Audi gives its new A4 a dose of sportiness with the turbocharged S4

Audi unveiled the redesigned 2016 A4 well ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, but it waited for the show itself to reveal the good stuff: the sporty S4 sedan and S4 Avant wagon.

In addition to switching over to the new A4 body, the S4 gets a new engine. In place of the old 3.0-liter supercharged V6 is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. It’s not the most dramatic swap in car history, but it does produce results. The turbo engine produces 354 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, gains of 21 hp and 43 lb-ft over the supercharged engine.

An eight-speed automatic transmission appears to be the only option, meaning the S4 is yet another victim of clutch-pedal attrition. Audi says the new model will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds, and it’s electronically limited to 155 mph.

Naturally, quattro all-wheel drive is standard, with a default torque split of 40/60 front/rear. The system can also send up to 70 percent of its power to the front wheels or, alternatively, 85 percent to the rear. The S4’s sport suspension lowers ride height by 0.9 inch compared to the A4, and adaptive dampers are available as an option.

Audi calls the S4’s exterior design “understated,” and it’s not kidding. Like the base A4, the S4 appears visually similar to its predecessor, despite being somewhat larger. Details that distinguish an S4 from an A4 include aluminum-effect exterior mirror caps, slightly more aggressive front and rear bumpers, and model-specific 18-inch wheels.

The interior features sport seats, and a color scheme that’s predominantly black with red highlights. The S4 also gets some of the same tech available on the 2017 A4, including Audi’s “virtual cockpit” display, MMI infotainment system, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot (in Europe, at least). An Audi “phone box” can also link smartphones to the car’s antenna, and inductive wireless is available for compatible phones, along with a tablet-based rear seat entertainment system, and Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system.

While the S4 is the kind of car that should reward an involved driver, it also features the electronic systems that create a greater margin for laziness. A traffic-jam assist can handle acceleration, braking, and steering in traffic at speeds up to 40 mph, and there are also available park assist, collision-avoidance assist, and lane-keep assist systems.

The Audi S4 sedan and S4 Avant go on sale in Europe next year, with U.S. sales of the sedan likely to follow sometime after that. The Avant probably won’t be imported here. Beyond that, enthusiasts can look forward to a new, even sportier RS 4 model, which may return to the U.S. after a generation away from our shores.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…