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Brand New Audi S4

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Tony O'Kane | May 21, 2009

It sounded fantastic and it was certainly quick, but alas, Audi has finally buried its sonorous V8-powered S4 and replaced it with the newer, more eco-friendly V6-powered model.

The 2009 Audi S4 was launched in Australia today, and although it's minus a couple of cylinders and has lost a bit of its bark, it's still every bit the performance car of its predecessor.

A 3.0 litre supercharged V6 sits where the 4.2 litre V8 used to, and develops 245kW of power and 440Nm of torque. That's 8kW less than the old V8, but the torque figure is 30Nm higher.

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Even more telling is how that torque is produced: where the outgoing V8's peak torque band began at 3500rpm, the new 3.0 TFSI V6 thumps out its maximum numbers at 2500rpm and maintains the full 440Nm until 4850rpm.

More low-down urge translates into snappier acceleration and faster response off the line, and in a lot of respects torque is more important than outright power. The S4's 5.3 second 0-100km/h time makes that very apparent.

Part of the reason for the switch to forced induction was the need to make the S4 Euro V emissions compliant, and with the new motor consuming just 9.4l/100km and puffing out 219 grams of CO2 per kilometre, it's certainly a lot greener than the V8.

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So it's got a better engine, but what about the rest of the S4 package? Purists may be disappointed to learn that a manual model won't be available in Australia for the time being, but with Audi's new seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic transmission being standard equipment, you're probably better off for it.

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Quattro, the mainstay of Audi's performance hardware, is the drivetrain of choice for the S4. However this time it benefits from the addition of an active sports differential, which directs torque between the rear wheels according to which one has the most grip.

Double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension are linked to a set of sports dampers and carry beefed-up wheel bearings, while dynamic steering and adaptive dampers are available as an option. Braking is handled by 345mm ventilated rotors up front and 330mm ventilated rotors out back, each clamped by floating calipers.

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The 2009 Audi S4 is now available from Audi Australia at a starting price of $118,990. For more information about Audi's greener, gruntier sports sedan, hit up the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

Audi has launched the new sporty top model in the midsize class – the Audi S4 – in Australia.

With it’s brand new three-litre V6 with direct fuel injection and mechanical turbo charging, the Audi S4 delivers a powerful 245 kW and crosses the finish line from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds, using on average just 9.4 litres of fuel per 100 km.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system transfers its power to the road in style, which is then converted by the sport suspension into dynamic handling.

The new seven-speed S tronic changes gears with lightning speed, and the new sport differential distributes the torque as needed between the rear wheels.

This impressive ‘everyday sportscar’ is priced at $118,900 and carries a typically high level of standard specification including a DVD-based Navigation System, Audi MMI operating logic, electric seats and mirrors, Audi Parking Plus system at front and rear, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and full keyless entry and start to name a few.

Audi’s managing director, Joerg Hofmann, says the new S4 is significant for Australia thanks to the continuation of Audi’s progressive performance message – even in the top-most models of each segment.

“The new Audi S4 will undoubtedly find favour with Australian buyers. Typically for Audi S models, its design is subtle yet dynamic, it is larger than its predecessor and offers seating for five people making it versatile and practical, and fuel consumption has been reduced by around 24 % – an incredible achievement for a potent sportscar,” Mr Hofmann said.

Athletic and muscular on the road, the design of the new Audi S4 is all the more striking thanks to the special aprons, aluminium-look exterior mirrors, the 18-inch S-design alloy wheels, sill panels, restrained rear spoiler and quadruple exhaust system. The now-familiar Audi Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and the rear LED lights are further distinctive touches.

The interior carries this sportiness throughout, with sports seats featuring electric lumbar support and pull-out thigh support, an instrument panel with grey dials and white needles, the multifunction sport steering wheel, Advanced key and a hallmark of all S models - the S emblems.

Optional assistance systems provide the driver with even greater control on the road. The adaptive cruise control (ACC) regulates the distance to the vehicle in front, and braking guard issues warnings regarding possible rear-end collisions. The Audi side assist makes changing lanes safer and the Audi parking system advanced makes backing into a parking space easier.

However, it is the heart of the new S4 that really impresses. The 3.0 TFSI, the newest member of the Audi V-engine family, is an outstanding example of how the brand with the four rings blends performance and efficiency. The V6 generates its power from a displacement of 2,995 cc, is equipped with a supercharger, and delivers 245 kW.

The “T” in the 3.0’s TFSI nomenclature no longer merely stands for “turbo”, but rather for the concept of supercharging in general – extensive testing on the big V6 has proven the superiority of mechanical charging. In conjunction with direct injection it is far superior to twin turbochargers, both in terms of packaging and of starting performance and responsiveness.

The compressor is so compact that it easily fits inside the 90-degree V of the cylinder banks, in place of the intake manifold. Two four-vane rotary pistons counter-rotate inside the supercharger at up to 23,000 rpm. Two charge-air coolers are integrated into the housing and are connected to a separate coolant circuit. An impressive array of measures keeps the noise generated by the compressor to a minimum.

The engine-driven belt that powers the mechanical charger provides full thrust right from idling speed. The 3.0 TFSI delivers its maximum 440 Nm at 2,500 rpm and maintains this constantly until 4,850 rpm. In fourth gear, the vehicle accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Thanks to the extremely short gas paths, the sonorous, supercharged V6 responds spontaneously to the throttle, even more so than a naturally aspirated engine of the same displacement.

Furthermore, the new 3.0 TFSI achieves exemplary fuel efficiency. On average, the sedan uses 9.4 litres of fuel per 100 km – an incredible improvement of 3.0 litres (24 percent) compared with its predecessor.

The five-link front axle and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear axle are of a highly sophisticated design made almost entirely of aluminium and therefore very light in weight. The low-mounted steering gear transmits the steering forces to the wheels without any lag time and gives the driver a precise and sensitive road feel.

The chassis boasts stiffer axle bearings, and the sporty tuning with stiff shock absorbers puts the car 20 mm closer to the road.

Huge high-performance and fade-resistant brakes sit behind the 18-inch and optional 19-inch cast aluminum wheels. The black-painted brake calipers – at the front with the S4 logo – grip the ventilated disks with newly developed brake pads.

The Audi drive select driving dynamics system is a further high-end technology featured on the new S4. It accesses the throttle response characteristics, the shift points for the seven-speed S tronic and supports the speed-dependent servotronic steering. With the press of a button, the driver can decide whether these systems should operate in “comfort,” “auto” or “dynamic” mode.

Audi drive select is available in conjunction with two additional technologies – with adaptive dampers; or with sport differential, adaptive control for the shock absorbers and dynamic steering. With this latter option, a superposition gear varies the ratio by almost 100 percent and in terms of driving safety, it reduces the load on the ESP stabilisation program as it stabilises the car through lightning-fast steering interventions when cornering at the handling limits.

With the new active sport differential, Audi elevates the road dynamics of cars with quattro permanent four-wheel drive to a new level. The innovative control system distributes the drive torque in continuously variable proportions between the rear wheels. If necessary, it diverts virtually all the power to just one of the two wheels – thereby achieving a substantial increase in agility, driving pleasure and active driving safety.

This targeted control of the power flow causes the vehicle to turn even more spontaneously and directly into bends, as well as endowing the S4 with much longer-lasting directional stability. The sport differential is not only effective under load but also when the car is coasting.

To-date around 85,000 Audi S4 models have been sold worldwide.

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