Fresh off its debut of the new A4, it was only a matter of time before Audi introduced its angry sibling, the S4, to the motoring world. That time has come — at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi used the venue to bring forth the latest incarnation of the hot sedan.
By and large, the new S4 doesn’t break any new ground that wasn’t already broken up by the new A4. This is a good thing for a couple of reasons — first, because the A4 is already a good car. Secondly, because traditionally, the S4 is meant to be little more than a go-fast version of the A4. It’s not supposed to be a standalone model. It’s an A4 with more zoom. It’s the RS4 territory where Audi gets to make a statement with its engineering prowess.
The 2017 S4 retains the sleeper appeal that the model has always had. However, under the hood, it’s packing 354 horsepower over the 333 of the current model. Zero to 62 happens in in 4.7 seconds, thanks to its newly developed turbocharged V6. Some extra oomph is available in the form of 368 pound-feet of torque. despite the extra power, the S4 can still manage over 31 miles per gallon, Audi said.
“At Audi, we have more than 20 years of expertise in developing our sporty S models,” said 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 drive train, suspension, and infotainment technology. The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant impressively continue this sporty tradition.”
The design of the car itself is nothing spectacular. It uses the same restrained, taught styling that has been a hallmark of the A4 line for decades, and with the exception of a few tweaks here and there (rims, a more aggressive face and tail), it’s pretty hard to distinguish its appearance from its far more sedate younger brother.
Sadly, a manual transmission isn’t an option for the new S4 (or the S4 Avant, which was revealed by its side). In its place is a new eight-speed tiptronic transmission that “is highly efficient and provides fast, comfortable and spontaneous gear changes. Whenever the driving situation allows, it switches to freewheeling to save fuel,” Audi notes.
Like the exterior, the interior will be readily familiar to any existing late-model Audi owner: It’s a gentle evolution of Audi’s cockpit, without any major disruptions. The virtual cockpit is optional for the models, and the S4 comes equipped with LTE data capabilities and Audi’s MMI user interface. On the tech end, there’s active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and the “predictive efficiency assistant,” a feature that “supports the driver in saving fuel, for example with gear change prompts.”
Pricing hasn’t been made available yet, and there’s no word on whether the U.S. will be fortunate enough to have both the S4 sedan and Avant when the cars drop next year. The wagon market in America isn’t as robust as it once was (and as a result, we’ve missed out on some pretty awesome models), but with Volkswagen posting strong wagon sales from the Golf Sportwagon, it may give Audi just the prompt it needs to try and corner the high-end.
Check out our Frankfurt Motor Show coverage here.