The new Audi S4 made its glittering debut at the top of the Audi showcar stand last night in Frankfurt. Along with the new E-Tron Quattro EV SUV previewing a future Q6, the 2017 S4 was joined on stage by a “G-Tron” A4 Avant designed to run on CNG. Smart stuff.
The S4 is clearly the closest to buy hands, however, with sales promised “in 2016.” This is likely to mean a March 2016 USA arrival at the earliest, and July probable for first orders.
The S4 is Audi’s big engine upgrade from launch. The A4 TFSI power output is a fairly basic ~252 ponies, so the S4 is aligned with top 3 Series and C-Classes. Cars like the new 340i or C450 AMG Sport, a medium-hot variant between the C400 and C63.
The S4’s powertrain is not huge on paper, but will be potent in real life. A new twin-turbo V6 makes 354HP and 368-pound-feet of torque. That huge lump of torque arrives from just 1300 RPM, which is one of the lowest torque plateaus we have ever seen!
A sport differential with torque vectoring is on the spec sheets for the S4 in 2017, as is a newly-adjustable quattro AWD system. Dynamic torque splits in the S4 can send up to 70-percent of the power to the front, and a whopping 85-percent to the back (depending on conditions.) That is much more rear torque than is normal for the default quattro torque split of 50:50 front/rear. (40:60 on some models).
The looks, as on the normal 2017 A4 S-Lines seen so far, are a mixed bag. There are cool treats like the new LED design, slightly longer and A6-ish roofline, and the quad pipes for the S4 out back. But otherwise, this new S4 will not turn many heads. Its lower ride height and bigger wheels will be very special versus base A4 sedans, however, versus the loaded models seen so far.
RS4 —>>> USA?
The silver lining of the S4 and its ultra-conservative exterior upgrades? The price will be within reach, first off. We ballpark a high $40s base, and high $50s loaded total.
Secondly, the hottest-of-all RS4 might make its way over to America for the first time. Chilling the S4 a bit appears to save room at the top of the model family for a true M3 and C63-fighter in the form of a $63k RS4 in the states around Spring 2017 as a 2018 model.
2017 Audi S4
Sporty and high-tech: the new Audi S4 and S4 Avant
260 kW (354 hp), 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 4.7 seconds – Audi launches the new S4* and S4 Avant* at the IAA in Frankfurt am Main. The top models from the A4 series are ahead of the competition – with intelligent lightweight design, powerful engines, and an extensive package of the latest technologies.
Sporty style: interior
The spacious interior can comfortably hold five passengers. The acoustic comfort sets new standards in the class, while the build quality is at a very high level. The Audi S4 Avant provides 505 to 1,510 liters (17.8 to 53.3 cu ft) of luggage space depending on the position of the rear backrests. The S4 Sedan has 480 liters (17.0 cu ft) of luggage capacity in the trunk. The homogeneous styling with 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 and magma red. They have adjustable side sections, integrated headrests, and a pneumatic massage function. Typically for an S model, black is the dominant color 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 center.
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.
Audi A4 Avant G-Tron
Extensive: infotainment and Audi connect
MMI offers the driver three operating methods: voice control, the new multifunction steering wheel, or the terminal on the center console. On the top infotainment system, MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and 8.3 inch monitor, the rotary pushbutton features an integrated touch pad for zooming and scrolling, and for entering characters.
The MMI navigation plus is based on the processing power of the second generation modular infotainment system (MIB). This enables Audi to consistently bring the very latest solutions from consumer electronics into the car.
Alongside the MMI navigation plus, the new S4 and S4 Avant feature the Audi connect hardware module. It provides a high-speed connection to the Internet using the LTE standard. The integrated Wi-Fi hotspot enables passengers to surf and send mail on mobile devices, while the driver can use the online services from the Audi connect portfolio. These include the Audi smartphone interface, which integrates iOS and Android mobile phones.
The Audi phone box links passengers’ smartphones to the on-board aerial. If the phones have the appropriate features, they can be inductively charged at the same time. The Audi tablet is used for flexible rear seat entertainment. Hi‑fi fans can order the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with state-of-the art 3D sound.
Efficient help: the driver assistance systems
Both S4 models provide 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 Stop&Go including traffic jam assist can take over acceleration, deceleration, and steering up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), 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, head-up display and sensor control for the tailgate on the Audi S4 Avant.
Audi will be supplying the two new S models from 2016.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.