Audi has been steadily improving its lineup by taking its traditional designs and updating them just enough to mix things up, but there are still a few models that have yet to receive this update. One such model was the S4, which has now joined Audi’s lineup of redesigned models, including the 2016 Audi Q7, 2016 Audi A4, and 2016 Audi R8, with the arrival of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Not surprisingly, the new S4 arrived only a few months after the Germans unveiled the redesigned A4. And as expected, it’s a slightly beefed-up version of the compact sedan that slots between the standard A4 and the upcoming 2017 Audi RS4. As with most Audi redesigns, the new look is joined by a revamped interior, updated tech, and, more importantly, a significantly more powerful engine.

The new S-badged sedan will arrive Stateside in 2016, as a 2017 model. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about the S4.

Updated 09/17/2015: The new Audi S4 made its world debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Continue reading my preview of the 2017 Audi S4 to find out how I think it’ll stack up against its biggest rivals.

  • 2017 - 2018 Audi S4
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    Seven-Speed S tronic (Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    354 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    368 @ 1300 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    49000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

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2017 - 2018 Audi S4 High Resolution Exterior
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Because it is based on the newly launched A4, the S4 inherits all of the sedan’s new design. This makes the S4 slightly larger than its predecessor, as well as the most aggressive S4 yet, due to the A4’s sharper body features and more aerodynamic design. It’s safe to assume the S4’s drag coefficient is identical to the A4’s at 0.23, which is pretty impressive.

Because it is based on the newly launched A4, the S4 inherits all of the sedan's new design.

The S4 also sports new headlamps with a more angular shape and a new LED pattern, a reshaped grille, and a slightly revised hood with subtle creases toward the fenders. While all of the above are identical to the A4, save for the different slats in the grille, it’s the bumper that makes this sedan an S4.

Bolder than the standard piece, the bumper features a revised lower section with a bigger splitter and revised side intakes. Not much of a difference really, but the S4 has always been about a subtly understated design, and this version is obviously no exception to the rule.

Moving on to the sides, the S4 doesn’t have too many features to brag about. The only changes here include revised side skirts, aluminum-look mirror caps, black window trim, and sportier, 18-inch rims (19-inch offered as an option) covering red-painted calipers.

The sports suspension lowers the car by nearly an inch. The rear fascia was enhanced by means of a larger trunklid spoiler and a diffuser-like insert that incorporates two pairs of twin exhaust pipes. Understated, but neat.

Interior

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2017 - 2018 Audi S4 High Resolution Interior
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2017 - 2018 Audi S4 High Resolution Interior
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Much like the exterior, the interior too is similar to the A4’s. Redesigned from the ground up, the new cabin features a much cleaner dashboard with a continuous air-vent strip and a redesigned center stack with the infotainment controls repositioned closer to the center console. A new 8.3-inch color display sits atop the dash, while both the steering wheel and the MMI controls are based on those of the 2014 Audi Prologue Concept.

As for features that are exclusive to the S badge, the S4 comes with sport seats with adjustable side sections, integrated headrests, and a massage function.

The car is also roomier than its predecessor. When the A4 came out, Audi said it offers the "longest interior and greatest shoulder width at the front compared with competitors," a statement that’s available with the S4 as well.

Moving over to convenience features, the new MMI system includes navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, WiFi, and free-text search function. A head-up display and the Audi virtual cockpit feature are available as options, as is the LED interior package with color-adjustable lighting. There’s also an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system and Audi tablet as mobile rear-seat entertainment.

As for features that are exclusive to the S badge, the S4 comes with sport seats with adjustable side sections, integrated headrests, and a massage function. While most of the interior is black, the seats, which are wrapped in Nappa leather and Alcantara, can be had in a combination of Pearl and either Ebony, Rotor Gray or Magma Red. The standard trim has been replaced by matt brushed aluminum, while the door sills and the headrests display "S4" logos. The display on the dash also features a special S4 start screen.

The 12.3-inch screen in the instrument cluster is also bespoke and comes with three views. The Sport screen, exclusive to this nameplate, moves the rev counter into the center for a motorsport-style appearance.

Drivetrain

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As expected, the S4 retained its 3.0-liter V-6 powerplant, but the big news here is that the engine is new and that it now uses a turbo instead of a supercharger. Output sits at 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque (delivered from as low as 1,300 rpm), which is a 21-horsepower and 44-pound-feet improvement over the previous model. Sprinting from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.7 seconds, making the new sedan two tents of a second quicker than last year’s model. Top speed remained locked at 155 mph.

The transmission department also brings major changes, as the manual transmission is no longer available. Instead, the S4 comes standard with an eight-speed automatic. As usual, power is sent to all corners through a permanent all-wheel-drive system. The quattro sends 60 percent of the torque to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions, but it can also send up to 70 percent to the front wheels and up to 85 percent to the rear axle. A sport differential is available.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.0 TFSI V-6
Output 354 HP
Torque 368 LB-FT @ 1,300 - 4,500 RPM
0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) 4.7 seconds
Top Speed 250 KM/H (155.3 MPH)

Safety

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Like any premium car, the S4 is packed with safety and driver assistance systems. Features include airbags front and rear, Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist, Park Assist, Cross Traffic Assist, Exit Warning, and Collision Avoidance Assist. A camera-based traffic sign recognition system rounds off the safety package.

Prices

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In 2015, the S4 comes in a pair of trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige. The Premium Plus starts out at $48,400 and includes features like xenon plug headlights with LED daytime running lights, leather and Alcantara seating, heated seats, a 12-way power driver’s seat and a 4-way power passenger’s seat, and a 10-speaker audio system. The Prestige trim starts at $54,300, and it adds in adaptive headlights, MMI navigation with voice control, parking system plus, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufson audio system.

Chances are that these prices will see a mild hike, especially with the automatic transmission now offered as a standard feature.

2018 Audi S4 Sedan prices

Audi S4 Sedan Premium Plus $51,400
Audi S4 Sedan Prestige $55,800

Competition

2015 BMW 335i

2015 BMW 335i M Performance Edition Exterior
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A key competitor to the S4 is the 335i – the range-topping 3er without an M badge. This sedan comes with a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six engine that puts out 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Though the 335i may be slightly less powerful than the S4, buyers can upgrade to the M Sport package to get close to the sportier look and feel of the S4. The base MSRP of the 335i is $43,750 and the M Sport package adds another $3,000 to it.

Read our full review of a 335i with M-Performance parts here.

2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport

2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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A new addition to the AMG family is this ‘tweener model that’s wedged between the base C-Class and the Mercedes-AMG C63. This model makes use of a 3.0-liter V-6 biturbo engine that pounds out 367 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. This power routes through Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system after a seven-speed auto transmission is finished with it. This all adds up to a sedan that can launch to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds.

Pricing is not yet available yet, but early estimates put it at about $50,000.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

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Audi has been heading in a great direction recently with its updates, as it has taken its iconic and timeless look and updated it just enough to keep it fresh. On top of that, the German brand has been upping the power in various models, so that these refreshes are more than just aesthetic upgrades. This also applies to the S4, which not only features a new design and a refreshed interior, but a new engine and an automatic gearbox as standard as well. Sure, some gearheads will like miss the stick, but the standard automatic will likely make the S4 that much more popular among performance-oriented enthusiasts.

  • Leave it
    • Overpowered by the C450 AMG Sport
    • Pretty pricey for an Audi
    • Audi’s MMI system is less than impressive

Updated History

Updated 09/02/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming S4 testing in the Alps with no camouflage at all. As it gets pretty clear, the new S4 gets a more powerful look with bigger air intakes in the front bumper, wider side sills and a quad exhaust system. Official debut should be made in a few days at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Spy Shots

September 2, 2015 - Audi S4 caught camo-free

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2017 - 2018 Audi S4 Exterior Spyshots
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April 21, 2015 - Audi S4 testing at Nurburgring

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2017 - 2018 Audi S4 Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

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.

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“At Audi, we have more than 20 years of expertise in developing our sporty S models,” says Professor 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.”

Lightweight and powerful: the 3.0 TFSI
The heart of the S models is a newly developed V6 engine with petrol direct injection and turbocharging. The 3.0 TFSI has an output of 260 kW (354 hp); its 500 Nm (368.8 lb‑ft) of torque is available across a wide range of speeds from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm. The engine outstrips its predecessor in terms of power and torque, while simultaneously offering significantly lower fuel consumption and weight.

The engine can accelerate the Audi S4 from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 4.7 seconds, and the electronic limiter kicks in at 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Despite its considerably improved performance, the V6 is extremely efficient. In the NEDC cycle, the S4 Sedan consumes less than 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers with 170 grams CO2 per kilometer (31.8 US mpg [273.6 g/mi]).

The new eight-speed tiptronic transmission is highly efficient and provides fast, comfortable and spontaneous gear changes. Whenever the driving situation allows, it switches to freewheeling to save fuel.

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As on every Audi S model, the power of the 3.0 TFSI is transmitted to the road by quattro permanent all-wheel drive. During normal driving, the selflocking center differential funnels 60 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 40 percent to the front. Depending on the operating situation, it can distribute up to 70 percent to the front axle or up to 85 percent to the rear. The wheel-selective torque control based on an intelligent software function rounds off the quattro drive train. For dynamic cornering, the wheels on the inside of the bend are slightly braked before they can slip. This makes handling more precise, agile, and stable. A sport differential available as an option improves the handling further by actively distributing the forces between the rear wheels.

Intelligent dynamics: suspension
The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant handle corners of all kinds with aplomb – whether on a racetrack or a mountain pass. For fast motorway driving, both models feature impressive straight-line stability. This performance is down to the newly developed suspension. The five-link suspension on the front and rear axle precisely separates the longitudinal and transverse forces, thus ensuring optimum handling in all driving situations. Like the electromechanical power steering, both are designed to be very lightweight. Variable speed-dependent dynamic steering is available as an option.

The standard S sport suspension is 23 millimeters (0.9 in) lower than on the basic model. The ride height is the same with the optional suspension with active damper control. Along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and sport differential, CDC dampers (CDC = continuous damping control) are included in the Audi drive select handling system which comes as standard. This enables the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics in several modes.

The standard 18 inch wheels in 5‑twin-spoke star design roll on 245/40 size tires. A 19‑inch alternative is available from quattro GmbH. Powerful, stable brakes are fitted on the large wheels.

Sporty understatement: design
The appearance of the new S4 models is subtly understated. At the front, the Singleframe grille and the accentuated horizontal lines underline the width. The bumpers and air inlets are prominently profiled. Many of the add-on parts are painted in finely graduated matt gray tones, accentuated with chrome trimming at selected points.

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The exterior mirror housings in aluminum look are a visual highlight on the clear flowing side lines of the 4.74 meter long S4 (15.6 ft). The strongly profiled sill trims also give both models a striking appearance. On the tailgate, a separating edge provides targeted aerodynamics. The S‑specific rear bumper integrates a black honeycomb grille, an S‑typical diffuser clip, and the four tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system. Intelligent composite construction characterizes the body. This makes it exceptionally torsionally rigid, safe, and lightweight. It is the basis for the low unladen weight of the car. The sedan with quattro drive as standard tips the scales at 1,630 kilograms (3593.5 lb), the Avant at 1,675 kilograms (3692.7 lb).

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.

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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.

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.

Attractive: equipment
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.

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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.

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