For most car enthusiasts, there comes a time when the car as-delivered must evolve. Out of the box our 2010 Audi S4 with special Suzuka Grey paint from Audi Exclusive would make most anyone more than happy and our nearly flawless experience with the car has bolstered that opinion. Still, there’s always room for some improvement to better suit taste and in that our car is no different.
One of the most obvious changes you can make to a car is a new set of wheels. A different alloy can offer even more visual impact than a body kit and, as these things are often driven by personal taste in the determination of what is hot and what is not, it’s nice that wheels can be easily changed and removed.
From the factory our car had the optional 8.5X19 (ET43) “Tri-Five” Speedlines made most sought after following their introduction on the RS 6. As good as the Tri-five was, our set was currently fitted with snow tires and their bright silver finish didn’t exactly compliment our car’s rare Black Optics package from Audi Exclusive (blacked out kit that will be adopted as part of the Titanium Package for MY2011). In Europe, cars with black optics usually have dark wheels to match and we had one particularly aggressive wheel in mind that we’ve seen several times on Audi auto show stands in Europe.
The 19” Cortada design alloy is a 5-spoke design with machined triangular panels at the end of each spoke. This wheel pre-dates the new wheel seen on RS 5 and TTRS though it obviously inspired that very similar design. Sourced from BBS, Cortada benefits from hollow spokes and, even better, has just been added to the Audi Accessories line.
Identical in size and offset to our stock fitment, Cortada’s overall look is still quite a bit aggressive, though also versatile depending on the finish you choose. It’s available in silver, titanium or full gloss black and goes from more mild to most wild in that order. Shortly after ordering the S4 we were describing our special build to Audi design boss Stefan Sielaff and he suggested a gloss black wheel might best suit the look - this seemed the perfect choice. The gloss black Cortada is fairly factory in appearance and with a machined silver accent so it doesn’t look too dark.
At $1175 per corner this is not a cheap wheel but you get what you pay for. BBS is one of the most respected names in the wheel business, while hollow spokes bring per wheel weight down to 30.49 lbs per corner. That’s about 10% lighter than the stock Tri-Fives. And since we went with the gloss black version, we particularly appreciated that this included matching gloss-painted center caps.
To complete the look, we also swapped the S4’s platinum grey lug covers for an identical part from Volkswagen in a matte black finish for another $20.
Adding new wheels to the car, we also decided to take the opportunity to try out a new set of rubber. Our new Audi alloys were fitted with Michelin Pilot Sports in the same 255 35 19 sizing as stock. The Pilot Sport has always been one of the best high performance tires on the market and this latest evolution has tested quite well.
With new wheels and tires on the car, we’ve been particularly happy with our choice. We’ve taken extra care not to scratch the finish given any surface damage will really show on black. Just like a black-painted car, the look is simply stunning when freshly cleaned. Throw a few days of brake dust on there and the black begins to go matte but it still doesn’t look bad. The dark wheels totally compliment the black optics on our car and help to bring it all together.
Reception to the wheels has been surprising. Given the more radical design we expected reactions to be polarized and that much has been true. Since installing the Cortadas the car has been displayed at a few events and we note that older owners or owners of older Audis tend to be more cold on the look. That said, younger owners and owners of newer Audis, likely less traditional, are much more receptive to it. Even more, those who like the wheel tend to be even that much more vocal about their appreciation of it and the car gets a substantially increased amount of compliments by passers by since fitting the wheels. We’ve literally had one guy even get out of his car at a red light to pay a compliment. We ramp up in appreciation is happening because, while we’d have never called the Tri-Fives conservative, the gloss back Cortadas have so much of a visual impact and are so unlike most any other wheel on the market. We remain quite pleased.
<table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"> <tr> <td bgcolor="#D4D4D4"><b><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">PARTS INSTALLED:</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#E5E5E5"><p><font size="1"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">(4) 19” Cortada Wheel with Gloss Black Finish (#8K0071499B AX1) - $1175/ea Including center cap
(20) Lug Cover Cap in Matte Black (#321601173A 01C) - $1/ea
(4) Michelin Pilot Sport 255 35 ZR 19
4 Season 2010 Audi S4 Index
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