DRIVERS WHO feel the need to proclaim their lust for life with go-faster stripes and huge spoilers may find that the latest, 2015 Audi S4 is not for them. This is a subtle sporting development of what is a conservative car — more Clark Kent than Superman. It is a throwback to a genre that used to be called “Q-cars” or, in America, “sleepers” – vehicles that hid their wild performance under a staid cloak of anonymity.
So, despite its shy and retiring appearance, the latest S4 is anything but short of firepower. It packs a 3-litre V6 TFSI petrol engine that generates 349bhp and 369 lb ft of torque, enough for 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed that has to be electronically limited to 155mph. That makes it more potent and faster than the equivalent BMW, the 340i M Sport saloon.
Harnessing this power is Audi’s celebrated quattro all-wheel-drive system, and there’s no shortage of electronic gizmos to help drivers fine-tune the car’s behaviour.
Compared with the previous model, Audi is claiming improvements in fuel consumption and emissions – combined-cycle consumption is quoted at 38.2mpg; CO2 emissions at 170g/km.
The first S4s for British drivers will arrive next summer, in saloon and Avant (estate) form. Prices are expected to start at about £40,000 for a car of understated elegance with a beautiful interior in the best Audi tradition.
If it’s too subtle for your tastes, there will no doubt be a faster, more extrovert RS 4 version in time, developed by Audi’s crack quattro division.