WORLD PREMIERE: Audi S4 and S4 Avant

In a tough, competitive segment, currently home to such cars as the BMW 340i, Jaguar XE 35t and Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG, Audi is bringing its latest Audi S4 and S4 Avant. Based on the current-generation B9 Audi A4, the new S4 and S4 Avant will be built on Audi’s new MLB platform and will share most of the same underpinnings as its A4 sibling.

Lightwieght and Strong

Audi-S4-Sedan0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and fuel consumption of less than 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 km (31.8 US mpg). Those are the performance and economy figures for the new Audi S4. Making those numbers possible is an all-new 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 TFSI gasoline direct-injection engine, developing 354 hp (260 kW) and 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. All of that torque is available from an extremely low 1,370 rpm all the way up to 4,500 rpm. That’s more than the BMW 340i’s 320 hp and the Jaguar XE 35t’s 340 hp, but less than the Mercedes C450 AMG’s 362 hp. No matter, though, as the S4’s 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds (4.9 for the Avant) puts it right in the thick of things. The Audi S4 also only puts out less than 170 grams CO2 per kilometer (273.6 g/mi), which is pretty damn good for a car with those performance figures.

The Audi S4 and S4 Avant are also quite light, to compliment their punch, at 1,630 kg (3,593.5 lb) for the sedan and 1,675 kg (3,692.7 lb) for the Avant. This is down about 75 kg (165 lbs) from the previous models.

To handle all of that power is an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission. Audi’s typical seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox found in the standard A4 couldn’t handle all of the instant torque from the S4’s engine. The eight-speed auto is geared for performance driving in its lower gears, while its higher gears are meant for efficiency and to reduce revs. When the driver lifts off the accelerator, the transmission freewheels from the engine to save on fuel as well. So the Audi S4 is as much of a guilt-free sports car as you’ll find.

Sporty Handling and StabilityAudi-S4-AvantQuattro all-wheel drive is standard on the S4 and S4 Avant and during normal driving actually has a slight rear-drive bias for better performance, until sensors detect that the front wheels need more power. The torque-vectoring Quattro system optimizes handling and stability, by sending the most power to the wheels that need it most through high-speed cornering, and an optional rear sports differential helps to optimize performance by actively distributing torque between the rear wheels. If you’re asking us, the sports diff is a must-have option.

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The five-link front and rear suspensions enable significant comfort gains with an emphatically sporty response. An alternative to electromechanical power steering is dynamic steering which varies its steering gear ratio according to the driving speed. 18?inch wheels with size 245/40 tires are standard. Audi Sport also offers 19?inch wheels. The front brakes have internally-vented and perforated discs that are 350 mm (13.8 in) in diameter. They are gripped by black (or optionally red) painted six-piston fixed calipers with S lettering.

The standard S sport chassis lowers the body’s ride height by 23 mm (0.9 in) compared to the standard A4. The same height applies to the optional chassis with damper control. The Audi drive select handling system integrates, what is referred to as, CDC (continuous damping control) dampers along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and optional sport differential. This lets the driver control the characteristics of the engine and chassis over several modes.

Comfortable and Spacious

Audi-S4-SedanOne of the biggest improvements for the new B9 Audi A4 has been the interior. Not only is it the best-looking interior in its class, but it’s also one of the roomiest, thanks to its new MLB platform. The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant are no different. With seating for five, comfortably, the new S4 and S4 Avant are some of the most spacious cars in their class, with the S4 sedan boasting 480 liters (17.0 cu ft) of luggage space and the S4 Avant offering 505 to 1,510 liters (17.8 – 53.3 cu ft) of space, depending on whether the rear seats are up or down, respectively.

The optional S sport seats have integrated head restraints, adjustable lateral supports and a pneumatic massage function. The standard seat upholstery is fine Nappa leather with color options of black, rotor gray or magma red with diamond pattern, contrasting stitching and an S badge. The color black dominates in the interior, which is set off by contrasting inlays made of matte brushed aluminum.

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A new top highlight is the optional Audi Virtual Cockpit that displays all key information digitally and in detailed graphics on its 12.3?inch screen. Although, at this price point, the Virtual Cockpit should be standard equipment. Views available to the driver include a sport mode centered around the tachometer. In the new MMI operating system, the flat menu structure is based on that of today’s smartphones, including intelligent free-text search. It suggests various search results after just a few letters have been entered. In addition, user operation is possible from the multifunction steering wheel or by natural language voice control.

State-of-the-Art Audi-S4-AvantInfotainment in the new S models of the A4 model line is state-of-the-art. MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and an 8.3?inch monitor top the infotainment range. MMI touch has a touchpad for zooming and scrolling and for entering characters. The system integrates the Audi connect hardware component, which connects the new S4 models to the internet via LTE. Passengers can use their mobile devices to surf the web, text or mail thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. The driver meanwhile has access to the multifaceted online services offered by Audi connect. It is easy to control functions from a smartphone via the MMI connect app. The customer can lock or unlock the car doors, operate the optional auxiliary heater or find the parking location of the car in this way. The new Calendar service transfers the smartphone’s calendar into the car.

The Audi phone box, another optional feature, connects smartphones to the on?board antenna by near-field coupling and simultaneously charges them inductively according to the Qi standard. The Audi tablet serves as a flexible Rear Seat Entertainment device. For very discerning hi-fi fans, the Bang & Olufsen sound system with its new 3D sound is available. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple Car Play and Android Auto into the car. If the customer connects an iOS or Android smartphone to the USB port (iOS from 7.1, Android from 5.0 Lollipop), the smartphone’s contents such as navigation, phone, music and select third party apps are offered in a separate MMI menu. They can be accessed conveniently by MMI or voice control. Audi has designed both applications especially for use in the car. The core content here is online music with access to a large range of music from Google Play Music and iTunes. There are also navigation and notification functions as well as schedule reminders. In the future, the range of functions will be continually extended via third party apps like Pandora, Spotify and WhatsApp.

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Leading the WayAudi-S4-AvantThe new Audi S4 and S4 Avant are right at the forefront in their class with a broad array of driver assistance systems. The systems come from the full-size class; their intelligent interplay represents the next step toward piloted driving.

The predictive efficiency assistant helps the driver save fuel. Adaptive cruise control maintains a specified distance to the vehicle ahead. The driver can set this distance and the control dynamics over several stages. Its Stop&Go function brakes the car to a full stop and lets it start off again automatically at the driver’s request. Over a speed range from 0 to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), traffic jam assist – another function of ACC – can also take over steering on well-built roads, as long as the traffic is moving slowly. The rear cross traffic assist, exit warning, turn assist, obstacle avoidance assist and Audi pre sense systems further enhance safety.

Sporty UnderstatementAudi-S4-AvantThe Audi S4 wouldn’t be an Audi S4 without a sporty, yet understated, look. The new S4 and S4 Avant look aggressive, but not ostentatious. The bumper, air inlets and side sills feature distinctive contours. Many of the add-on parts are painted in graduated tones of matte gray. Aluminum inlays accentuate its design. The exterior mirror housings shine in aluminum look. The rear bumper integrates a black honeycomb grille, aluminum diffuser trim and four tailpipes.

Extensive EquipmentAudi-S4-SedanThe Audi S4 and S4 Avant will be hitting European showrooms this summer and will come with such standard equipment as LED headlights, LED taillights with dynamic turn-signals, 18″ S-specific wheels, and sports seats trimmed in both leather and Alcantara. The S4 Avant gets a standard electric power-tailgate as well. Some of the optional features are a sensor control for the luggage compartment, a head-up display and Audi Matrix LED headlights. The latter control the headlight beam so precisely that oncoming traffic does not experience any glare. Another new feature is reduced headlight glare on traffic signs. When the light falls on a very reflective traffic sign, it is dimmed by around one-third in that area.

Pricing for the S4 Sedan starts at 59,300 euros while the S4 Avant starts at 61,150 euros.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.