The Audi S4 is notable not only for its sporting exterior, but even more so for its inner values. This applies not only to its technology, but also to the interior. The principal attribute of this independent top-of-the-range model is its sporting character, which is clearly reflected among other things in its exclusive design and high-quality interior equipment.
The instrument cluster, for example, has the characteristic grey S dials and special needles. The three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with S badge also accentuates the vehicle's particularly sporty character. If a 6-speed tiptronic is chosen, the gears can also be changed using shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel - an ergonomic concept that has already proven its worth on the multiple Le Mans winner, the Audi R8, and on the Audi RS 6.
Recaro sports seats provide firm lateral support and excellent comfort on long journeys. Not only the driver and front passenger benefit from these qualities, but also passengers on the two rear seats.
Inlays in carbon fibre (standard version) or optionally in birch grey, aluminium grey or black piano finish are exclusive to the S4. Like the special upholstery and trim materials for the seats and surfaces, these add a touch of sporting elegance.
The S4 comes with seats in a leather/cloth combination as standard; a leather/Alcantara combination and the particularly exclusive Silk Nappa leather version are also available as an option. Depending on the choice of material, the interior can be designed in various black/colour combinations and alternatively in silver or dark green.
The engine: a compact power pack
The heart of the new Audi S4 is quite clearly its engine - a further refined V8 with a displacement of 4.2 litres and a five-valve cylinder head. This engine is notable not only for its dominant power output (253 kW/344 bhp), but also for its impressive and unbeatably short design.
Its compact dimensions - especially the length of only 464 millimetres - enable installation for the first time in what is also an extremely slim engine compartment for a vehicle in the B segment.
To make this compactness possible, the Audi engine developers installed a chain drive for camshafts and ancillaries on the engine output side. This made it possible to reduce the length of the engine by no less than 52 millimetres.
The engineers designing this new engine also made a saving in terms of weight. They succeeded, for example, in reducing the weight of the pistons by 70 grams each to 392 grams, whilst the connecting rods have been reduced in weight by 66 grams to 501 grams. These measures provide the basis for low frictional losses in the engine and a high maximum engine speed of 7,200 rpm.
An additional benefit: the entire V8 at only 195 kilograms total weight is just as light as its predecessor in the previous S4, a 2.7-litre V6 biturbo engine. This results in major benefits for the weight balance and handling characteristics.
On the other hand, the engineers have not saved anything in terms of power. The V8's thrust enables the new Audi S4 with 6-speed manual gearbox to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in only 5.6 seconds. It takes just 20.6 seconds to reach 200 km/h, whilst the top speed is a governed 250 km/h.
The new 4.2-litre engine delivers its maximum power of 253 kW (344 bhp) at 7,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 410 Nm is available at 3,500 rpm. Even at just 1,100 rpm the large V8 produces almost 300 Nm, and between 3,000 and just under 4,500 rpm the peak-torque range is always above 400 Nm.
Clearly more impressive than such figures is the combination in practice of the engine's spontaneous response to every movement of the accelerator pedal, its astonishing free revving and hefty torque that is characteristic of a V8. And then there is the experience of an equally characteristic V8 sound - reserved and practically free of vibration in the low speed band and with a sonorous tremolo under load - that makes no secret of the engine's potential.
Power on the one hand and low emissions on the other are not contradictions for the Audi S4. Thanks to efficient emissions control with primary and main catalytic converters, it remains clearly within the EU IV limits.
The Audi S4 consumes an average of 13.3 litres of Super Plus fuel per 100 kilometres.