The heart of the Audi S4 quattro, available in Britain next April, is its engine - a 4.2-litre V8 producing 344 bhp - enabling the S4 qauttro to rocket to 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds. It takes just 20.6 seconds to reach 124mph while the top speed is governed to 155mph.
Compact engine's power utilised to the full
The eight-cylinder engine is only 464 millimetres in length enabling an extremely small engine compartment. To make this compactness possible, Audi engine developers installed a chain drive for camshafts and ancillaries on the engine output side.
The V8 engine's gross weight of just 195 kilograms is as light as the previous generation S4's twin-turbo 2.7-litre V6 engine resulting in major benefits to the weight balance and handling characteristics.
The 4.2-litre engine in the new S4 quattro produces its maximum power of 253 kW (344 bhp) at 7000 rpm. The peak torque of 410 Nm is available at 3500 rpm.
Also impressive is the engine's spontaneous response to every movement of the accelerator pedal, with its astonishing free revving nature and hefty torque which is characteristic of a V8.
Power is transferred to the wheels via the latest generation 6-speed manual gearbox, which is noted for its closely spaced ratios and extreme precision thanks to a short sports-style shift and quattro permanent four-wheel drive.
The S4 quattro can therefore convert its engine output into propulsive power most efficiently at all times and reach new heights of superiority through the handling potential of its aluminium suspension.
The lightweight aluminium suspension, based on the much-praised axle design of the A4 series, provides the ideal basis for maximum agility and, consequently, sheer driving pleasure.
Four-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension enable maximum steering precision and clearly defined handling with excellent cornering stability. Ride comfort also benefits from this ingenious axle design because a low unsprung mass also makes for a particularly sensitive response from the suspension.
Design and equipment
The superiority of the new Audi S4 quattro is immediately reflected in its deliberately restrained appearance. The body of the S4 quattro saloon and Avant, which is sporty in terms of both its proportions and its basic shape, only differs subtly from the other members of the A4 model range.
The colour coded bumper with large air inlets, xenon headlights with contrasting titanium-coloured inner housing and polished aluminium exterior mirrors, subtly indicate to those in the know that they are looking at a very special Audi.
Powerful exhaust tailpipes on both sides and - on the saloon version - a discreet rear spoiler are the characteristic features of the Audi S4 quattro.
The S4 quattro is also immediately recognisable on the inside. The instrument cluster has the grey dials that are characteristic of S series models. The three-spoke sports steering wheel with leather rim and S emblem also emphasises the vehicle's sporting character.
Recaro sports seats that can be electrically adjusted provide firm lateral support and excellent comfort on long journeys.Published 18 September 2002