The superiority of the new Audi S4 is therefore immediately reflected in its deliberately restrained appearance. The bodies of the S4 Saloon and Avant, which are sporty in terms of both their proportions and their basic shape, only differ subtly from the other members of the model line. It is the special details that identify the new S4 unmistakably as the sport version.
A typical situation that many drivers of the new Audi S4 will find themselves in when manoeuvring to overtake: a driver familiar with the Audi models looking in their rear-view mirror will see the more powerful, fully painted bumper with large air inlets, xenon headlights with contrasting titanium-coloured inner housings and aluminium-look door mirrors and immediately be aware that a very special Audi is approaching.
An awareness that is confirmed with a glance at the tail end when the S4 has driven past. Here the onlooker will notice the typically powerful exhaust tailpipes on both sides and – on the saloon version – a discreet rear spoiler as the characteristic features of the Audi S4.
S4 models can be identified from the side by sills in the same colour as the body, contrasting strips attached to the bottom of the doors and the characteristic “S” wheels of Avus design. 345 millimetre discs at the front are a visual indication of the brake system’s performance.
The new S4, like the other S models, can be ordered in a choice of exclusively offered 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 Audi S4 is notable not only for its sporting exterior, but even more so for its inner values. This applies not only to its technology, but also to the interior. The principal attribute of this independent top-of-the-range model is its sporting character, which is clearly reflected among other things in its exclusive design and high-quality interior equipment.
The instrument cluster, for example, has the characteristic grey S dials and special needles. The three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with S badge also accentuates the vehicle’s particularly sporty character. If a 6-speed tiptronic is chosen, the gears can also be changed using shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel – an ergonomic concept that has already proven its worth on the multiple Le Mans winner, the Audi R8, and on the Audi RS 6.
Recaro sports seats provide firm lateral support and excellent comfort on long journeys. Not only the driver and front passenger benefit from these qualities, but also passengers on the two rear seats.
Inlays in carbon fibre (standard version) or optionally in birch grey, aluminium grey or black piano finish are exclusive to the S4. Like the special upholstery and trim materials for the seats and surfaces, these add a touch of sporting elegance.
The S4 comes with seats in a leather/cloth combination as standard; a leather/Alcantara combination and the particularly exclusive Silk Nappa leather version are also available as an option. Depending on the choice of material, the interior can be designed in various black/colour combinations and alternatively in silver or dark green.
The engine: a compact power pack
The heart of the new Audi S4 is quite clearly its engine – a further refined V8 with a displacement of 4.2 litres and a five-valve cylinder head. This engine is notable not only for its dominant power output (253 kW/344 bhp), but also for its impressive and unbeatably short design.
Its compact dimensions – especially the length of only 464 millimetres – enable installation for the first time in what is also an extremely slim engine compartment for a vehicle in the B segment.
To make this compactness possible, the Audi engine developers installed a chain drive for camshafts and ancillaries on the engine output side. This made it possible to reduce the length of the engine by no less than 52 millimetres.
The engineers designing this new engine also made a saving in terms of weight. They succeeded, for example, in reducing the weight of the pistons by 70 grams each to 392 grams, whilst the connecting rods have been reduced in weight by 66 grams to 501 grams. These measures provide the basis for low frictional losses in the engine and a high maximum engine speed of 7,200 rpm.
An additional benefit: the entire V8 at only 195 kilograms total weight is just as light as its predecessor in the previous S4, a 2.7-litre V6 biturbo engine. This results in major benefits for the weight balance and handling characteristics.
On the other hand, the engineers have not saved anything in terms of power. The V8’s thrust enables the new Audi S4 with 6-speed manual gearbox to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in only 5.6 seconds. It takes just 20.6 seconds to reach 200 km/h, whilst the top speed is a governed 250 km/h.
The new 4.2-litre engine delivers its maximum power of 253 kW (344 bhp) at 7,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 410 Nm is available at 3,500 rpm. Even at just 1,100 rpm the large V8 produces almost 300 Nm, and between 3,000 and just under 4,500 rpm the peak-torque range is always above 400 Nm.
Clearly more impressive than such figures is the combination in practice of the engine’s spontaneous response to every movement of the accelerator pedal, its astonishing free revving and hefty torque that is characteristic of a V8. And then there is the experience of an equally characteristic V8 sound – reserved and practically free of vibration in the low speed band and with a sonorous tremolo under load – that makes no secret of the engine’s potential.
Power on the one hand and low emissions on the other are not contradictions for the Audi S4. Thanks to efficient emissions control with primary and main catalytic converters, it remains clearly within the EU IV limits.
The Audi S4 consumes an average of 13.3 litres of Super Plus fuel per 100 kilometres.
Manual gearbox or tiptronic: two times six gears plus quattro
At launch all S4 models will be supplied with a 6-speed manual gearbox. This latest-generation gearbox with closely spaced ratios characteristic of a sports car is noted for its extremely precise, short shifts. Thanks to a special mount for the selector forks, the gear lever is effectively protected against driveline vibrations; the driver does not feel the gear lever trembling at all.
Internal friction reduced by a series of measures increases the efficiency of the manual gearbox. This means that engine power can be converted even more efficiently into forward propulsion.
A newly developed 6-speed tiptronic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program DSP and sport program will extend the range in the second half of 2003.
This automatic transmission is designed specifically to meet demanding handling requirements: weight reduction, rapid shifts and an optimised shifting strategy make sure that the convenience of the automatic transmission is combined with the sports performance specific to the S4.
The new 6-speed transmission is 21 kilograms lighter than its predecessor; it has a total weight of just 115 kilograms. The spread of ratios has increased by 25 percent compared with a 5-speed automatic. This means a much improved accelerating performance in the low gears and a clear reduction in engine speed and consequently a reduction in both noise level and fuel consumption at high speeds. These qualities make the Audi S4 the ideal vehicle for long journeys.
The shifting speed of the new 6-speed tiptronic has been significantly optimised. The driver benefits from more spontaneous gear changes particularly when downshifting. In addition, the fact that the engine automatically double-declutches further increases agility.
Both in position D and the sport program S, the shift program responds to influencing parameters such as lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the type of accelerator pedal movement. This means that irritating upshifts when cornering, for example, can be prevented if necessary.
All Audi S models come with quattro four-wheel drive as standard. This ensures excellent traction and directional stability, and minimises the influence of the drive forces on the car’s self-steering behaviour. The self-locking Torsen centre differential on the Audi S4 distributes the drive forces variably between the front and rear axles. This guarantees optimum straight-line running, high directional stability and maximum propulsion.
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 makes for a particularly sensitive response from the suspension. The wheel carriers on the new Audi S4 are made from aluminium for the same reason. Compared with a conventional steel construction this means a reduction in the unsprung mass of almost two kilograms per wheel.
This is a general characteristic for which the A4 model line has received unanimous praise in the automotive press since it first appeared, and which is accentuated even more clearly on this new model. The Audi development engineers have tuned the springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars even more consistently in favour of sports performance. And they have lowered the chassis – and therefore the centre of gravity – by 20 millimetres.
The new S4 generation comes as standard with one of the most elaborate and efficient rear suspension systems currently available: the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear axle, specially designed for quattro drive. Newly tuned toe-angle kinematics optimise the directional stability and the precision of the steering response even further.
Compared with the basic version, the new S4 has a much more direct steering ratio: as far as the driver is concerned, this is a contribution to the sports-oriented handling of the agile eight-cylinder version that can be experienced in all situations. The S4 can be guided extremely precisely around all kinds of corners. A standard feature on both the saloon and the Avant is the speed-dependent servotronic which enables precise steering at high speeds as safely as effortless manoeuvring and parking.
The Audi S4 is being launched with standard-fit 8x18-inch alloy wheels produced exclusively for this vehicle. These are fitted with tyres of size 235/40 R18 which unite good road grip with direct steering properties and defined directional stability. Size 7x17 wheels, with the same Avus design that characterises the other S models, are also available with 225/45 R17 winter tyres.
High-performance brakes with dual-rate servo
The braking system is also matched to the powerful potential of the Audi S4. The ventilated discs measure 340 millimetres in diameter at the front, 300 mm at the rear. The system is operated via a new dual-rate servo. This gives the driver a sporty, firm feel at the brake pedal when low to medium rates of retardation are needed, but retains excellent controllability.
In the comfort braking range of up to around 0.5 g deceleration, the brake servo’s ratio is on a par with the other A4 models with a factor of 5.5 and thus ensures especially good control. Above 0.5 g the ratio is raised to the factor 12. This means that deceleration increases at a disproportionately high rate compared with brake actuating force – a clear advantage for a sporting style of driving.
The S4 thus achieves full deceleration with comparably low pedal force and with less pedal travel than on a conventional system. The Electronic Stabilisation Program ESP 5.7 including hydraulic brake assist ensures active driving safety.
The top sports model in the A4 series: this claim is satisfied even by the standard equipment specification that the S4 and S4 Avant offer.
This of course includes safety features such as full-size front airbags, side airbags integrated into the seat backs and the head airbag system known as sideguard which covers the entire side window area and the A-posts.
Active safety benefits from the Electronic Stabilisation Program ESP and the high-performance brake system with dual-rate servo and brake assist. Standard features also include quattro permanent four-wheel drive which converts engine power with unfailing efficiency into forward movement and also ensures extremely safe handling in all road and weather conditions.
The S4 sports suspension lowers the vehicle’s ride height by 20 millimetres and – apart from its sporty appearance – means a clear advantage in terms of dynamic handling.
The exterior of the S4 models differs from the other models in the A4 series through Avus-design cast aluminium wheels of size 8x18-inch. Other identifying features include electrically adjustable and heated aluminium-design door mirrors, a discreet rear spoiler on the saloon, an original radiator grille with grid pattern and exclusive front and rear bumpers. The S4 Avant is fitted as standard with roof rails – either in anodised or black aluminium. The high-gloss package, another standard feature, contains aluminium-look roof drip mouldings and window capping strips.
Four exclusive colours make it easy to distinguish an S4 from the rest of its family at first glance: Imola Yellow, Nogaro Blue, Brilliant Red and Goodwood Green.
Carbon Atlas inlays or, as a no-cost option, inlays with a black piano finish, in silver aluminium or grey birch offer drivers the chance to customise their car’s interior. S4 badges on the nose and tail, on the scuff plates, in the instrument cluster, on the dashboard and on the 3-spoke sports steering wheel clearly indicate this Audi’s special status, even when stationary.
Recaro sports seats at front (with electric adjustment functions) and rear are an eye-catcher inside the S4. They provide excellent lateral support even when cornering at high speed and are also extremely comfortable on long journeys. The seats are upholstered in a cloth/leather combination as standard.
Comfort and convenience in the S4 are enhanced by numerous other standard equipment features – the deluxe automatic air conditioning with separate controls for driver and front passenger, for example. Other useful features include electric front and rear windows, radio remote control for the central locking with automatic close function and the storage package comprising cup holders, a storage net on the back of the front seats and drawers under the front seats.
All S4 models have high-intensity xenon headlights. The standard lighting package contains door lights, footwell lighting, light units on the door openers, for example, and background lighting on the centre console.
The asymmetrically split rear seat and a load-through facility with ski bag optimise the variability of the luggage compartment on both saloon and Avant models.
In addition to the standard specification, numerous optional extras provide scope for numerous different versions so that each S4 can be designed individually and in keeping with the customer’s personal taste. Here are just a few examples:
Audio systems, with 6 CD changer in the glove box and BOSE sound system as an option, provide a musical contrast to the sporty sound of the engine and, depending on features, traffic information using RDS technology.
Audi telematics provides an additional advantage in terms of information. The latest traffic information can be called up in accordance with the driver’s personal needs for a specific region or route and, if a navigation system is fitted, converted into graphic warnings about traffic hold-ups. Audi telematics also includes a service and emergency call function.
Seats and trims can be ordered as an option in a combination of Alcantara/leather or in Silk Nappa leather.
The basic car phone, radio and navigation functions can be operated at the optional 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel – which can also be supplied as a heated version if required. Voice control for operating the most important navigation, audio and car phone functions provides additional convenience and even greater operating reliability.
Insulating glass and the solar sunroof for supplying power to the car’s ventilation system when the ignition is turned off ensure a particularly high standard of comfort in high outside temperatures. At the same time, a coolbox in the glove compartment keeps refreshing drinks at a pleasant temperature.
2001 CL Type S
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