We’ve recently found out that the next generation B9 Audi S4 will carry a more powerful version of the 3.0 liter Supercharged V6 in the current S4. Audi has decided to go this route, despite the fact that the next-gen Audi RS4 will use a twin-turbocharged V6 and could make more than 450 hp. This is surprising as the current Audi S3 is actually just a tick faster than the S4, which upsets Audi’s car hierarchy, so the switch to a downrated version of the upcoming RS4 engine might be best for the next S4. Though uprating the current S4’s supercharged engine could give it a power output of 350 hp or more.
The big three competitors in the segment are the Audi S4, upcoming BMW 340i and Mercedes C400, with the BMW340i most likely being the biggest S4 competitor. The upcoming BMW 340i will use an all new 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine to produce 320 hp. That may not sound like a lot, but the previous 335i and its 300 hp was able to keep up with the current Audi S4’s 333 hp. So 320 should be enough to compete with the next-gen S4’s 350 or so hp. However, the B9 S4 will be also be significantly lighter than the outgoing B8, so it’s quite possible that the 350 hp V6 overachieves in the segment. Though the BMW should be the real threat to the S4 in terms of handling, where BMW’s have always excelled. Though many claim the current B8 S4 to be superior to the current BMW 335i, in terms of handling performance.
The Mercedes C400 poses a different threat entirely. It’s still very fast, with 329 hp and the ability to hit 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. Though that does make it slowest in its class, as the 335i and S4 are able to do the trip in 4.4 seconds. With the B9 S4 getting around 350 hp and a bit of a diet, and the BMW 340i getting a horsepower bump as well, it’s not likely that the C400 challenges them in any performance categories. However, it seems as if Mercedes is looking to create a “baby S Class” experience with the current C Class. So the C400 will be more comfortable than both the S4 and 340i and, unless the B9 S4’s interior is ten steps ahead of its predecessor’s, the C400 will be nicer than both inside as well. So the C400 will be more of a straight line bruiser than canyon carver.
Though these cars are in the same segment and are relatively similar, they’re all very different. The Audi and the BMW are meant to be sports cars in luxury suits, while the C400 is more of a luxury car with some sporting intentions. The Audi will be supercharged, the BMW uses a single twin-scroll turbocharger and the Benz is twin-turbocharged. The S4 and C400 are all-wheel drive only while the 340i will be rear-wheel drive as standard with all-wheel drive as an option.
Obviously, we won’t know how these cars stack up against each other until they’re all released, but it’s sure to be an interesting battle. Audi’s S4, with its supercharged V6 engine and Quattro all-wheel drive, versus the BMW 340i with its twin-scroll turbocharged I6 engine and rear-wheel drive, versus the Mercedes C400 with its twin-turbocharged V6 engine, all-wheel drive and supreme comfort. It’s bound to be a fun matchup.