Originally published on DriveModeShow.com. Reprinted with permission.

Yes, it’s worth it.  

Audi is known as a luxury performance brand, which means it makes cars not everyone gets the chance to drive. They’re the cars you see in traffic or maybe in the parking lot at the mall and wish were yours. That’s the moment you do a bit of rationalization in your head and tell yourself it’s silly to spend that kind of money on a car and you’re just fine in your [insert boring car here]. After spending some time in the S4 sedan and Q7 SUV, we can wholeheartedly say that spending your hard-earned cash on a luxury car gives you an experience that’s worth every penny.

2020 Audi S4: does it perform as well as we’d hoped? 

This year, Audi gave the S4 a host of upgrades that take what was already quite a nice sedan and make it even better. Park last year’s S4 alongside this year’s model and you will see myriad small changes that give it a sportier, more elegant look. This is a performance sedan, not just an appliance designed to get you from point A to point B. Instead it gets you there in style and with a smile on your face.

The S4 sits at the top of the A4/S4 lineup as the sportiest of the lot. Pricing for the base A4 starts at $37,400 while the S4 comes in at $49,900. What you get for that price increase is additional power, improved handling, and a more luxurious interior.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. That’s a lot of power for a sedan and it shows when you step on the gas. The S4 accelerates smoothly and evenly and makes merging into heavy traffic effortless.

As for the dreaded turbo lag – that brief hesitation when you first mash the pedal – it’s there, but only when you’re being extremely aggressive. Most of the time you aren’t hitting the gas like you’re trying to win a race, so the turbo lag is barely an issue.

As for comfort, this is every bit a luxury car. Leather and Alcantara seats with heavy bolstering hold you in place without squishing larger frames. They’re 8-way adjustable with massage and heat to ease your tired muscles.

Infotainment boasts a new 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard. It’s easy to see and easy to use with a short learning curve so even passengers who are completely unfamiliar with the system will find it workable.

The 2020 Audi S4 offers a true luxury experience in a performance sedan. That’s all well and good, but what if you have a family and need seating for more than five passengers?

2020 Audi Q7: family-focused and still sporty

You don’t have to give up the idea of luxury simply because you have a family. The Audi Q7 has three rows of seating with room for up to seven passengers with a luxurious, performance-focused experience similar to what’s found in the S4 sedan.

It even offers the same engine, although with a small dip to 335 horsepower. This is a large vehicle so you  might think that would kill performance, but don’t worry. The Q7 is still a spirited and sporty SUV.

The biggest performance difference is in the handling. This is an SUV, not a sedan, so on tight twisty roads it feels bigger with more body roll, but it’s not enough to dull the fun of driving the Q7.

While the second row is roomy, the third row is tight. Headroom is too low for tall adults and even those of average height will need to move that second row forward to fit. It’s best reserved for the kids. When it comes time for cargo instead of people, there’s up to 72.4 cubic feet of room for your stuff.

Pricing on the Q7 starts a bit higher at $54,800 for the base model, which has a less powerful engine. The top trim, which is what we drove, comes in at $60,800.

Not everyone can afford a luxury car, but for those who can, Audi offers good reason for the investment. The S4 sedan and Q7 SUV offer upscale interiors and powerful performance that don’t disappoint. Both are available at dealerships now.

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Nicole is a well-known automotive journalist living in the Northeastern United States. She is a current member and former Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association and a member of the International Motor Press Association. She is also a Women’s World Car of the Year juror. You'll find her base camp at http://www.nicolewakelin.com

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