New Audi S4 Avant spied – next-gen M340d rival to be revealed next year

Audi’s next generation S4 is due to be launched in 2023 with diesel power and four-wheel drive

Audi’s next generation S4 Avant has been spied undergoing testing ahead of its reveal next year. The new model will join a full range of refreshed A4 Avant models that will go on to rival the BMW 3-series Touring and Mercedes C-class estate. As has been the case since 1991, the A4 range will be joined by a high performance S4 model, which over the years has featured a selection of different powertrains from turbo-six, to V8 and currently a mild-hybrid diesel the new car is expected to retain when introduced in 2024. 

This next generation A4 Avant isn’t far off its official reveal and these latest spy images  suggest the first high performance derivative, the S4, won’t be far behind. Visual clues include the defacto quad exhaust pipes and Audi’s hexagonal grille insert reserved for S models. Little else has changed in comparison to other A4 prototypes that have been spotted, but as is the case in Audi’s current generation, S models often have few other visual modifications compared to their RS cousins.

There’s still speculation surrounding the powertrain Audi will use in the next generation S4, but it’s expected to retain an updated version of the current car’s mild-hybrid V6 diesel. Producing 342bhp and a chunky 516lb ft of torque, diesel powertrains might be losing favour in the wider market but Audi thinks it has found a sweet spot with its high-powered diesel powertrain, pairing performance with relative efficiency. This will likely be paired to the existing combination of an eight-speed torque converter-style automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. 

Audi is also working on a new plug-in hybrid powertrain for the next RS4, but it's thought that Audi Sport will keep the new powertrain for itself, retaining further distinction between the two models that go beyond a few extra horsepower and wider arches. 

While there’s a chance that Audi will just employ the current V6 TDI powertrain wholesale into the new S4, we expect some work to have been done to improve its performance and efficiency, even if it's focused more on the electric components rather than the engine.

Also revealed are a few initial details of the new S4’s interior, which will follow other models in the range with a more complex and angular design. In a first for Audi, the dash will incorporate a free-standing instrument cluster, with a second larger screen in the centre housing the latest generation of Audi’s MMI interface. It doesn’t look to incorporate a second display, but does retain a wide centre console, one with Audi’s lozenge-style gear selector replacing the traditional gear selector. 

As the first of a new generation of MLB-evo models from Audi, it’ll also inform the design, technical elements and interior of other future combustion-engined models, ones that will need to coexist with a spread of dedicated EV models such as the incoming A6 e-tron Sportback. It’s also worth noting that we’ve yet to see an A4 or S4 saloon in prototype form – usually the body style that leads development of new core models like this. 

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