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Should I buy my son an S4?

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Old 07-15-2014, 06:01 AM   #1
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Default Should I buy my son an S4?

'm looking for a mix of parenting and car buying advice here.
Here's the situation: My son is getting his drivers license in August, and he has a job that requires him to have a car. He is a car enthusiast. He helped me pick out my Continental Supersports and my R8. I know he is expecting something awesome for his first car, having been around awesome cars his whole life. He is a good kid for the most part; extremely smart (though he is a B student), personable and passionate about baseball and cars. However, despite everything I just said about him being a good kid, he has his share of "bad kid" traits. And while I won't name them all, my primary concern is his irresponsibility (threw a house party while my wife and I were in Europe just one month ago), and him having a lack of respect for money (which is why I made him get a job).

I've been thinking about getting one of the following cars for my son.

2014 MB C350 4Matic
2014 Chrysler 300 SRT8
2014 Audi S4

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:19 AM   #2
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Obviously, from your sig money isn't an issue and good for you... I'd just give him the Viper nothing safer for a newb driver than a 500+ HP RWD car... lol Seriously, though I'd go something a little safer like an A4 and maybe send him to a driving school for his own safety... S4 would be a very nice first car and is AWD but can still get away from you if you're not a decent driver...
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:41 AM   #3
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Not to be judgmental, but you asked....

I would NEVER get a 16 year old newly-licensed driver an S4 or anything like it. Kids are stupid, even the smart ones. I learned to drive in Volvos that were built (and drove) like tanks. Boring, but I'm still here. My first sporty car was a Honda Prelude that I bought at 25, then went through a couple of M3s before my current S4. I could have driven an M3 or S4 at 16, but the combination of temptation and immaturity is potentially lethal. Seems like every summer I read stories of rich kids in high school dying in sports cars that their parents bought them. No guarantees, of course: a bunch of kids around here were killed a few months ago in a minivan crash. But kids are by nature irresponsible, and the temptation presented behind the wheel of a fast car is too much for a 16 year old, IMO. And it's not just your kid -- think about the friends that will be riding with him, and the other drivers on the road.

I second the prior poster's suggestion, go with an A4 or something similar. Still a ridiculously nice first car.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:45 AM   #4
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No I would not get him an S4. While it's a great car, if you put in in Dynamic Mode and don't treat it with skill and respect it turns into a vicious animal bent on murdering you. Naturally this is the first thing a 16 year old boy will do with it. The least is he'll crash it. The worst is he'll crash it at ludicrous speed and injure himself or others. While the car is very safe, no car does well in 100+ MPH crashes. You already said he doesn't have respect for money, so he will drive it like you can buy him another one tomorrow.

Get him something with less than 200 horsepower and a stick shift until he learns to drive. Make him pay for the insurance too.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:49 AM   #5
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No. Get him an A4.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggsy2006 View Post
Not to be judgmental, but you asked....

I would NEVER get a 16 year old newly-licensed driver an S4 or anything like it. Kids are stupid, even the smart ones. I learned to drive in Volvos that were built (and drove) like tanks. Boring, but I'm still here. My first sporty car was a Honda Prelude that I bought at 25, then went through a couple of M3s before my current S4. I could have driven an M3 or S4 at 16, but the combination of temptation and immaturity is potentially lethal. Seems like every summer I read stories of rich kids in high school dying in sports cars that their parents bought them. No guarantees, of course: a bunch of kids around here were killed a few months ago in a minivan crash. But kids are by nature irresponsible, and the temptation presented behind the wheel of a fast car is too much for a 16 year old, IMO. And it's not just your kid -- think about the friends that will be riding with him, and the other drivers on the road.

I second the prior poster's suggestion, go with an A4 or something similar. Still a ridiculously nice first car.
AGREE TOTALLY! IMHO, they need to develop a car with extreme crash protection and a 65mph governor that everyone under the age of 18 would be required to drive. Not happening any too soon though. BTW, your son will probably be just as happy with an A4 S line as he would with an S4. Visually they will look very similar. Also, getting a A4 rather than an S4 does not guarantee that you son could not get in trouble with the A4. But with the S4, the additional power might be too tempting not to try out. The S4 is Not designed for an inexperienced young driver.

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Old 07-15-2014, 09:31 AM   #7
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I was the same when I was growing up. I've always loved cars and I used to find cars for my father (albeit in a different price bracket). I therefore always had access to large engined powerful cars. In my first month of driving, I had more 'issues' let's say (knock on wood) thank I have had in 15 years of driving since. You need to explain to him that a car can be like a weapon in the wrong hands - it can kill. That's not something to be taken lightly.

Again like others on this forum, his is inevitably inexperience and you have no idea how good a driver he will actually be though be might be passionate about cars. A lot of that does come from experience.

My suggestion is down to my assumption that you have a decent budget and you want him to have a fun driving experience. I would recommend the 2015 Audi A3 Sedan (or even the MB CLA250). Although it's a shade smaller than the A4/S4, it's full of the latest tech and if you go for a Prestige with Sport pack it'll look the part too. This along with some track day experience will be a great way for him to get exposure to handling a powerful car with over 200 bhp and a decent sized turbo.
Oh, and if he doesn't really need a 4-door, then consider the all new 2015 Audi TT. That will be a head turner.

Sorry for the lengthy reply, but it's a topic very near and dear to my heart. Good luck to you both with whatever choice you make!
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:39 AM   #8
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I'm no lawyer, but I think you might ought to consider your own personal liability should you buy him an S4 and he goes out and does something stupid or just dangerous with it and hurts or kills other people. Kind of the contributory negligence "give a kid a loaded gun" thing. You could become the target above what the insurance company pays out. I had personal experience with 2 sons, and thankfully they both came through it, . For this reason, I agree with most of the comments above. I can foresee the immature attitude of "I deserve this, I can do what I want to with it, and I'm invincible with it." Not to disrespect your desire to give your son a nice car, I think the lack of investment in it may preclude proper respect for it and what it can do. The peer pressures and bad judgment that come with it are real, and I have buried some of my young military personnel because of it.
My advice: you want him to grow up to be a capable, forward-thinking driver. As a safety officer, my mantra was always to think "what could happen if...." Buy a car with reasonable performance, good vehicle dynamics and brakes, and focus on teaching him car control and constant awareness for the "what if" including what other drivers are doing (or not doing). I'd say let him earn an S4 in a few years through demonstrated capability, maturity.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:41 AM   #9
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Agree with others... I'd say A3 or A4 at best. Cited lack of respect for money and irresponsibility might make me pause to give him anything right now to be honest, particularly with the house party only a month ago.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:57 AM   #10
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16 years old, irresponsible, lack of respect for money...I think you answered your own question.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Great advice from everyone. I think an A3 or A4 is not only more than enough, but these are really, really nice vehicles that most people who work everyday of their lives still not afford. You obviously can, so I don't see an issue getting your son a nice car, but if he starts off with an S4 what's he going to drive once he's out on his own? I'm sure he's smart but not many people exit college and get a job that affords them a place to live plus an S4. So not only is the vehicle dangerous because of it's capabilities, but perhaps it is setting him up for unrealistic expectations when he's out on his own.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:13 AM   #12
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Honestly I've always felt that a Jeep Wrangler is the way to go for a new driver, here's why:

they are fun in their own right - but not because they are fast - in fact they aren't fun to drive fast, nobody is going to race with one

they are pretty tough and don't show damage the way cars do

they are still cool, and aren't looked at as some sort of econobox

you can still get them in manual, which means the driver has to pay more attention

they are cheap (relatively) to own an fix

they don't comfortably fit 4 people (barring the unlimited) so you're less likely to have a car full of kids racing around

they have excellent resale value and are easy to unload

you can customize the hell out of them, if you're in to that

or, conversely, a land rover defender 90 (if you can source one) has most of the above benefits but is a land rover
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickFLS4 View Post
Agree with others... I'd say A3 or A4 at best. Cited lack of respect for money and irresponsibility might make me pause to give him anything right now to be honest, particularly with the house party only a month ago.
Based on the other recommendations , I think the A3 is the better way to go.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:04 PM   #14
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Give him something AWD, but NA with some bells and whistles.

Safe, fun, and can be fast if you really (really) want to make it fast. That way he learns on something that won't leave him in a wheelchair while he learns to be smart with it (or less likely to).

An S4 is just too much car for a 16 year old. Even an 02 2.7T would be too much. It was pointed out earlier, but all young boys are idiots...it's imbued in our souls. Heck, I'm 34 and I still make some questionable choices (though not with cars ). The thing I have going for me though is experience behind the wheel. Without that, it's a financial liability. And for the record, this thread is now published and there's a record out there saying you were concerned about it. Something you'll regret if anything ever happens... Just sayin'.

Get him something modest. If you've got cash, something modest & exotic. That way he's got something with cache, but also something that isn't as big of a liability... My $0.02 I'm done rambling...
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:10 PM   #15
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Get him an A3. Tell him to divide his rate per hour by the total cost of the car. This will tell him how long before taxes it would take him to buy one on his own. Let him show you how responsible he really is ++cough++. Maybe in a couple of years, when he saves his own hard earned money he can upgrade to a S4 or S5 with your help. This way you get the best of both worlds.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:12 PM   #16
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Is this a joke?!
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:28 PM   #17
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Looking at this again...you live in Florida. Weather isn't much of an issue, stay an occasional rainstorm or hurricane...so FWD wouldn't be off the table here. Get him a Focus ST if you want to be the 'cool dad', or something else new with econobox traits...
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Muggsy2006 View Post
Not to be judgmental, but you asked....

I would NEVER get a 16 year old newly-licensed driver an S4 or anything like it.
Kids are stupid, even the smart ones.


+1

If you love your son buy him something slower to learn how to drive and instead send him to drivers education events or so called "HPDE" high performance drivers education events, there he will learn how a car handles on high speeds and turns.

He can certainly take your car to attend and you may want to attend as well.

Always remember the best car is useless if you don't know how to drive it!
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:07 PM   #19
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why not combine the two lessons?, responsibility and respect for money, match him dollar for dollar on whatever he saves up from working and get him something reasonable for an inexperienced 16 yr old boy
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:23 PM   #20
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I would suggest you shop Audi certified A3's and A4's. No need to get a teenager something brand new.....Make it cool with a nice set of after market wheels, perhaps using the stock rims for winter tires if your location warrants. I also strongly suggest you enroll him in an accredited performance driving school which he will think is not only cool, but teaches respect for speed and the skills to be a competent and safe driver. The Audi Club for Golden Gate, and perhaps others, puts on teen clinics and other driving experience events that you might find helpful.

Two schools on stick vs. auto..I lean towards stick as I requires more engagement with driving and aids in understanding car control and vehicle dynamics..
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:23 PM
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