Audi has announced at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show that performance S versions of the A4 sedan and A4 Avant wagon will be launched in 2016, minus the previous model’s DSG auto.
As for an Australian launch, representatives for the carmaker's local arm have confirmed with CarAdvice that the S4 sedan and wagon siblings should land locally in late 2016.
Audi claims both these high-end A4 series variants will be ahead of the competition thanks to lightweight design, powerful engines and an extensive package of standard technology.
“At Audi, we have more than 20 years of expertise in developing our sporty S models,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Audi Board of Management for technical Development.
“From day one, our formula for success has been a combination of outstanding quattro performance, restrained design, and state of the art drivetrain, suspensions and infotainment technology. The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant impressively continue this sporty tradition."
At the core of the S models’ performance portfolio is a powerful 3.0 TFSI engine. The direct-injected and turbo-charged petrol V6 generates 260kW and 500Nm between 1300-4500rpm.
Despite generating more power and torque than its predecessor, the S engine is more efficient, using only 7.4L/100km.
The S4 sedan weighs in at 1630kg, while the Avant tips the scales at 1675kg.
The S4 powers from 0-100km/h in 4.7-seconds, with top speed limited to 250km/h. The efficiency and performance are both largely thanks to the clever eight-speed tiptronic transmission.
That also means Audi has moved away from the previous DSG option. The gearbox also switches to a freewheeling mode whenever the conditions are right, to further save fuel.
The S4 models benefit from Audi’s signature quattro AWD system, and during normal driving, 60 percent of engine torque is sent to the rear axle, with 40 percent going forwards.
That split can be up to 70 percent to the front or 85 percent to the rear.
Five-link suspension front and rear keeps the S4 planted at all times, while variable speed-dependent dynamic steering is available as an option. Standard S sport suspension is 23mm lower than the garden variety A4. Standard wheels measure 18 inches, with a 19-inch rim available as an option.
Space and comfort form the basis of the S4 Sedan and Avant’s appeal beyond the sporting pretensions. With the rear seats in play, the S4 Avant has 505 litres of luggage space. That figure grows to 1510 litres with the second row seats folded down. The S4 Sedan has 480 litres capacity in the boot.
S Sport seats are trimmed in a combination of Nappa leather and Alcantara with three available colours - ebony, rotor grey and magma red. There’s plenty of black in the cabin, as you’d expect with an S model Audi, but there’s some brushed alloy highlights, illuminated door sill trims with S4 logos, and embossing in the seats.
S4 gets Audi’s new virtual cockpit, a fully digital instrument cluster that displays all key information on a high-set 12.3-inch screen. The driver can choose between three different views, like we’ve seen in TT and R8 recently.
Audi claims the other big interior innovation is the addition of the new MMI operating system. It’s operating logic is supposed to be similar to that of the latest smartphones, including intelligent free text search functionality.
MMI offers the driver three different operating methods: voice control, the new multifunction steering wheel or the terminal in the centre console. Opt for the high-end system, and you get MMI navigation plus, with touch and an 8.3-inch monitor, along with the rotary pushbutton, which features an integrated touchpad for zooming and scrolling.
Audi says standard equipment will be extensive and will include, LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic turn signals.
The S4 Avant will feature and electrically-controlled tailgate and luggage compartment cover, as well as anodised roof rails. Optional equipment will extend to Matrix LED headlights, a head-up display and sensor control for the tailgate on the S4 Avant.
While Audi representatives won’t say it directly, the switch from DSG to conventional automatic perhaps signals a silent admission that the DSG might have outlived it’s usefulness.
Note: S4 Avant photos still to come.
More: 2016 Audi A4 revealed