At first glance, there isn't much to differentiate the B6 Audi A4 from the S4 besides aluminum mirrors, lower door trim and badges. Of course the wheels, brakes and interior are slightly different but in the tuning world, enthusiasts commonly change up these parts anyways, so the distinction of Audi's flagship S model can easily be lost.
That is until you pop the hood and feast your eyes on the engine within. It was a controversial move by Audi to ditch the successful and highly-tuneable 2.7L twin-turbo V6 from the B5 S4 for the 4.2L V8 in the next generation S4, but enthusiasts like Carson Yang embraced the change.
"All I wanted was either an Audi A4 1.8T or 3.0 but my girlfriend wanted better so I went with the 4.2 liter instead," Carson grinned.
"I really liked everything about the car. I just wish its MPG were a little better!"
Five years ago, Carson picked up this brand new '04 S4. It was his first project car and he didn't know what to do with it. Like angels on his shoulder, renowned car club TWCompetition came to the rescue and introduced the young equity trader to a network of enthusiasts and industry connections. "I received a lot of advice from them such as choosing HRE, Brembo and Oettinger parts - I couldn't go wrong with any of those companies," he explained.
Carson started his S4 project by tastefully personalizing the exterior. For a noticeably more aggressive appearance, he installed the entire Oettinger package, which included a front valance, side skirts, front grille and roof spoiler. An Oettinger valance was also molded to the rear bumper to match the OE styling.
The most extravagant ingredient was the new paint. The car was formerly Dolphin grey but after a vandalism incident, Carson had the car sprayed in Porsche Seal grey which "has more pearl in the paint," he elaborated.
Another visually-stunning aspect of the S4 was the wheel and brake combination. A vivid set of five-spoke 19x8.5" HRE 545R wheels complemented the massive front and rear Brembo big-brakes. Because switching to a rear big brake kit sacrificed the factory e-brake mechanism, Carson used Brembo components to retrofit a workable handbrake.
Undoubtedly, the biggest difference between the A4 and S4 lay under the hood. Equipped with a 4.2 V8 rated at 339hp, the S4 summons more power than a stock BMW E46 M3. With so much power already available from the factory, Carson didn't care to change much. He installed a LaBree dual cat-back exhaust with downpipes to unleash the roar of the eight-cylinder motor. GIAC software and a Stratmosphere intake system gave the motor even more usable horsepower and quicker throttle response.
The last piece of performance added was the KW Variant 3 coilovers, which allow the suspension to adjust in height and damping. H Sport sway bars ensured body roll was also kept to a minimum.
Stepping inside, Carson kept the interior refined and luxurious. Not wanting to lose the classiness of the S4, the leather OE Recaro seats were reupholstered in Silk Nappa black and grey suede. The headliner, pillars and rear deck were also reupholstered in suede, while factory carbon-fiber pieces from Europe were sourced for the trim.
There's no arguing Carson had built a fine automobile, but the electronics are what truly put this Audi on another level. Carson was absolutely meticulous about the audio. "I had to redo the audio three times until it came out the way I liked it," he revealed.
The original head unit was ditched for an Alpine flip-up 6.5" touchscreen monitor. It controlled the professional-quality Audison two-way speakers and JL Audio 10W7 subs with a pair of Audison amps powering the entire stereo.
For show purposes, a Sony PS2 was fitted in the glovebox, although Carson switched to a Nintendo Wii after the photoshoot. Adding more glamour, three monitors stretch across the trunk lid in a suede enclosure, while the setup was finished in a combination of ultra-suede and fiberglass. Finally, LED lights were scattered throughout the system to provide illuminations at night.
After waiting patiently for the audio's completion, Carson has proudly shown his first project car across the West Coast, winning awards at events such as New Dimensions, waterwagens and Hot Import Nights.
"I want people to know I didn't just mod the car to show. I really took good care of it," he concluded. "That's why it still looks good after five years of driving."
Today, Carson takes his S4 on the road only on sunny days, and he's also picked up a B5 S4 Avant to play with. He's now debating whether to supercharge the V8 or go all-out on the 2.7T wagon. But it's not everyday we run into a young guy into S4-Play.
2004 AUDI S4
Owner: Carson Yang
Location: Eugene, OR
Occupation: equity trader
4.2 liter V8 with LaBree dual cat-back exhaust, downpipes without cats, APR engine snub mount, GIAC software, Stratmosphere HyperFlow induction system
six-speed manual with Stratmosphere HyperShift short shifter
355mm front and 345mm rear two-piece drilled Brembo Gran Turismo big brake kits with four-piston calipers, custom Brembo e-brake upgrade
KW V3 coilovers, H Sport front and rear sway bars
Wheels & Tires:
19x8.5" HRE 545R wheels with 235/35-19 Falken FK-452 tires
Oettinger front spoiler, molded rear valance, side skirts, front grille and roof spoiler, charcoal window tint, Valeo Xenon headlights, LED tail lights, EuroDezigns 8500K HID bulbs, Jam Straight LED city lights with 10-35LE load equalizers, dual rear foglight retrofit, Porsche Seal grey paint
Recaro seats, headliner, pillars, rear deck and shift boot reupholstered in Silk Nappa black and grey ultra-suede, Schroth Rallye 4 quick-fit harnesses and pads, Oettinger aluminum pedals and footrest
Alpine IVA-D901 multimedia controller and three TME-M770 6.5" touch panel widescreen LCD monitors, two Audison VRx 4.300.2 four-channel amplifiers, four HL12 crossover modules and four TRM6 cooling duct extensions, two DLS Ultimate Iridium 6.2 two-way speaker systems, two JL Audio 10w7 subwoofers, Sony PS2, Boss Audio Cam20 rearview camera, Black Box R1 video bypass, Stinger SXFD04 fused distribution, two SC201C capacitors and speaker cables, Street Glow LEDs, Kinetik HC 600 Power Cell, Dynamat Extreme in trunk and trunk lid, B-Quiet Extreme deadener in doors, ultra-suede amp rack, trunk lid and panels, fiberglass enclosure painted grey, neon tubes
TWCompetition, Eric and Andy at Carrozzeria Design, Peter at Wheel Experts, Aaron at 3LG Auto Detail, Josh at Achtuning, Matt, Mark and Sam at Evolution Sports, Matt and Dave at Sound Sational, Falken Tire, Shell V-Power