut event in Ingolstadt, Germany, Audi’s hometown. The four-door coupe is stunningly gorgeous and features some cutting-edge technology and high-horsepower drivetrains.

But, it was 1992 that Audi earnestly began competing in the sports sedan segment. The model of choice: The S4. This compact sedan came with a potent, 2.2-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder good for 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The little five boasted high-tech stuff for its day, too, including dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and an air-to-water intercooler for the turbo. A five-speed manual transmission was the only gearbox offered. Of course, being an Audi, the 1992 S4 came with Quattro AWD. Even this version of Quattro could split torque variability between the front and rear axles depending on traction, sending as much as 70 percent to the front wheels. Fuel economy wasn’t a strong suit, however, only returning an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Then again, that’s pretty good for a 227-horse, AWD car from the early 1990s.

Audi wasn’t afraid of making a limited-edition car for the U.S., either, as only 250 examples of the ’92 S4 came Stateside. More became available for the 1993 model though. Not surprisingly, all were sold out rather quickly, despite its hefty price tag of $44,750. That’s roughly $80,000 today. Still, Audi quickly built its reputation here in the U.S. and has seen big success ever since.

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