AUDI has declared war in the hot executive sedan arena with a razor sharp price
for the fifth generation of its A4-based S4, marking the first time in its
20-year history that the price has dropped below $100,000.
With a starting price of $99,900 before on-road costs, the all-new S4 undercuts
arch-rival Mercedes-AMG and its new C43 by $2000 and Jaguar’s XE S by $5165,
but cannot quite match the compelling $89,895 starting bid for BMW’s equivalent
For the latest version, Audi has gone back to its roots and dropped the
supercharger of the previous generation car in favour of a turbocharged V6 as
per the original A4-based S4, although capacity has increased to around
3.0-litres from 2.7-litres taking power up to 260kW from 195kW.
Compared with the outgoing supercharged S4, power is up 15kW and 60Nm (now
500Nm) from the same sized engine, while performance and efficiency has also
been boosted by a reduced kerb weight – down 75kg.
Like the fourth-generation S4, the latest in Audi’s lineage of hot A4s is
offered as a four-door, five-seat sedan or a boot-boosted Avant wagon for
For sedan versions, the 1630kg S4 can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.7
seconds and has the potential to use 7.7 litres of fuel per 100km on the
combined cycle, while the 1675kg Avant takes 4.9 seconds to sprint from zero to
100km/h and uses 7.8L/100km.
The 90-degree TFSI V6 has a single turbo located in the valley of the cylinder
banks with two separate turbine scrolls supplied by individual exhaust
manifolds for increased responsiveness and a maximum relative boost pressure of
New alloy block construction has saved 14kg of weight while iron cylinder
liners have thinner walls resulting in a more compact unit overall.
Unlike the European line-up which offers a manual version, Australia will be
offered only the eight-speed torque-converter Tiptronic automatic transmission,
which sends power to all four corners via a Torsen-type centre differential and
Audi’s trademark Quattro four-wheel drive system.
Under a majority of driving conditions, 60 per cent of available torque is
directed to the rear axle but with changing conditions, driving mode and
behaviour, the system can allocate up to 85 per cent to the back end and a
maximum of 85 per cent to the front.
For more efficient motoring, a freewheel function disconnects the transmission
from the final drive if the throttle is released between speeds of 55km/h and
160km/h. Idle-stop technology also contributes to fuel savings when in heavy
Torque vectoring enables the S4 to maintain a more consistent course through
sharp and high-speed cornering, while high-performance handling and road
holding can be further enhanced with an optional Quattro sport differential for
Audi’s five-link suspension system and electro-mechanical steering system has
been honed for the new S4 with ride height lowered 23mm compared with the
standard A4, for sporty dynamics and rewarding driving but a compliant ride
Customers are offered an upgrade to variable dynamic steering, which also adds
Engine, transmission, steering and exhaust note (and sport diff and dynamic
damper behaviour where fitted) is controlled by the central Audi Drive Select
system, which offers comfort, auto, efficiency, dynamic or individual modes.
Braking is managed by 350mm iron discs at the front end and six-pot callipers
housed in 19-inch wheels.
For the new S4, Audi built on the standard A4’s cabin including the full-width
air-vents, central 8.3-inch MMI monitor and 12.3-inch virtual cockpit digital
instrument display, and added a number of sporty touches to enhance the boosted
Standard matte brushed aluminium trims can be upgraded to carbon-fibre as part
of the $5900 S Performance pack, which also upgrades the seats to sports
versions with diamond-pattern Nappa leather with extra adjustment, massage
functions and heaters. Brake callipers are also decorated in red as part of the
For another $5600, customers can add the Technik pack which upgrades the
standard eight-speaker sound system to a 19-speaker version by Bang & Olufsen,
a head-up display and, on the outside, Audi Matrix LED headlights.
Standard tech features include Audi Connect which allows access to
internet-based services such as Google Earth, email and Wi-Fi hotspot for
providing internet for other devices.
A standard smartphone interface allows the connection of iOS and Android
handsets in addition to Bluetooth and USB connections.
Driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control that includes
steering assistance as well as altering speed according to traffic conditions.
The same system uses navigation information to offer the driver Predictive
Efficiency tips, which can improve fuel economy by as much as 10 per cent, says
The rear cross-traffic function warns the driver of approaching vehicles when
reversing out of a parking space and can apply a jolt to the brakes if warnings
are ignored. An additional exit warning system uses the same sensors to warn an
occupant exiting the car of approaching traffic with LED lights on the door
A forward collision avoidance system can warn the driver if colliding with an
obstacle is likely but can also apply braking and steering assistance if the
driver does not react in time, while a turn assist feature can prevent
collisions when crossing busy carriageways or junctions.
Lane departure warning, assistance and blind-spot monitoring complete the
electronic safety systems.
Customers opting for the Avant get a load area that increases from 480 litres
for the sedan to 580L but that figure increases to 1510L with the 40:20:40
split rear seat folded. Sedan load space increases to 965L.
Access to the Avant boot is via a power-operated tailgate, which can be opened
by a foot movement under the rear bumper if the user’s hands are full. The
sedan is also offered the same feature but without the power boot lid.
Avant customers can boost the practicality of their hot wagon with a luggage
compartment pack that adds cargo nets, tie-down rail and partition.