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Watch out Giulia and XE: Audi's new S4 gets a 350bhp V6 turbo

A new turbocharged V6 is the highlight of an Audi S4 that favours evolution over revolution

This is the new Audi S4, and yes, it really does look an awful lot like the old one. Great for selling them to ardent Audiphiles, less so for grabbing lots of attention among the jazzier stars of the Frankfurt motor show.

As you’ve no doubt guessed, more interesting stuff happens beneath the evolutionary exterior. Namely a new engine. Out goes the old S4’s supercharged V6, in its place a turbocharged V6.

It displaces three litres and produces 349bhp and 369lb ft, each representing a rise of about ten per cent on before. Combined with a 75kg lower kerbweight (the S4 saloon weighing 1630kg), that means a marginally quicker 0-62mph time – 4.7 seconds – though the de rigeur 155mph electronic limit remains.

Those power gains go hand in hand with greater efficiency, while being an Audi S car, drive is through all four wheels via a Quattro AWD system. It can send up to 85 per cent of power to the rear axle, with a differential optional at the back should you wish to frequently explore any mild driftability.  

Less excitingly, your only gearbox option is an eight-speed automatic. It’s not a swish twin-clutch affair, either, though we can’t imagine it’ll be too tardy in its shifting.

The S4 rides 23mm lower than a regular A4, while active damping is optional. Expect all the snazzy headlights, active safety tech and Virtual Cockpit goodness from the regular A4, too. Both saloon and Avant versions go on sale in November, with prices likely to start at around £40,000.

While the old S4 only had BMW’s straight-six 3-Series models to worry about, there’s now a pesky V6-powered Jaguar XE and Alfa’s promising new Giulia to compete with. Will the new S4 prove exciting enough?

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