Audi Australia is set to launch its new S4 sedan and Avant (picture above) in a few days time, but the performance mid-sizer is just the first part of a remarkably busy new model rollout plan covering the first half of the year.
The Ingolstadt marque’s local arm has no fewer than eight car launch events scheduled for 2017 already — with some more expected — as it chases its 13th consecutive year of record sales here, and doggedly pursues BMW to be Australia’s number-two luxury brand.
Pictured: Audi Q2
Despite the well-publicised diesel emissions woes the shook up the Volkswagen Group throughout 2016, Audi managed to grow its sales in Australia, to 24,358 units (up 5.1 per cent). This compared to BMW (28,028) and Mercedes (41,226, including commercials). Australia is now Audi's 11th biggest region worldwide, up from 13th in 2015.
First up for the company's local arm this year is the 260kW/500Nm turbocharged V6 S4 range, which we will be reviewing on February 10, and which will take on the Mercedes-AMG C43 and BMW 340i.
Read our review from the car’s European launch if you can’t wait that long.
Pictured: Audi A5 and S5 coupes
Next is the new youth-focused Q2 crossover, which we learned recently would be priced from $41,100 when it arrives later in February to take on the Mercedes GLA, but also top-end versions of cars such as the Mazda CX-3 and even the Volkswagen Tiguan.
After this is the new A5 coupe arriving in March, which we’ve already driven overseas, and which shares most of its core components with the B9 generation A4 but wraps it all in a muscular two-door body.
Pictured: Audi RS3 sedan
Due by June is the ballistic RS3 sedan, joining what will by then be the 18-month old RS3 Sportback hatch. The RS3 sedan has a new five-cylinder engine with 294kW/480Nm, sending torque to a quattro AWD system and a seven-speed S tronic DCT. The sub-$100k (likely) h0t sedan has a staggering claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.1sec.
Around the same time as the RS3 sedan will lob the flagship of Audi’s TT range, the TT RS, which uses the same engine as the RS3 sedan, but manages the 0-100km/h dash in only 3.7sec (claimed). We estimate a starting price of $145k.
Pictured: Audi A5 and S5 cabriolets
A month or so later you can expect to see the A5 and S5 Sportback four-door range, which takes some of the A5 coupe sedan, and some from the A4 sedan, and smooshes them together into a more sporty-looking passenger car to rival the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The A5 cabriolet, and its hotted-up S5 derivative, will arrive a few months later.
Pictured: Audi Q5
Finally, and due in July or August, is the vitally important new Mexico-made Q5 crossover SUV, which replaces the current first-generation model that is regularly Audi’s top-seller here, over the A4 and A3. Read our first overseas review of that car.
So if you think you have a busy year planned, spare a thought for Audi Australia’s product planners.
Audi Australia launch calendar for 2017 so far
Audi S4 sedan and Avant — February
Audi Q2 — February
Audi A5 coupe — March
Audi A5 Sportback and S5 Sportback — June
Audi RS3 sedan — May/June
Audi TT RS - May/June
Audi Q5 — July/August
Audi A5 Cabriolet — August/September