Dynamic photo,  Colour: Misano Red

The covers have come off the new B9 Audi S4 at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and while the four-ringed mid-table sports sedan looks almost identical to the cooking A4 on which it’s based, it packs a slightly meaner punch to tackle new competitors like the Mercedes-Benz C 450 AMG and Jaguar XE S.

At its heart sits a 3.0 litre V6 as before, but it’s a new unit that ditches the old supercharger for a turbo. Power has seen a mild 21 PS bump from 333 PS to 354 PS, but the torque figure jumps considerably from 440 Nm to 500 Nm, a healthy 60 Nm increase. It’s also made over a broader spread, from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm.

As such, the new S4 goes from 0-100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds before hitting the limiter at 250 km/h; yet fuel consumption is claimed to have been improved from the B8 – under 7.4 litres per 100 km – while carbon dioxide emissions is rated at 170 grams per kilometre.

Static photo,  Colour: Misano Red

Both manual and S tronic dual-clutch transmission options have been dropped; in their place is a standard eight-speed tiptronic conventional automatic transmission, mated as always to quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Torque is split 40:60 in normal driving, but the centre differential can send up to 70% of power to the front wheels and up to 85% to the rear wheels, should it be required. Apparently the dual-clutch has been dropped because of the engine’s torque output.

In the corners, the software-controlled wheel-selective torque control brakes the inside wheels for more precise, stable and agile handling; you can even specify a sport differential to further control the transfer of power between the rear wheels.

Keeping power down to the road is five-link suspension on both ends – the standard S sport suspension is 23 mm lower than the regular A4, and active damper control is available as an option. Also on the options list is variable speed-dependent dynamic steering, linked to the standard electromechanical power steering system. The Audi drive select system manages the powertrain, steering and the continuous damping control (CDC).

Interior

As mentioned, you’ll find it very difficult to tell the S4 apart from the standard A4 (particularly with the latter in S line trim) but there are some telltale signs that you’re looking at something quite a bit more serious. At the front, the six-point Singleframe grille gets some new slats, and the side air intakes have also been subtly reprofiled. Fitted as standard are LED headlights, with Matrix LEDs optional.

There are also aluminium door mirror trims, along with a redesigned rear valence revealing quad exhaust exits. Standard-fit are 18-inch wheels in a five-twin-spoke design, rolling on 245/40-section tyres; 19-inch items are optional, and come with bigger brakes.

Inside, much remains the same, save for S sports seats upholstered in pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara, fitted with inflatable bolsters and a pneumatic massage function. There are also standard brushed aluminium inlays, S4-badged illuminated door sill trims and a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel, while the optional Audi virtual cockpit instrument cluster has a special Sport setting with a central rev counter.