It starts well enough with the engine specifications. Code-named EA838, the all-new 3.0-litre V6 turbo has been jointly developed with Porsche and is closely related to the sports car company’s next V8, sharing non-internal bits like the camshaft chain. (The upcoming Porsche V8 will carry the EA825 code, while Audi’s own V8 is EA824).
Its weight has been pulled down 14kg over the old S4’s supercharged V6 motor, leaving 172kg over the front axles, though Audi wouldn’t confirm if the centre of gravity of the motor is higher or lower.
The 60-degree V6 is full of Audi’s current flagship tech, with variable valve timing and lift, centre-mounted spark plugs and both direct and indirect fuel injection.
There are many convincing facets to the new S4 that will undoubtedly tempt a lot of prospective buyers when sales begin in August. But while it manages impress with its speed, unflustered long distance cruising ability, understated style, superb cabin, all round accommodation, impressive refinement and outstanding quality, the overall driving experience lacks that vital interaction to make it a truly great car.
We very much admire the sheer depth of engineering that is part-and-parceled of its appeal. In terms of point-to-point speed it is very impressive. However, when pushed along in earnest on challenging roads the new Audi ultimately fails to fully engage the driver in a way a car with supposedly sporting pretensions should.
The BMW 340i and Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic are both more engaging at similar money. That’s not to suggest they would provide a better ownership prospect. However, it’s safe to say they would be more fun in the long run.