354PS, 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds – figures which could just as easily be associated with an RS model are now being delivered by the all-new Audi S4 and S4 Avant. The new performance flagships combine the intelligent lightweight design, completely re-engineered platform and unparalleled technological sophistication of the latest A4 with a completely new turbocharged V6 TFSI engine which replaces their predecessors’ supercharged unit. They will be available to order in the UK in the spring of 2016 ahead of first deliveries next summer.
“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.”
Lightweight and powerful: the 3.0 TFSI
The heart of the S models is a newly developed V6 engine with petrol direct injection and turbocharging. The 3.0 TFSI has an output of 354PS; its 500 Nm (368.8 lb‑ft) of torque is available across a wide range of speeds from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm. The engine outstrips its predecessor in terms of power and torque, while simultaneously offering significantly lower fuel consumption and weight.
The engine can accelerate the Audi S4 from 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds, and the electronic limiter kicks in at 155mph. Despite its considerably improved performance, the V6 is extremely efficient. In the NEDC cycle test, the S4 Saloon proves that it is capable of returning up to 38.2mpg, equating to 170 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
The new eight-speed tiptronic transmission is highly efficient and provides fast, comfortable and responsive gear changes. Whenever the driving situation allows, it switches to a freewheeling mode to save fuel.
In common with every Audi S model, the power of the 3.0 TFSI is transmitted to the road by quattro permanent all-wheel-drive. During normal driving, the self-locking centre differential funnels 60 per cent of engine torque to the rear axle and 40 per cent to the front. Depending on the operating situation, it can distribute up to 70 per cent to the front axle or up to 85 per cent to the rear. The wheel-selective torque control based on an intelligent software function rounds off the quattro drive train. For dynamic cornering, the wheels on the inside of the bend are slightly braked before they can break traction. This makes handling more precise, agile, and stable. A sport differential available as an option improves the handling further by actively distributing the forces between the rear wheels.
Intelligent dynamics: suspension
The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant handle corners of all kinds with aplomb – whether on a racetrack or a mountain pass. For fast motorway driving, both models feature impressive straight-line stability. This performance is down to the newly developed suspension. The five-link suspension on the front and rear axles precisely separates the longitudinal and transverse forces, thus ensuring optimum handling in all driving situations. Like the electromechanical power steering, both are designed to be very lightweight. Variable speed-dependent dynamic steering is available as an option.
The standard S sport suspension is 23 millimetres lower than on the basic model. The ride height is the same with the optional suspension with active damper control. Along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and optional sport differential, this variable damping system, known as CDC or Continuous Damper Control, can be modulated via the Audi drive select handling system which is fitted as standard. This enables the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics across several modes.
The standard 18 inch wheels in 5‑twin-spoke star design roll on 245/40 size tyres. A 19‑inch alternative is available from quattro GmbH. Powerful, stable brakes are fitted on the large wheels.
Sporty understatement: design
The appearance of the new S4 models is subtly understated. At the front, the Singleframe grille and the accentuated horizontal lines underline the width. The prominence of the bumpers and air inlets is further accentuated. Many of the add-on parts are painted in finely graduated matt grey tones, enhanced by chrome trimming at selected points.
In profile the aluminium-look exterior mirror housings are a visual highlight, and the strongly profiled sill trims also give both models a striking appearance. On the tailgate, a separating edge provides targeted aerodynamics. The S‑specific rear bumper integrates a black honeycomb grille, an S‑typical diffuser clip, and the four tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system. Intelligent composite construction characterises the body. This makes it exceptionally torsionally rigid, safe, and lightweight. It is the basis for the low unladen weight of the car. The S4 Saloon with quattro drive as standard tips the scales at 1,630 kilograms, the Avant at 1,675 kilograms.
Sporty style: interior
The spacious interior can comfortably hold five passengers. The acoustic comfort sets new standards in the class, while the build quality is a particular highlight. The Audi S4 Avant provides 505 to 1,510 litres of luggage space depending on the position of the rear backrests. The S4 Saloon has 480 litres of luggage capacity. The homogeneous styling with broad air vent strip on the instrument panel and integrated air conditioning control panel gives the interior a generous width. In darkness, LED light guides outline the profiles of the doors and the centre console.
The S sport seats are covered in a combination of pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara in the colours ebony, rotor grey and magma red. They have adjustable side sections, integrated headrests, and a pneumatic massage function. Typically for an S model, black is the dominant colour in the interior. The standard inlays are made of matt brushed aluminium.
The technical innovations in the interior include the optional Audi virtual cockpit. The fully digital instrument cluster displays all key information on a high‑resolution 12.3 inch screen using detailed graphics. The driver can choose between three views – one of them is an exclusive Sport screen, which moves the rev counter into the centre.
The second major innovation on the S4 models is the MMI operating system. Its operating logic is similar to that of the latest smartphones, including the intelligent free text search function.
Extensive: infotainment and Audi connect
MMI offers the driver three operating methods: voice control, the new multifunction steering wheel, or the terminal on the centre console. On the top infotainment system, MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and 8.3 inch monitor, the rotary pushbutton features an integrated touch pad for zooming and scrolling, and for entering characters.
The MMI navigation plus is based on the processing power of the second generation modular infotainment system (MIB). This enables Audi to consistently bring the very latest solutions from consumer electronics into the car.
Alongside the MMI navigation plus, the new S4 and S4 Avant feature the Audi connect hardware module. It provides a high-speed connection to the Internet using the LTE standard. The integrated Wi-Fi hotspot enables passengers to surf and send mail on mobile devices, while the driver can use the online services from the Audi connect portfolio. These include the Audi smartphone interface, which integrates iOS and Android mobile phones.
The Audi phone box links passengers’ smartphones to the on-board aerial. If the phones have the appropriate features, they can be inductively charged at the same time. The Audi tablet is used for flexible rear seat entertainment. Hi‑fi fans can order the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with state-of-the-art 3D sound.
Efficient help: the driver assistance systems
Both S4 models provide a wide range of driver assistance systems. The predictive efficiency assistant supports the driver in saving fuel, for example, with gear change prompts. The Audi active lane assist helps the driver stay in lane. The adaptive cruise control Stop&Go including traffic jam assist can take over acceleration, deceleration, and steering at up to 40mph, easing the strain on the driver in heavy flowing traffic. Park assist, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, and the Audi pre sense systems provide important safety features. A camera-based traffic sign recognition system rounds off the range.
Even the standard equipment is extensive. In addition to the features already mentioned, for both body versions it includes LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic indicators. The Avant features an electrically controlled tailgate and luggage compartment cover, as well as anodised aluminum roof rails.
The optional equipment available underlines the high-tech nature of the new S models - for example, Matrix LED headlights, head-up display and sensor control for the tailgate on the Audi S4 Avant.
Full details of UK pricing and specification for the all-new S4 and S4 Avant will be available closer to the launch next spring.