Audi S4: V8 R.I.P.
Car and Driver reports that the Audi S4 will ditch its normally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 for a 3.0-liter V6 in the name of fuel economy (of all things). The uber A4's new six will feature some form of forced induction. "At the very least, we expect the new V-6 to be supercharged," C/D says. "Although what will allow the S4's version to generate 50 or so more horsepower is still a mystery." Twincharger? I just met her! Seriously folks, the brainy boys at C/D add that the new Audi mill "will generate something close to the 340 horsepower found in the outgoing S4's 4.2-liter V-8." Ya think? Apparently, the new S4 will get 23.3mpg, compared to a V8-powered S5's 19.4mpg. So the S4's reduced cylinder count not only improves S4 fuel economy (this does matter for CAFE) AND it makes the V8 RS4 and S5 that much more special. The bad news? The S4 will shed only "20-100 pounds" to make up for the cylinder envy.
335i really changed the game in this segment and Audi is doing the best it can. But Audi's platforms have always been wrong from the git-go, you cannot compete in the sport-luxury segment with fwd based nose heavy awd cars with perfect 50/50 rwd platforms.
I don't see a problem in Audi's switch to a turbocharged V6 in place of the V8 in the S4. Remember, the previous gen S4 was a turbocharged 2.7 V6 and was quite fun back in the day. If Audi can get close to the V8's output and maintain a performance edge with Quattro then, IMO, it makes a pretty good option if you like a go-fast vehicle without approaching the hyper-speed RS4's price tag. All the better if you don't want to take a big hit on your wallet with gas prices. Hmmm...sounds more and more like a Euro-ed version of Ford's EcoBoost strategy.
Some excellent comments here. The Audi V8 is the best part of the current S4 because of the wonderful noises it makes. But it's certainly thirsty, by all accounts. Shame this new engine won't be taking much weight off the nose.
The 3.0 twin turbo V6, when modded, should put out an easy 400 HP. Actually it should be a fairly easy 500, as the B5s are putting out around 425-450 with a stage III set up. Just a chip should get you about 375 or more. I have an UrS4, 2.2 liter, with RS2 gear, FMIC, 300 hp at the wheels and will have more when the Garrett goes in. The TT V6 will be an absolute blast. The V8 has a great exhaust ote, but at altitude they are a bit anemic, and the 2.7 B5s (modified) are WAY faster. This will not be a step back. Unless you want to put a 23K MTM SC on the V8, you are left with only a fairly fast car. As for mileage, don't drive too much, and get a fuel efficient car for commuting. If you are worried about warranty issues, wait and buy a used one. May be able to get away with a chip upgrade. Anyway, hope the 3.0 TDI comes out soon in the A4, will be fast when the tuners get a hold of it, and should have great mileage, although I read the six speed manual will not be offered in the U.S.