Audi made big news at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show with the introduction of an electric compact SUV concept that likely will make it into production, but something that flew under the radar was the release of a new S4.
In all fairness, the new A4 on which the S4 is based was introduced roughly three months earlier, but you’d think the top models in the A4 line would still get a fair amount of attention.
“At Audi, we have more than 20 years of expertise in developing our sporty S models,” says Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Audi Board of Management for Technical Development. “From day one, our formula for success has been a combination of outstanding Quattro performance, restrained design, and state of the art drive train, suspension, and infotainment technology. The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant impressively continue this sporty tradition.”
Available in all-wheel drive sedan and wagon models (S4 and S4 Avant, respectively), the cars benefit from a turbocharged 3.0 litre direct injected V6 engine that makes 354 hp and 370 lb.ft. of torque. That grants the cars zero to 100 km/h times of 4.7 seconds and a top speed limited to 250 km/h. The cars tip the scales at 1,630 kg (3593.5 lb) and 1,675 kg (3692.7 lb) – sedan and wagon, respectively.
And therein probably lies the reason for downplaying the new cars – performance is really not that much better than that of the Ford Focus RS introduced around the same time. The all-wheel drive Focus RS makes 350 hp and 350 lb.ft. from a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. It does the 0-100 sprint in about five seconds but can attain a top speed of 265 and is likely considerably more fuel efficient than the Audi models.
The S4s use the latest version of the eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, with sequential gear shifts available at the driver’s fingertips through steering wheel paddles. Power is channelled to the road via Quattro permanent all-wheel drive that puts 60 percent of power at the rear under normal operating conditions. When needed it can adapt to divert up to 70 percent to the front or 85 percent to the rear. S4s ride on standard 18-inch wheels, which can be optioned up to 19-inchers.
The multi-link suspension front and rear allows the S4 to handle all kinds of driving conditions, with the S sport suspension option making the cars sit 23 mm (just under an inch) lower than the basic model. Various adjustments to dampers, steering and the differential allows the driver to have complete control over several drive modes in Audi’s drive-select system.
The five-person interior is upholstered in a combination of Nappa leather and Alcantara, available in ebony, rotor grey and magma red. The most noteworthy features are the virtual cockpit (which allows driver’s to select the instrumentation displayed in front of the wheel) and the improved MMI (Multi Media Interface), which now behaves in a way similar to today’s Smartphones, including a free text search feature. Control over the MMI is afforded by speech, steering wheel buttons or the traditional controls on the centre console. New levels of connectivity turns the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers to use external mobile devices or the driver to access online-services.
The Avant cargo area expands to 1,510 litres (53.3 cubic feet). It also features electrically controlled hatch door and cargo cover, and aluminum roof rails.
The cars will be available early in 2016.