From the way it looks to the way it drives, the Audi 2018 S4 is a blast to pilot, and we dig it. It’s an all-wheel-drive, sport-tuned version of the already excellent A4, powered by a supercharged 333-hp V-6. A six-speed manual is standard; a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic is optional. Interior and exterior styling is understated compared with some of its more extroverted competitors, and the S4 can get pricey when you start to add on the options. An all-new, more powerful S4 is due in early 2017.
The most prominent of these is probably the Audi 2018 S4, which slots in neatly between the A4 and the RS4. (The RS hasn’t been offered in the U.S. since the last generation and currently is being redesigned).
Now Audi has launched a new S4 based on the latest-generation A4. As with the new A4, this car represents a significant step forward in many respects, even if it’s not recognizable as an all-new vehicle at first glance.
To begin with, the Audi 2018 S4 employs an all-new, 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6; internally called EA839, this engine is related to the 4.0-liter V-8 that Porsche will use in the next Panamera. Fitted with a BorgWarner twin-scroll turbocharger, the new mill makes 354 horsepower at 6400 rpm and produces 369 lb-ft of torque starting at a low 1370 rpm. That’s 21 more horsepower and 44 more lb-ft of torque than was offered by the S4’s previous 3.0-liter supercharged V-6.
This engine mates to an eight-speed ZF torque-converter automatic, a unit that replaces the previous model’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG). The S4’s six-speed manual, previously standard equipment, also is dead. Really? Audi says it went for the conventional automatic because U.S. customers prefer the smooth torque-multiplication effect when taking off at a stoplight, something the dual-clutch gearbox is unable to provide.
Audi cites a zero-to-62-mph time of 4.7 seconds—we suspect that’s conservative, and we think that the new Audi 2018 S4 should get to 60 mph about a half-second quicker. Top speed is governed at 155 mph. The S4 is powerful enough to charge into triple-digit speeds with ease, but we wish it evoked a bit more emotion.