By on September 15, 2015

Raphael Orlove over at Jalopnik has fine, fine reporting
that the next-generation Audi S4 will sport a conventional 8-speed torque converter automatic instead of the company’s 7-speed dual-clutch unit.

The reason? The S4’s new turbocharged, 3-liter V-6 that produces 354 horsepower creates just enough torque (368.8 pounds-feet of torque, to be exact) to disqualify the automated manual. According to Orlove, the automaker didn’t rule out a DSG in the S4’s future, but said it just won’t be available at launch next year.

Even with the traditional 8-speed, the S4 still packs a punch. According to the automaker, the car will run up to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and its disconnecting, free-wheeling transmission will help the car achieve nearly 32 mpg.

According to Audi, the S4 sedan — but not the Avant — will go on sale in the States next year.

Also: No manual.

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35 Comments on “2017 Audi S4 Won’t Get Dual-clutch Automatic, or Manual...”

  • avatar

    That’s probably a good thing. I have yet to drive anything with the DSG that I preferred to the ZF 8spd. The DSG can shift faster IF what you need for a shift is what it has pre-selected. If not, it’s much slower. And even the best DSG can’t creep anywhere near as nicely as a TC automatic.

    Shame about no manual. Means I won’t even have to think about it as my next car at least. Not that I am much of an Audi fan. Rental du jour is an 8spd A4Q from SilverCar. Perfectly OK, but no 3-series.

    • 0 avatar

      The current bloated soft 3-Series is no 3-Series either. More like a RWD Lexus ES, unless you order it with all the sport options that are nowhere on dealer lots. Except the N20 is far less refined than a Toyota V6.

      I feel very disillusioned with BMW at the moment.

      • 0 avatar

        “3 series” covers everything from the M3 to lowly 320i Personally I wouldn’t consider the M3 soft, but the 320i is.

        • 0 avatar

          I think the 320i is perfectly adequate, and probably the sweet spot in the lineup. Manual tranny, sportline, and no other options (maybe H/K sound) and it is a fine RWD car with a sporting bent for not a ton of money. If you prefer the rolling sofa that is an ES350, more power to you.

          My big complaints about the current A4 are that it is slightly too small, even as a Quattro it feels very nose-heavy (and I have no use for AWD in a car), and Audi’s version of iDrive sucks donkey balls.

          Maybe some of that will be fixed with the next one. Too bad, as I think Audis design language is better than BMWs. And of course, we can’t get the proper wagon in the US, which kills 99% of my interest anyway. The Avant is all over Europe, and such a pretty car.

      • 0 avatar

        Every new generation of 3-series has been called “bloated and soft” since the e21 replaced the 2002 waaaaay back in 1978.

        You can order your 3-series any way you want from mild to wild. Why would you buy off the lot? BMW will give you exactly the same deal on an order to your spec, delivery in 6-8 weeks. And if you do European Delivery, you get 6-7% off the top.

        • 0 avatar

          BMW will give the dealer the same deal, but will the dealer give *me* the same deal? Unlikely. Their goal is to turn inventory.

          I’m not likely to ever order a 3-Series, so the only ones I’ll ever get to drive will be rentals and dealer stock, which are never in “wild” form. I don’t think you can deny that F30s in volume configurations are the softest, least involving 3-Series ever. Soft is not inherently bad, but other brands and other classes of cars do it better. And I know I keep harping on this but the N20 just doesn’t have acceptable levels of NVH for a luxury brand. It’s especially disappointing coming from the same maker that gives the big spenders those silky turbo sixes.

          • 0 avatar

            No, their goal is to sell a car. And the $500-1000 they will typically make on a deeply discounted special order is a pretty nice chunk of change for putting none of their money up and filling out some paperwork.

            I have now bought two European Delivery BMWs and had absolutely no problem getting a very nice discount from the dealer, aside from the off the top discount BMW gives. $7K all together on my M235i. BMW dealers generally do not keep a ton of inventory because BMW makes the order process so easy. My dealer does nearly 50% of their sales by order. This is not Toyota… In fact, on an M235i you will probably get a MUCH better dealer discount on an ED order as they don’t come out of the very limited allocations for that car. I certainly did.

            What BMW is doing is what buyers want at the end of the day. If you want something more like an e30 or an e46, buy a 2-series.

            I completely disagree about the N20, I think it is a fine engine, and I have no complaints about it in the 2s and 3s I have driven with it. I ended up with an N55 only because BMW would not sell me the rest of the car the way I wanted it without the six. In Germany and Italy, it was a ridiculous amount of fun, but it is total overkill for the US. But I also always thought what Saab was doing all along was the right answer to the question.

        • 0 avatar

          People always talk the downfall of BMW and I agree I don’t like the recent turn, but, they often forget the higher end BMWs. The M3/4 is obvious, but you can order track packages as a resonable option. The 335is was a great edition and the newest version you can order the ZHP package. There are other similar models that have been outstanding, the M235, 1M, etc.

          I did the same as you, special order on my last BMW. Paid invoice for it too. I ordered it loaded with almost every option. By the time I got rid of it, I sold it at a premium with only a very minor depricaition hit. No car is an investment, but I did very well on that car. Never had an issue with that car.

          • 0 avatar

            Though I tend to agree with some of the assertions re the latest 3 Series, it is pretty funny that BMW keeps making this car worse every generation, yet sells far more……….I’d order a 3 wagon or GT (gasp, yes) with a stick tomorrow.

    • 0 avatar

      @krhodes et al – BMW has just inherited a title – the only manufacturer of a six cylinder sedan available with a stick shift (quick trivia – what’s the only other 4 door available so equipped: the Toyota Tacoma). As oversized, bloated, Mercedes esq, and soft as the 3 series has become, it is now a default choice. While I’d consider one day signing for a 320i (but would have a hard time choosing one over a GTi), a 4 cylinder just doesn’t belong in a premium sedan.

  • avatar

    This is the fault of all of you that buy used enthusiast cars…


  • avatar

    That’s a shame. I generally like the S4 and this is a car that may be on my shortlist for my next purchase along with whatever the next S5/RS5 looks like, but no DCT is a negative to me. Although I will admit I have not driven an Audi DCT, only BMW and Porsche. I think no DCT and no manual option will relegate the S4 to very good, but just shy of top tier for enthusiasts.

    4.7sec seems like a mistake. The current model is generally listed 4.4-4.9 0-60. Seems very minimal to negligible improvement.

    • 0 avatar

      the existing DSG tranny isn’t reliable, is expensive to maintain, and really isn’t appreciably faster than a normal slushbox. It’s also mot as strong. Sorry, but this is just basic fact. People are getting butt-hurt over the whole thing because for years, they could lie to themselves that they weren’t getting a stick because the DSG is really an ‘automated stick’, not a slushbox, and it’s faster than any human could shift, and it’s state of the art, and “I’M REALLY NOT SELLING OUT WITH AN AUTOMATIC” as their excuse.

      that’s over.
      now, it’s yes, you’ve bought a car with a conventional transmission.
      It’s better than the DSG is replaces.
      your life is a lie.
      move along.

      • 0 avatar

        OK, thanks for that.

        I’m not trying to justify any purchase. I just like DCTs and I am fully aware of thier advantages and disadvantages. I currently drive a manual. I have no itentions to trying to convience anyone I’m staying true if I switch.

        I hear there are issues with the VW DCT, and so by extention perhaps with Audi DCT also. I haven’t experienced that. Most DCT owners I know are Porsche and BMW. I’m not sure it’s fair to group all manufacturers into the “problematic and unreliable” camp. In the end, I view this simply as personal preference.

  • avatar

    Dual clutch boxes suck. These new eight speed autos are really nice. Smooth and seamless when cruising, fast and snappy when pushed.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if it’s a limitation of the gearbox, or merely the programming in the applications where I have experienced it, but this particular 8-speed does a thing that annoys me (and maybe only me). It can do a 6-gear jump for a downshift, IIRC, such that when toodling along at 45 MPH in 8th gear, if you floor it, it’ll drop to 2nd and take off. Great! But once you’ve passed that dawdling car or squeezed through that gap in traffic, it cannot UPSHIFT from 2nd to 8th. In fact, it does not seem to be able to skip any gears at all when upshifting, so you get a lurch-lurch-lurch as it jumps back up.

    EDIT: Also, the notion that the S4 will have a conventional automatic because, gosh darn it, we just made this here engine TOO powerful! sounds like nonsense. It isn’t as if they couldn’t limit the torque where necessary to preserve a DCT unit. Could it be that the DCTs cost Audi a bunch of money in warranty claims, and they’re tired of paying for them?

    • 0 avatar

      I have a VW DCT in my tdi wagon and have not heard any issues with that unit and I think it is the one used in the A3 and A4 so I do not think it is a warranty claim issue.

      • 0 avatar

        They had issues in the mid to late 00s VWs and Audis. I had two mechatronic units replaced under warranty in two different vehicles. I am not aware of any issues now, but I no longer read VWVortex or have the patience to own a VAG product. I find the maintenance schedule and cost on the DSG transmission to be ridiculous. They shift great though.

  • avatar

    “the engine makes too much power” is the same reason Audi gave for using the 8-speed auto instead of the DSG in the RS7. Which is odd for two reasons:

    1) Audi’s rivals at BMW and Porsche have dual clutch transmissions in vehicles with similar power/performance credentials to the RS7 in their M5/M6 and Turbo/Turbo S models, and

    2) actually so does Audi in the R8 V10/V10 Plus and in the S6/S7, all of which are more powerful than the new S4.

    This seems like more of a cost cutting move, since neither Benz nor BMW use a dual clutch in their S4 competitors (340i xDrive and C450 AMG 4MATIC).

    • 0 avatar

      The torque limitation isn’t an inherent issue of dual clutch transmissions. It is a specification of the specific 7 speed box in the smaller engined A4 variants. The R8 uses a gearbox designed for mid engined applications and Porsche uses their own PDK gearbox which is different from the Audi/VW units.

      The S6 and S7 actually use a 7 speed S-tropic box if I remember correctly but presumably something in the packaging of that transmission limits it either to larger cars or to mating with V8 engines.

  • avatar

    Somebody 70,000 miles from now will be thankful…

  • avatar

    This reminds me of the fall of 1986, when Chevy finally brought the L98 350 to the IROC-Z and elated F-body fans, but it had too much torque for the Borg Warner T-5, so you were forced to take it with the 700R4 automatic if you wanted it. Can Audi offer a lower torque motor like Chevy did with the LB9 305 so we can still get a manual?

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler/RAM does the same with the Cummins–order the Aisin AS69RC and you get 900 ft lbs of torque….order the 6 speed manual–you get “only” 660.

      • 0 avatar

        Hell, how about the actual LB9? Chevy’s not using it anymore, and it’s already been certified, back in 1985. With a few updates I’m sure it could be ready. They could probably even put 10-20 HP on the stock 215, and VW’s 6-speed manual could still probably handle it.

        At this point, I’d actually weigh that as an option. I don’t know if I’d buy it, but I’d actually consider it. That’s how bad it’s gotten.

  • avatar

    The real question will be whether the RS4 sedan we get in the U.S. gets a manual option. As the true enthusiast oriented model it seems more likely to get one.

  • avatar

    Finally the TT V6 engines are making (almost) as much HP per liter as the 4 cylinder engines. I don’t trust Audi very much though in regards to reliability.

  • avatar


    Supply & Demand

    Survival of The Fittest

    Nature never spoke truer truths.

    The 4-door sedan is being killed by the crossover.
    The manual IS ALREADY DEAD. It just doesn’t know it yet.
    The small car is growing larger.

    It’s as I foretold…

  • avatar

    Eventually, every new transmission will “freewheel” when appropriate. It will not be straight-forward what level of appropriate is best but if applied correctly it could be a massive efficiency boost.

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