With the launch of the saloon and estate versions of the S4 this week, Audi has breathed fire into its understated A4 range… The S4, with a 4,2-litre V8 under its bonnet, pulls no punches.

With the launch of the saloon and estate versions of the S4 this week, Audi has breathed hellfire into its understated A4 range. And with a 4,2-litre V8 under the bonnet, the S4 pulls no punches.
The extremely light and short dimensions of the 4,2-litre V8 was achieved through clever placement of a chain to drive camshafts and ancillaries at the rear - or output side - of the engine. The power-to-weight ratio of the new generation has been improved compared to its predecessor, because the V8, which produces 253kW at 7 000 r/min and 410 N.m of torque, weighs only 195 kg – same as the a 2,7-litre V6 bi-turbo engine fitted to its predecessor. At 1 100 r/min the V8 produces almost 300 N.m, and between 3 000 and 4 500 rpm the peak-torque range is above 400 N.m, a spokesman said.
Volkswagen SA claims the new S4, fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 5,6 seconds, reach 200 km/h in 20,6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. As expected, the S4 has quattro permanent all-wheel drive for optimum traction and directional stability, “and minimises the influence of the drive forces on the car's self-steering behaviour”, the manufacturer says. The self-locking Torsen centre differential distributes the drive forces variably between the front and rear axles.
The Audi development engineers have tuned the A4’s springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars to maximise the S4’s handling and lowered the chassis 20 millimetres. The new S4 has a much more direct steering ratio than its siblings thanks to speed-dependent servotronic system. The braking system (345-mm ventilated discs at the front, 300 mm at the rear) has also been uprated and is operated via a new dual-rate servo.
Appearance wise, the S4 is typically understated, but can differentiated from other A4s by a fully-painted bumper with large air ducts, xenon headlights with contrasting titanium-coloured inner housing and chromed door mirrors. The S4 has large exhaust tailpipes on both sides and - on the saloon - a discreet rear spoiler.
The new S4 can be ordered in a choice of exclusive exterior paint finishes: Imola Yellow, Brilliant Red, Nogaro Blue and Goodwood Green, pearl effect. The S4 can also be ordered in Brilliant Black, in the metallic colours Silver or Dolphin Grey and in Ebony Black or Moro Blue, both with pearl effect.
The interior features a unique instrument cluster with grey S dials and special needles, three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with S badge and Recaro sports seats. Furthermore, inlays in carbon fibre (standard version) or optionally in birch grey, aluminium grey or black piano finish are also exclusive to the S4.
Safety features include full-size front airbags, side airbags integrated into the seat backs, head airbag system (sideguard) that covers the entire side window area and the A-posts, ABS with brake assist and the Electronic Stabilisation Program ESP 5.7.
The prices are R507 000 for the S4 6-speed quattro manual (sedan) and R523 000 for the Avant. Included in the price is a free 'S' High Performance Driving Course from the Audi Advanced Driving Academy at Kyalami.