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Frankfurt show: Audi turbocharges S4

Forcing the issue: Audi has switched from a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 to an “all-new” TFSI turbo that is lighter, more efficient and significantly more powerful.

New-gen Audi S4 sedan, Avant emerge ahead of Australian launch late next year


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16 Sep 2015

AUDI has unveiled its new-generation S4 sedan and Avant wagon at the Frankfurt motor show, with the high-performance duo scaling new heights via a 260kW 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 under the bonnet.

To be released in Australia in the final quarter of next year, several months after the regular A4 range switches to the new B9 series, the S4 is expected to remain a single model variant across both body styles, combining comprehensive forced-induction engine power with an automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive.

However, the current supercharged direct-injection 3.0-litre V6 – good for 245kW of power and 440Nm of torque – makes way for a lighter, more efficient and significantly more powerful TFSI turbocharged unit that produces 260kW and 500Nm, the latter available from 1300-4500rpm.

Driving through a new, more conventional eight-speed Tiptronic transmission rather than the current seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox, the redesigned S4 sedan can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited 250km/h top speed.

The current S4 sedan reaches 100km/h from standstill in a claimed 5.0 seconds (and the same top speed), while returning combined-cycle fuel economy of 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres and emitting 190 grams per kilometre of CO2.

The new S4 lowers consumption to 7.4L/100km and takes CO2 emissions down to 170g/km, with Audi pointing to the new transmission as a key contributing factor, particularly with it switching to freewheeling to save on fuel “whenever the driving situation allows”.

The overall vehicle is considerably lighter, too, tipping the scales at 1630kg in sedan form, or 1675kg with the Avant. The current S4 sedan has an unladen weight of 1705kg (Avant: 1750kg).

During normal driving, the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system operates (via the self-locking differential) with a 40:60 front/rear engine torque split, with scope for up to 70 per cent to be distributed to the front axle and 85 per cent to the rear.

As before, an electronically controlled locking rear differential will be available as an option to improve the handling further.

The S4 benefits from the regular A4’s broad technical improvements in areas such as body, chassis, suspension, aerodynamics and the like.

This includes the use of a five-link suspension front and rear and lightweight electro-mechanical power steering, with variable speed-dependent dynamic steering optionally available.

The standard S sport suspension is 23mm lower than the regular A4. Active damper control is available as an option, although Audi’s ‘drive select’ system is fitted standard, enabling the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics across a variety of modes.

High-performance braking hardware is also par for the course, along with standard 18-inch wheels in a five twin-spoke star design and 245/40-section tyres. A 19-inch alternative has also been developed.

In the styling department, Audi continues with its self-confessed “subtly understated” look for the high-performance sedan and wagon, preferring to focus on S-specific body adornments and “targeted aerodynamics” in areas such as the front airdam and tailgate design.

The dark-themed cabin also has a plethora of sporting details and, again, all the improvements brought with the new-generation A4 in areas such as passenger accommodation and technical innovation.

The S sports seats are covered in a combination of pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara in the colours ebony, rotor grey and magma red, and come with adjustable bolsters and a pneumatic massage function.

The ‘virtual cockpit’ with its fully digital instrument cluster and hi-res 12.3-inch screen includes an S4-specific Sport screen.

As an upper-echelon member of the A4 range, a high level of standard equipment is fitted to the S4 models, including the latest MMI multimedia system, advanced driver assistance systems (active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, park assist, Audi pre-sense, and so on), LED lights front and rear and, for the Avant, an electronically controlled tailgate and luggage compartment cover.

Optional equipment includes Matrix LED headlights, a head-up display, and sensor control for the tailgate on the Avant.

Final Australian specification and pricing is still to be announced. The current S4 sedan is priced from $104,610 plus on-road costs, while the Avant starts at $108,110.

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