AUDI’S ALL-NEW S4 is the pin­na­cle of the A4 range and not only is it lighter, faster, and more tech­ni­cally ad­vanced, it’s also six-grand cheaper with twelve grand of ex­tra kit.

Avail­able as a four-door sedan or five door wagon (Avant in Audi-speak) the fun starts at just $99,900 for the sedan and $102,900 for the Avant that we as­sessed.

Be­hind the four-rings on the grille lurks an all-new 3.0 litre, twin-scroll tur­bocharged V6 co-de­vel­oped with Porsche. The turbo sits in the vee of the en­gine to elim­i­nate lag and smashes out an at­ten­tion get­ting 260kW/500Nm (up by 15kW/60Nm over its pre­de­ces­sor). Cou­pled to an eight-speed tip­tronic auto, its me­chan­i­cal cen­tre diff feeds the quat­tro all-wheel drive sys­tem. By the time you hit triple fig­ures just 4.9 sec­onds have van­ished and the elec­tronic fun-en­der kicks in at 250km/h.

Not that you’d know that by look­ing at it. Un­like oth­ers, it doesn’t feel the need to be shouty and at­ten­tion seek­ing. Its in­con­spic­u­ous looks per­fectly mask its sledge-ham­mer per­for­mance.

This grey­hound of the A4 pack sits 23 mm lower on 19-inch al­loys on 245/35 hoops and wears a min­i­mal­ist body kit of a small boot-lip spoiler, side skirts, rear sports bumper and a sin­gle-frame black hon­ey­comb grille with 3D look adap­tive head­lights. The real give­away is the four ex­haust out­lets that will be no­ticed by the keen-eyed ob­server.

Audi reck­ons the S4 has the most ad­vanced in­fo­tain­ment and safety sys­tems in the seg­ment and in­cludes the spec­tac­u­lar LCD cus­tomis­able Audi virtual cock­pit, to­gether with Multi-Me­dia In­ter­face nav­i­ga­tion.

In­side the flaw­lessly crafted in­te­rior, you get a decent amount of leg, head and lug­gage room with body-hug­ging Al­can­tara and Nappa-Leather front sports pews. Its sporty tone sees it don­ning alu­minium and car­bon-look trim­mings, tri-zone air con and a per­fectly­sized, D-shape, leather cov­ered, multi-func­tion steering wheel with pad­dle shifts and stain­less steel ped­als.

Safety wise Audi has chucked the en­tire cat­a­logue into the S4 which comes with self-park­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol with traf­fic jam as­sist, exit as­sist – to

warn of ap­proach­ing cy­clists or pedes­tri­ans, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, lane-keep as­sist, cross-traf­fic alert through the re­vers­ing cam­era, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing (up to 85km/h), turn as­sist, col­li­sion avoid­ance and 360 de­gree sur­round-view cam­eras.

Sim­ply put, th­ese facts and fig­ures trans­late to Fast with a cap­i­tal F and en­gag­ing with a cap­i­tal E.

The S4’s driver-change­able drive modes vary the ag­gres­sion of the steering, sus­pen­sion, gearshifts and power de­liv­ery and work in ca­hoots with the traction con­trol to have you point­ing in the right di­rec­tion and let you fully ex­ploit its sub­lime on-road tal­ents.

Scram­bling out of switch­backs or scyth­ing through sweep­ers, the S4’s five-link sus­pen­sion en­sures it sticks to the road like paint with a re­as­sur­ing rock-solid feel, the fluid steering al­low­ing pin­point ac­cu­racy and the brakes hav­ing an eye-ball pop­ping pro­gres­sive feel. When press­ing on, the quat­tro sys­tem chan­nels up to 85 per cent of its power to the rear wheels, while cruis­ing sees it de­fault to a 40/60 front-rear split.

The Porsche co-de­vel­oped, twin-scroll V6 turbo barks deeper and louder the more you tickle the throt­tle to the 6,500rpm red­line. It’s one of those in­tox­i­cat­ing sounds that just makes you nail the loud pedal time and time again and sounds even bet­ter in tun­nels. Downshifts are met with a vol­ley of pops and backfires on the over run, so that got a good work­out too.

Gearchanges through the eight-speed tip­tronic box are im­per­cep­ti­ble un­less you en­gage launch con­trol. Then it gets all feisty; shov­ing you back in the seat as it thumps from cog to cog, the speedo whizzing to three fig­ures in a blink of an eye and the hori­zon quickly fill­ing the screen.

The more seat time I had with the Audi S4, the more I fell for its con­sid­er­able charms. It en­gages and re­wards the driver like few oth­ers.

This lat­est ver­sion isn’t just the pin­na­cle of the cur­rent A4 range, it is also the crown­ing glory of the S4 badge, which was in­tro­duced by Audi back in 1993.

An orig­i­nal S4 would have set you back $132,890 in 1993 and even the suc­ces­sor to this lat­est S4 would have emp­tied your wal­let to the tune of $118,900. So at un­der one hun­dred grand for the sedan and a smidge more for the Avant, we reckon the all-new S4 is the most tempt­ing and most com­plete yet.

The Unique Car You Want Is Now Eas­ier To Find

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