December 2, 2002

Supreme Power and Superior Handling: The New Audi S4
Text and pictures courtesy of Audi AG

Audi is presenting the top sports model in the A4 range. The new generation of the S4 is making its debut. Its further refined V8 engine with chain drive at the rear and a displacement of 4.2 litres delivers 253 kW (344 bhp) and 410 Nm of torque. It consequently sets clear benchmarks in the B segment: a benchmark for a supreme and even development of power resulting from the large swept volume, and a benchmark too for a new dimension in dynamic handling.

The S model tradition at Audi

The S models date back to the 1980s when the legendary Audi quattro went from victory to victory on the world's rally tracks. The first vehicle to bear the "S" symbol in its name was the unmistakeable quattro S1 with its large spoilers in which Walter Röhrl, among others, won the Pikes Peak hill climb.

The first Audi road vehicles bearing the "S" badge were more modest in appearance, but still athletic in stature: the S2, for example, with a 2.2-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine and 169 kW (230 bhp) based on the Coupé and the Audi 80 model line.

In the second half of the 1990s Audi then introduced several of these sporty top models in their respective model lines:

  • the now 165 kW (225 bhp) S3
  • the 195 kW (265 bhp) S4/S4 Avant (built as an Avant until 2001)
  • the 251 kW (340 bhp) S6 and S6 Avant
  • and the 265 kW (360 bhp) S8 (built until 2002).

    All these models not only have engines that marked a major hike in power compared to their next most powerful cousins, but also quattro permanent four-wheel drive, sports suspension, sporting interior and exterior design attributes and extensive equipment specific to the S models.

    These characteristics ultimately also constitute the Audi "S" philosophy: S models are sporty and exclusive, but at the same time extremely high-performance top versions in their respective model lines. They bring together the brand's technical highlights - such as quattro permanent four-wheel drive, powerful engines and suspension for the optimum in dynamism - to produce a synthesis of driving enjoyment and versatility.

    And they appeal to customers who do not wish to define their liking for distinctive sportiness through aggressive and obtrusive design attributes, but who prefer clear and yet discreet visual signs.

    Exterior design

    The superiority of the new Audi S4 is therefore immediately reflected in its deliberately restrained appearance. The bodies of the S4 Saloon and Avant, which are sporty in terms of both their proportions and their basic shape, only differ subtly from the other members of the model line. It is the special details that identify the new S4 unmistakably as the sport version.

    A typical situation that many drivers of the new Audi S4 will find themselves in when manoeuvring to overtake: a driver familiar with the Audi models looking in their rear-view mirror will see the more powerful, fully painted bumper with large air inlets, xenon headlights with contrasting titanium-coloured inner housings and aluminium-look door mirrors and immediately be aware that a very special Audi is approaching.

    An awareness that is confirmed with a glance at the tail end when the S4 has driven past. Here the onlooker will notice the typically powerful exhaust tailpipes on both sides and - on the saloon version - a discreet rear spoiler as the characteristic features of the Audi S4.

    S4 models can be identified from the side by sills in the same colour as the body, contrasting strips attached to the bottom of the doors and the characteristic "S" wheels of Avus design. 345 millimetre discs at the front are a visual indication of the brake system's performance.

    The new S4, like the other S models, can be ordered in a choice of exclusively offered exterior paint finishes: Imola Yellow, Brilliant Red, Nogaro Blue and Goodwood Green, pearl effect. The S4 can also be ordered in Brilliant Black, in the metallic colours Silver or Dolphin Grey and in Ebony Black or Moro Blue, both with pearl effect.

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