The 2017 Audi S4 sedan and Avant wagon have arrived in Australia, eight months after the global launch, bringing improvements to every area and a $6000 sharper price point than ever before – starting under $100,000 for the first time.
Audi’s understated muscle car is based off the B9 Audi A4 sedan and wagon range, and will serve as the performance flagship in lieu of a new-gen RS4 – which we might see revealed as soon as next month’s Geneva motor show.
The S4 range will fight the Mercedes-AMG C43 and the BMW 340i head-to-head, enjoying a slight price advantage over the former. This is despite a claimed $12,000 worth of extra equipment over the more expensive old version.
Gone is the old S4’s character supercharged six, replaced by a brand new 3.0-litre TFSI turbocharged V6 unit producing 260kW of power (between 5400 and 6400rpm) and 500Nm of torque (between 1370 and 4500rpm) – 15kW/60Nm up.
The 90-degree engine sports the twin-scroll turbocharger between its cylinder banks, and integrated exhaust manifolds speed up the spooling process, thereby reducing lag.
Gone too is the old S tronic dual-clutch transmission, replaced by an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox with torque converter, with paddle-shifters for the manual override.
The familiar quattro mechanical AWD system sends 60 per cent of torque to the rear axle, but can apportion up to 85 per cent if the car’s sensors detect loss of traction. It can also direct 70 per cent to the front axle.
The zero to 100km/h sprint times are down a few tenths to 4.7sec (sedan) and 4.9sec (Avant), while combined-cycle 98 RON fuel consumption of 7.4 litres per 100km is five per cent better, thanks in part to a fuel-saving coasting function.
The performance gains aren’t just down to the new engine, but also to the car’s 75kg lighter kerb weight, thanks to the 14kg lighter powertrain, aluminium suspension components and even magnesium seat and steering wheel frames.
Audi has used five-link front and rear suspension and fitted adjustable adaptive dampers – controlled from the cabin, and synced to the various drive mode programs that also alter throttle mapping and gearbox shift points – to drop the ride height up to 23mm over the standard A4 models.
Proper performance enthusiasts can option the $2950 Audi Sport differential that builds on the standard torque vectoring. This revised, lighter new unit actively diverts torque to whichever rear wheel needs it most, from the maximum available input.
Topping power comes from 350mm front brakes (34mm wide, six-piston fixed dampers) and 330mm rear brakes (22mm wide rear two-piston floating dampers).
Stylistically, there are only subtle updates over the B9 A4 range, which is longer and lower than the B8, though evolutionary.
The S4 has four tailpipes, beefier bumpers, a new rear diffuser, bigger alloy wheels, chrome elements, aluminium mirror caps (an S signature) matt grey tones and more.
Inside the cabin is a flat-bottom wheel, S details, matt brushed aluminium (there the option of carbon-fibre-look inlay), black headlining and ambient lighting. There’s also much more cabin space than the old S4.
Standard fit is Audi’s laded 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instruments. For the S4, this unit gets a third display mode, not just the ‘classic’ and ‘progressive modes’, but also a S mode with tacho front and centre, beset by navigation etc. It’s similar to the TT S’s design.
Beyond this, Audi says every single available safety assist system that is offered overseas is standard in Australia.
There are 29 safety assistance systems cited, a claimed best-in-class, including a unique exit warning that stops you ‘door-ing’ passing bikes, radar cruise with traffic-jam assist that looks 60 ahead so as not to mirror the vehicle ahead, and a turn assist system that brakes if it senses you’re crossing the street in a gap that’s too tight.
Audi 100 (C4) – 1993, 169kW, 2.2-litre 5-cylinder, manual, 0-100km/h in 6.2s, 25 units sold $132,890
B5 Audi S4 (Audi 80 became A4) in 1999 – 195kW, 2.7-litre BiY V6, manual, 5.6s, 187 units, $113,800
B6 Audi S4 – 253kW, 4.2-litre V8, manual and tiptronic, 5.6s, 191 units, $129,500
B7 Audi S4 – same powertrain, $131,200, tiptronic only, 72 units
B8 Audi S4 – 2009, 245kW, 3.0-litre supercharged V6, S tronic DCT 7AT, 5.0s, 420 units, $118,900 , reduced towards end of life cycle
MORE: 2017 Audi S4 review
(Prices exclude on-road costs)
S4 sedan – $99,900 (old car was $106,110)
S4 Avant – $102,900 (old car was $109,610)
$5900 S performance pack
$5600 Technik pack