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Esquire's 2010 COTY is the 2010 Audi S4 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Esquire, the purveyor of printed pages packed with ads and male-centric eye-candy, has released its list of 2010 automotive award winners. The top award is the Car of the Year and the magazine is handing that title to the 2010 Audi S4. Esquire makes a strong statement behind its reasoning, and it's hard to argue with its logic.
Numbers and stats are starting points, but we believe that the Esquire Car of the Year should make you feel something deep in your gut. You should lust for it and dream about it, but it shouldn't be an impossible goal. It must be attainable for the average man. It should sit in front of your house or office without drawing attention to itself and tackle four seasons of day-to-day transportation with ease. Yet crucially, sometimes, without warning, it must make you snatch the keys off the wall, haul off to the country and just drive.
After putting our own butts in the driver's seat, we felt the B8 S4 was a wonderful leap forward over the past B6 and B7 iterations, particularly with the new supercharged V6 and trick torque vectoring sport differential.

Esquire hands out more than just a COTY award as well. The magazine scoured the current crop of automotive excellence and handed out check pluses for: Domestic Car of the Year, Hybrid of the Year, Most Awe-Inspiring Car Built This Year, Compact Car of the Year, Most Beautiful Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, Diesel Car of the Year, Best Foreign Comeback, Best Domestic Comeback and Best Expression of Automotive Passion. Who wins? You're going to have to make the jump to find out. And there's a nice little video of the Audi S4 happily accepting its award.

Photos copyright ©2009 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Esquire]

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Esquire Car Awards for Automotive Excellence Bestowed to Runners-Up

NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 13, 2010) – Esquire magazine named today the 2010 Audi S4 as the "Esquire Car of the Year." To select the second annual award for the year's most stunning and aggressive yet attainable vehicle, Esquire editors spent six months driving dozens of cars hundreds of miles, carving up mountain roads, slogging through traffic and blasting down interstates. The Esquire Car of the Year appears in the magazine's October issue, on newsstands September 21st. The 2010 Audi S4 succeeds last year's Esquire Car of the Year, the Ford Taurus SHO.

After months of test-driving, the choice was unanimous among the drivers. According to Esquire: "When word got out that Audi was redesigning the S4 for 2010, no one expected the mold to be broken. But break it did." Though the new S4 features a number of upgrades including a new, direct-injected and supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and increased torque and fuel economy, the real achievement is the way the engine blends into the whole car. The magazine continues, "Gone is the look-at-me beast of old. The new S4 is as confident and mature as other sport sedans are loud and insecure...That you can snag an S4 without spending a fortune is impressive; that it costs thousands less than a similarly equipped BMW or Mercedes-Benz is nothing short of a miracle."

In explaining its criteria, Esquire notes that numbers are just one way to measure best of class: "Speed, grip, handling, even the timbre of an engine's howl – we can measure that stuff down to a fraction...And yet this misses the point. Cars are subjective, emotional things. Car awards are even more subjective. Numbers and stats are starting points, but we believe that the Esquire Car of the Year should make you feel something deep in your gut. You should lust for it and dream about it, but it shouldn't be an impossible goal. It must be attainable for the average man."

"Over several months and many miles, we drove cars -- cars that are the most powerful, most attractive and most thrilling that the auto industry has to offer," says Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger. "While a number of the cars we tested were terrific, the Audi S4 truly deserved top honors. Its rare combination of speed, force, design, and price makes the end result a triumph."

In addition to the Esquire Car of the Year award, the magazine bestowed a number of additional honors for the "Esquire Car Awards for Automotive Excellence," saluting best new and current vehicle releases:

• Domestic Car of the Year – 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: It's bold as hell. Everything American luxury – and a Cadillac – should be.

• Hybrid of the Year – 2011 Honda CR-Z: What we have here isn't quite a sports car, but it's not the typical hybrid sleeping pill, either. It's something the green-car world greatly needs – sporty fun.

• Most Awe-Inspiring Car Built This Year – 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: It apes the form factor: You climb in through a freaking hatch, like an astronaut or a test pilot. With this, it seems, you could go anywhere and do anything. Isn't that what cars are all about?

• Compact Car of the Year – 2011 Ford Fiesta: The Fiesta somehow offers the poise and quiet comfort of a car twice its size. It's also cheap, easy on fuel, and a barrel of giggles in corners.

• The Most Beautiful Car of the Year – 2010 Aston Martin Rapide: The Rapide is the Helen of Troy of four-door sedans, a 470-hp V-12-powered ball of white light that makes every other car on the planet look like a rusty shopping cart. This is art.

• Truck of the Year – 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Long-travel Fox Racing suspension, 35-inch tires, and an optional 411-hp 6.2-liter V-8 allow you to pull an Incredible Hulk and leap over most of the continent without breaking a sweat. Overkill? Exactly.

• Diesel Car of the Year – 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI: Whereas most inexpensive diesels feel like the rolling equivalent of sensible shoes, the 140-hp Volkswagen Golf TDI makes no bones about its sporting bent. A whopping 236 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm means you'll rarely want for tire-chirping thrust, and a small, nimble frame lets you chase down sports cars in the curves.

• Best Foreign Comeback – 2011 Jaguar XJ: The new XJ's bones mimic its predecessor but almost everything else was ditched. The suspension is supple, the steering sublime, and for the first time in years, people stop and stare as a big Jaguar wafts by. Tradition is fine, but sometimes you have to reboot. This is how.

• Best Domestic Comeback – 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The Cherokee is blessed with bank-vault rigidity, sharp road manners, and an unapologetically luxurious interior. It is a welcome sight, the kind of SUV that the brand, and America, deserve.

• Best Expression of Automotive Passion – 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible: In the end, Infiniti followed passion rather than practicality. The G37's trunk is a thimble with a lid on it, but the curves are hot. You have to love that heart.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad Audi made this car. It shows that an FI V6 can replace a NA V8 and still be fun to drive, something M3 fans have yet to accept. It also sets the bar higher for BMW and MB.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The RS4 is a competitor for the M3 performance-wise (even though it is slightly slower) but it's also a whopping $20,000 more expensive. With the exception of the A4 charging through the nose seems to be Audi's game plan as they tried to price the S4 at $56,000 before realizing they would have zero takers at that price. I don't understand how you can all of a sudden lower the price of a car that has not even been sold yet by $9,000 but it's good they realized before it went on the market or it would have been a real slow seller.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I'm glad Audi made this car. It shows that an FI V6 can replace a NA V8 "

        well yeah... um... but the s4 started as a FI V6 and went to NA V8 for sh*ts and giggles. There's no reason it shouldn't return to FI V6 for a car of this caliber and performance.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I feel the same way about this award as if it had been given by "Gay Monthly" magazine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I test drove a used E92 M3 and a new Audi S4 in December 2009. The S4 is nice like a good tuxedo at a wedding. The M3 is *fricking awesome* like a leather jacket at a Sons of Anarchy chopper raid. Guess which one I got?
      • 4 Years Ago

      You're full of s*#t.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No ... I would take the S4 over the 5 series in an instant. Here,... offer me both and I'll show you.
      • 4 Years Ago

      I understand your concern, so if the 5 Series is the business suit, what's the S4... skinny jeans and a hoodie with an iphone in a coffee shop looking at facebook on their macbook? Give me the business suit. If you haven't graduated to it, then you should start aiming in that direction. To me, the A4 is just a glorified VW step up vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would take the S4 over the 5 series in an instant. The 5 series is for the pretentious a$$ who cant afford a 7 series. The S4 is for those who prefer driving excitement over iDrive, wood trim, and 2 more inches of rear legroom. S4 drivers love to drive first and want luxury second. But not old stodgy luxury; modern high-tech luxury.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a current owner of a 2008 535xi, a previous owner of a 2005 S4, and a future owner of a 2011 S4, I think I can comment on the differences.

      First, the long-held perception that BMW is more reliable than Audi should be tossed out the window ASAP. Yes, there was a time when Audi made some real clunkers, but based on my experiences owning Audis vs BMWs, I can unequivocally say the BMWs have given me more problems than the Audis, namely the HPFP and sunroof leakage issues that kill the electronics. Furthermore, the build quality of the BMWs are not up to Audi's standards. Sloppy finishes, misaligned panels, weaker paint, and cheap dash materials are all over my BMW; Audi is far more meticulous and detail-oriented.

      But hey, if you want to subsidize your leases and financing in order to have the most vehicles on the road, I suppose you need to cut costs somewhere. :)

      The 5-series is a luxury car, not a driver's car. BMW fooled me, I'm embarrassed to admit. Even though the "Ultimate Driving Machine" is all over their marketing, the reality is only a few of their cars deserve that title, not the whole lineup. Shame on me. In short, I find my BMW "nice" to drive, and that's it. The car is not engaging, it's sometimes "floaty," and does bring out the animal in me like the S4. That said, it's a comfortable ride, and when the engine malfunction/reduced power warning is off, the twin-turbo offers up some pretty spectacular acceleration for a good-sized sedan.

      Comparing the performance of the two is the best example of apples to oranges I've ever heard.

      I can definitely see why Esquire made their choice -- the combination of handling, speed, luxury and function is basically unrivaled in a $55k package (very well equipped). A 535i for $49k must be totally stripped down, like not even having a steering wheel. My MSRP was $63k for a 2008, and I lack some hefty options like night vision or the abomination that is Active Steering.

      • 4 Years Ago
      And one of the reasons I say this is because the 535i can be had for $49k and the S4 starts at $47k.

      The 535i is just more car for the money and will definately hold it's value better than the S4. It's also safe to say that BMW's reliability is slightly better than Audi's and BMW has no maintainence for 4 years or 50,000 miles. Audi offers nothing. There's your $2000 price advantage right there.

      The 2011 5 Series also has more standard options and more available options that the Audi. I just don't see how that came to the conclusion that an overpriced A4 should capture this award?

      And the S4 gets 18/ 28 MPG and the 535i gets 20/ 30 MPG. So the bigger car gets better gas mileage.

      Like I said, what's going on over here?
        • 4 Years Ago

        The S4 is just an overpriced A4? Uh. So I'm guessing an M3 is just an overpriced 3 series...?

        With regards to price differences, it's very easy to purchase an equipped S4 for under $50K, providing you skip the navigation system and leather (the alcantara/leather seats are nicer anyways). You'll have a hard time finding a 535i at a dealership for that price. Build one yourself; once you tack on the packages, it's easy to pass $60K...

        As an owner of a 2010 A4, I've driven plenty of times with 3/4 passengers and we've never had issues with space or comfort. I've even had friends comment on how COMFORTABLE the car was to ride in during a packed ride. Hardly "crammed shoulder to shoulder", like you're suggesting. Additionally, the new A4's have grown considerably, and if you view the specifications between an A4 and a 535i (which aren't even class comparisons), the 535i is only about half an inch taller with regards to headroom in both the back and the front. I'd hardly consider the A4 to be a 'small' car. Moreover, your slightly larger interior dimensions cost you close to an extra $15-20K.

        Furthermore, the S4 is a sport sedan, whereas the 535i is a luxury sedan. I've seen B8 S4's at TWS/MSR in Texas a few times already, and they're great track cars, not to mention, have all-season capability, and are luxurious and quiet when you need it. You can't even get a 6-speed manual in the 535i. The 535i doesn't even compare on versatility.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I definitely agree with you on the Audi reliability. BMW's warranty not only means your car is totally taken care of for four years, but means to the potential used buyer that the car has been well maintained, increasing its value. I'm surprised the S4 has such a loyal following considering the B5 S4's reputation for astronomical repair costs. That car probably helped Garrett Turbochargers have some pretty fat years given how prone they were to grenading turbos.

        I guess the only reason the S4 won over the new 5 Series is the "sportiness" of it compared to the grown up character of the 5.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Looks like the 520d won Top Gear's sedan of the year. So I believe that my point stands, 5 Series > Audi's 4 Series... period. This isn't about size or class, the 5 is just a better car. I'd take a 520d or 535i over an S4 any, and I believe that the sales numbers would show the same. For the price, most people see more value in the 5 series, that's just the way it is. Not everyone buys a car for the track or to hit the twisties or even to compare drag times or 0 - 60 times. It's about refinement, luxury, practibility, driveability, and looks.

        Yea, the Audi looks cooler than the 5 Series, however, if I had $50k to drop, I'd pick the 5 series anyday.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey Scorch, I hope you saw this story http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/12/class-action-suit-alleges-bmw-n54-turbo-engine-unsafe-causes-un/ , it blows you BMW reliability myth out of the water
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess you haven't heard about the high pressure fuel pumps dying on 535's? There's no reason to expect it to be more reliable. And your mileage figures are off, 2011 535i is rated at 19/28, 1 mpg better in the city. And you can get 4 years of maintenance from an Audi dealer for $800, not a bad deal. A 535i for $49k? I guess you haven't looked on a dealer's lot, you won't find one for less than $56k.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Rev

        What does being fat have to do with sedan size? I don't care how skinny you are, putting four men in a 3 series or A4 isn't the most comfortable experience. It has a lot more to do with height than girth. I'm 6'2" and most of my friends are around the same height or taller than me and nobody wants to be crammed up shoulder to shoulder in an A4 or 3 Series or IS and have their knees against the front seat.

        Maybe you're just ghey or something since ghey guys tend to gravitate toward smaller cars... like single women. But real men like larger SEDANS. We don't like "baby" anything. If it's four doors, it needs to be able to fit 4 guys in the car comfortably. Is that asking too much?

        So which one is it, either you're short or ghey... or even better short and ghey.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks. And for $50k, why would you want a "baby" any 4 door car? Especially for "men". I'm 34 and unless it's a dedicated coupe, I'm not really looking at a small car like the Lexus IS, Audi A4/ S4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class.... unless it's R/M/AMG/F... sans the F lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that title also synonymous for Douchebag Car of the Year? lolz...
      • 4 Years Ago
      So many auto awards these days.
      • 4 Years Ago
      how much did Audi pay, and to whom did audi pay a generous fee to?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hummm, the S4 over the BMW 5 Series? I think that I'd give it to the new 5 Series.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ yaroukh your stupid comments about audi design's are getting a little old, go spew your filth somewhere else for a change.
        @ Justin clearly you didnt read the article as esquire's description for the car of the year fits the audi s4 perfect, and it isnt really necessary for me to post numerous links with audi s4 reviews beating out the competition.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hummmmmmm ahhh.... doesnt the 5 series compete with the A6, why not compare the 7 series to the S4 while your at it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        they definitely did not pay enough to their designers
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is an S4 in yellow at my dealer. It was then I decided I needed only one kidney.
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