Official Photos and Info
Even after it lost its 4.2-liter V-8, the Audi S4 was kind of old-school—or rather, it was proof that seemingly old-fashioned technology could still provide outstanding results. Powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and available with an honest-to-God six-speed manual, the wilder version of the Audi A4 proved the virtue of following the old rules. But for the 2017 model year, the S4 takes a leap into the modern age: At the Frankfurt auto show, Audi has launched the latest version, and it’s fitted with a direct-injected, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6.
The engine is the first of an entirely new, turbocharged engine generation that will replace the current V-6 engine, which is boosted by an Eaton TVS supercharger. In the S4, the new powerplant is rated at 354 horsepower, 21 more than offered by the supercharged six. Maximum torque is 369 lb-ft, available from 1300 to 4500 rpm. By comparison, the supercharged model’s torque peak of 325 lb-ft was available from 2900 to 5300 rpm. The sprint from zero to 62 mph now takes 4.7 seconds according to Audi (we got 4.9 from the outgoing car with a six-speed manual), and top speed is governed at the obligatory 155 mph.
The turbo engine’s extra torque is the reason why Audi is switching from the current model’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to an eight-speed, torque-converter automatic. A six-speed manual might still be offered, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. Audi, like many automakers, has been dropping its manual transmissions, the latest victim being its own R8 supercar.
Even so, we suspect the S4 still will be an extremely agile and fun-to-drive car. Naturally, it comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive, with a default torque distribution of 40:60 front to rear, and the system can send as much as 70 percent to the front or 85 percent to the rear. 245/40 tires on 18-inch wheels are standard. The S4 sits 0.9 inch lower than the standard A4, and it comes standard with a sport suspension and continuous damping control (CDC). Speed-dependent variable steering is optional. The claimed curb weight, thanks to the new MLB Evo architecture, is a relatively low 3594 pounds; the previous-gen model we tested weighed 4000 pounds even.
The S4 is differentiated from the regular A4 by the typical “S” aesthetic accouterments, which includes a unique front fascia, aluminum-look mirror caps, new side skirts, and a rear bumper punctuated by four exhaust tips. Inside, there are leather-and-microfiber high-backed sports seats (in black, gray, or “Magma Red”), and there is, of course, available carbon-fiber trim. The A4’s virtual instrument cluster adds an S4-specific “Sport” view that displays a tachometer at the center.
We expect the Audi S4 will come to market by mid-2016 as a 2017 model; in Europe it will be offered both as a sedan and as an Avant (sigh). In the States, it will be a sedan-only, and it will go up against the 320-hp BMW 340i and the 362-hp Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG. Prices should start around $50,000.