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Review: the 349bhp Audi S4 Avant

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It appears so Audi’s neverending onslaught of recent metal continues using the new S4 Avant, driven within the United kingdom the very first time. We are able to tell it’s the S4, because it has the badge around the back. Oh, and contains silver mirrors.

So it’s an S4. Let’s have this settled early: fast, but a lot slower – or naughty – being an RS?

That’s virtually the theme from it, yes. The S4 slides into the top A4 range before the – almost always mighty – RS4 comes old later this season. And when you desired one-potato-two-potato ranges, then Audi has been successful brilliantly this really is quicker than the very best-of-the-range-yet-unprefixed 4s, with lots of headroom for that forthcoming RS.

Explain…

Well, out goes that old supercharged V6 six-pot, as well as in comes a turbo 3.-litre V6 which makes 349bhp and 369lb foot of torque. That’s some 20bhp and 44lb foot up within the old vehicle, providing predictably rapid performance stats of 62mph from rest in 4.7 seconds along with a limited top speed of 155mph.

The ‘box has become an effective torque-converted eight-speed auto (a seven-speed DSG in the last vehicle), doling out gears just like a close-up magician deals cards, which deck of ratios drives with the usual quattro all-wheel drive system. That four-wheel drive briefly breaks lower such as this: in normal driving there is a 40/60 front/rear torque split, but feed it low grip levels and also the computers can shuffle either 70 percent from the available motivation towards the front axle, or 85 percent towards the rear. Away from same time though, because it is not how maths works.

Efficiency can be 37.7mpg around the combined cycle (meaning 171g/km C02), not hindered because the brand new A4 platform means this form of the S4 is all about 75kg lighter compared to vehicle that went before it, you are able to pay around £1500 to have an positively torque-vectoring ‘sports’ rear differential, and also the stability system will lightly brake an internal rear wheel to include some pivot for your turn-in. There’s also optional continuously variable dampers, optional Brought headlamps, an optional flat-bottomed controls, optional ‘Virtual Cockpit’… actually, in keeping with Audi form, you will find really enough choices to get this to list very lengthy and boring, so we’ll just start it…

It appears either subtle or boring – can’t choose which?

Ah. That’s a place-of-view factor again, is it not? Having a slightly different grille, slightly inflamed sills, four tailpipes and silver mirror housings, the S4 is either discreet or dull for the way you are feeling about may be. Personally, some street sleeper menace isn’t any bad factor, you just need to support it with surprising performance. With no doubt the S4 is quick. Something that manages sub-5-seconds to 62mph feels rapid, and also the mixture of close-set and rapidly-utilized gears makes mid-range overtaking pretty clinical. You are able to pressure the gear box to hesitate just a little, particularly if you dither around the throttle, however if you simply get started and employ the paddles, there’s proper pace available.

Additionally, it rides much better than the prior S4, with increased security in Comfort along with a decent edge in Dynamic mode, although the steering still isn’t entirely thinking about suggesting exactly what’s happening using the front wheels. As always, under-power grip really isn’t a problem, and also you can’t sense the drive being shifted around before you lob the vehicle right into a corner at injudicious speed – after which you receive a little bit of understeer adopted by a type of steady-condition half a turn of oversteer. It’s less fun as effective, but certainly provides more options compared to last-gen.

Inside?

The vehicle we drove had a number of cost options, but even attempting to go beyond them – including a completely suspect quilted gray leather group of sports seats – the S4 is a very bloomin’ lovely spot to sit in and spend some time. Everything works, is intuitive (even though the sheer quantity of items to have fun with will get a little baffling), and seems like it’s been considered. It’s refined, quiet, and it has that clunky-thunky solidity which makes you are feeling good, a sense generated somewhere close to the center of the chest. The additional benefit of 490-litres of Avant-y space and split-folding rear seats increases the appeal.

What’s bad about this then?

Well, here’s the rub. For making the S4 what it really must be to suit in to the range, it’s kind of lost its edge. The ’S’ models was once RS-lite, however they think a lot more like über-top-spec cooking models. The noise it can make is interesting but cultured, the actual way it goes about being surprisingly fast, surprisingly unenthusiastic. It’s an excellent vehicle in several ways, however a sober-suited, gently disguised hooligan, it’s not. Actually, I’d go to date regarding state that I’d most likely finish up either taking a top-spec non-S and saving some cash, or awaiting the RS4 for something having a less complex personality.

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