At Audi the S is a direct reference to motorsport. The first car to bear the S designation was the Sport quattro S1 – the legendary rally car of the 1985 world championship season.
The letter S made its way into production cars in 1990 – in the S2 Coupé whose turbocharged five-cylinder engine produced 162 kW (220 hp). A small S family quickly grew; its members had two traits in common – a quattro drive and an understated visual image. Audi launched the S2 Avant on the market at the end of 1992; the S2 Sedan followed one year later. Engine power was increased to 169 kW (230 hp). By 1995, a total of 9,488 cars came off the assembly line in three body versions.
Starting in 1997, two S models also came from the first generation Audi A4 that launched in 1994. The five-cylinder turbo engine gave way to a newly developed biturbo V6 with 2.7 liters of displacement which was derived from the 3.6-liter V8. The six-cylinder engine had five-valve cylinder heads and one turbocharger per bank and delivered 195 kW (265 hp) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb‑ft) of torque.
In 2003, Audi converted its mid-size S models over to naturally aspirated engines. The 4.2‑liter V8, which could also be combined with a six-speed tiptronic, had a power output of 253 kW (344 hp) and 410 Nm (302.4 lb-ft) of torque. It was used in the Sedan, the Avant and in the new edition of the Cabriolet.
Boosted to 260 kW (354 hp) of power and 440 Nm (324.5 lb‑ft) of torque, the eight-cylinder engine was also used in the next generation of Audi mid-size models, specifically in the S5 Coupé of 2007. The S4, S4 Avant, S5 Sportback and S5 Cabriolet, which followed somewhat later, already got a new 3.0-liter V6 with supercharging, and the two-door coupé followed in 2011. Its key specification data were 245 kW (333 hp) and 440 Nm (324.5 lb‑ft), and propulsive forces could be transferred to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic that was initially offered as an option and later as standard equipment.
As a side event to the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 2012, Audi presented the Audi SQ5 TDI – the first S model in the Q series. It was also the first S model to have a diesel engine. Its 3.0 TDI produces 230 kW (313 hp) and a hefty 650 Nm (479.4 lb-ft) of torque.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.