Audi will add a new S4 Avant to its lineup at Geneva, following on from the S4 it revealed last year at the Frankfurt motor show.
Based on the latest-generation A4 Avant that debuted last year, you’d need to be a real fan of the marque to differentiate it from cooking models, but subtlety has arguably always been part of the S4 Avant’s appeal.
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All the traditional S touches are present and correct: The front and rear bumpers have a slightly more aggressive appearance than those of standard models, with larger air vents at the front and a honeycomb grille, aluminium diffuser and four tailpipes at the rear.
Aluminium accents on the grille, silver-coloured door mirror caps and distinctive 18-inch alloy wheels give further clues, though optional 19-inch items should make the S4’s status even more obvious. Inside there’s Nappa leather trim, S badging and aluminium inlays. Audi’s clever virtual cockpit is optionally available (£450 on S Line models, so expect similar on the S4).
At the S4’s heart is a 3-litre, turbocharged V6. It develops 349bhp and 369lb ft of torque, the latter in a spread from 1370-4500rpm. Combined with lower weight than its predecessor – at 1675kg, it’s 75kg lighter than the last S4 Avant – it’s both faster and more fuel-efficient.
The 0-62mph sprint now takes 4.7 seconds (down from 5.1sec), though the 155mph electronically-limited top speed is the same as before. The European combined fuel economy figure is a respectable 38.2mpg, though actually achieving that on the road might be more of a struggle.
An eight-speed tiptronic automatic delegates power to all four wheels – with a slight bias to those at the rear, while torque vectoring distributes grunt to those tyres best able to turn it into forward motion. Electric power steering is standard, with variable-ratio dynamic steering an option.
S4s sit 23mm lower than regular A4s, on five-link front and rear suspension and optional continuous damping control (CDC). The car’s behaviour, including the CDC, steering, transmission and optional sport differential, can be tweaked using the Audi drive select system.
UK pricing hasn’t yet been confirmed, but Audi quotes a 59,300 euro entry price for the S4 saloon, and 61,150 euros for the Avant.