Preview: 2018 Audi S4
354 hp, 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds: it’s the new Audi S4, just launched at the Frankfurt motor show. Arriving in 2017 as a 2018 model, the top version from the A4 series is once again ahead of the competition, with intelligent lightweight design, powerful engines, and an extensive package of the latest technologies.
The heart of the S models is a newly-developed V6 engine with petrol direct injection and turbocharging. The 3.0 TFSI engine has an output of 354 hp; its 368.8 lb‑ft of torque is available across a wide range of speeds from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm. The engine outstrips its predecessor in terms of power and torque, while simultaneously offering significantly lower fuel consumption and weight.
The engine can accelerate the Audi S4 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, and the electronic limiter kicks in at 250 km/h. Despite its considerably improved performance, the V6 is extremely efficient. Indeed, the new S4 sedan consumes less than 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 km.
The new eight-speed tiptronic transmission is highly efficient and provides fast, comfortable and spontaneous gear changes. Whenever the driving situation allows, it switches to freewheeling to save fuel.
As on every Audi S model, the power of the 3.0 TFSI is transmitted to the road by quattro permanent all-wheel drive. During normal driving, the self-locking center differential funnels 60 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 40 percent to the front. Depending on the operating situation, it can distribute up to 70 percent to the front axle or up to 85 percent to the rear. The wheel-selective torque control based on an intelligent software function rounds off the quattro drive train. For dynamic cornering, the wheels on the inside of the bend are slightly braked before they can slip. This makes handling more precise, agile, and stable. A sport differential available as an option improves the handling further by actively distributing the forces between the rear wheels.
The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant handle corners of all kinds with aplomb – whether on a racetrack or a mountain pass. For fast road driving, both models feature impressive straight-line stability. The five-link suspension on the front and rear axle precisely separates the longitudinal and transverse forces, thus ensuring optimum handling in all driving situations. Like the electromechanical power steering, both are designed to be very lightweight. Variable speed-dependent dynamic steering is available as an option.
The standard S sport suspension is 23 mm lower than on the regular A4. The ride height is the same with the optional suspension with active damper control. Along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and sport differential, continuous damping control is included in the Audi drive select system, which comes as standard. This enables the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics in several modes.
The appearance of the new S4 models is subtly understated. At the front, the single-frame grille and the accentuated horizontal lines underline the width. The bumpers and air inlets are prominently profiled. Many of the parts are painted in finely graduated matt gray tones, accentuated with chrome trimming at selected points.
The S4’s spacious interior can comfortably hold five passengers. A broad air vent strip on the instrument panel and integrated air conditioning control panel gives the interior a generous width. In darkness, LED light guides outline the profiles of the doors and the center console.
The S sport seats are covered in a combination of pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara in the colors ebony, rotor gray or magma red. They have adjustable side sections, integrated headrests, and a pneumatic massage function. Typically for an S model, black is the dominant colour in the interior. The standard inlays are made of matt brushed aluminum. Details such as the illuminated door sill trims with S4 logos, the embossing in the seats, and the special S4 start screen round off the high quality equipment.
The technical innovations in the interior include the optional Audi virtual cockpit. The fully digital instrument cluster displays all key information on a high‑resolution 12.3 inch screen using detailed graphics. The driver can choose between three views – one of them is an exclusive Sport screen, which moves the rev counter into the centre.
The second major innovation on the S4 models is the MMI operating system. Its operating logic is similar to that of the latest smartphones, including the intelligent free text search function.
MMI offers the driver three operating methods: voice control, the new multifunction steering wheel, or the terminal on the center console. The rotary pushbutton features an integrated touch pad for zooming and scrolling, and for entering characters.
Both S4 models offer a wide range of driver assistance systems. The predictive efficiency assistant supports the driver in saving fuel, for example with gear change prompts. The Audi active lane assist helps the driver stay in lane. The adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, including traffic jam assist, can take over acceleration, deceleration, and steering up to 65 km/h, easing the strain on the driver in heavy flowing traffic. Park assist, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, and the Audi pre sense systems provide important safety features. A camera-based traffic sign recognition system rounds off the range.
Even the standard equipment is extensive. In addition to the features already mentioned, for both body versions it includes LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic turn signal. The Avant features an electrically controlled tailgate and luggage compartment cover, as well as anodized aluminum roof rails.
The optional equipment available underlines the high-tech nature of the new S models – for example, Matrix LED headlights, and heads-up display.