The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Audi S4 Avant successfully combines good load-lugging ability with great handling in a brilliantly built, competent package.
Reasons to buy:
- Brilliant ride and handling
- Relentless pace
- Great interior
How good does it look?
There are few saloons or estates that can turn heads like the standard Audi A4, especially when specified with the twinkling rows of LEDs in the headlamps. But the Audi S4 is even more of a head-turner with bespoke badging, bright xenon headlamps and tasty 18-inch alloys hiding S4 badged painted brake callipers. Avant models add matt chrome roof bars.
What's the interior like?
Another elegant masterpiece from Audi. The controls are intuitively positioned, and the Multi Media Interface (MMI) control provides quick and clear access to the majority of the car’s ancillary controls. It features a sprinkling of Audi S4 logos and a set of fantastically-supportive seats, which were trimmed in high quality leather in our test car.
How practical is it?
With a boot measuring 490 litres, there’s plenty of space in the S4 Avant for luggage. It’s far easier to load than the saloon version thanks to a low boot sill and a wide opening bootlid. There’s a good amount of space in the cabin too – the wheelbase of the current model has been extended over the previous version, addressing concerns over lack of legroom.
What's it like to drive?
The Quattro four-wheel-drive system shines brightly, providing masses of grip and traction to match the S4’s stonking 328bhp heart. The S4 can be equipped with Audi’s clever sport differential as an option which, when turning into a corner, will direct power to the outside rear wheel, pushing the car through the bend. The steering is direct – and can be made more so by adjusting the Drive Select system – it’s easy to place the car on the road, regardless of speed. The ride is excellent too, although there is some road noise transmitted through the low profile tyres.
How powerful is it?
The S4 is a rapid machine, reaching 62mph in 5.2 seconds, although the automatic S Tronic models are around 0.2 seconds slower. It’s limited to 155mph, regardless of transmission. This S4 doesn’t have the sonorous V8 unit of the previous model, but a supercharged 3-litre V6 and despite losing a pair of cylinders the six offer improved performance. Pace is relentless from around 2,500rpm through to the redline, but such is the car’s refinement, it doesn’t feel enormously quick.
How much will it cost me?
Thanks to the smaller capacity engine, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced over the previous model. But that doesn’t make it cheap. Audi quotes a sub-30mpg average, although hard driving will get that figure into the low teens, and CO2 emissions of 220g/km will cost a lot come tax renewal time. Insurance group 18 will be costly, as will service parts like those thin, wide tyres. Continued demand on the used market should keep used values strong, although experts say its trade value will be worth around 35 per cent of its new price after three years/36,000 miles.
How reliable is it?
Audi’s focus has been on build quality over the past few years, and they seem to be one of the best. Care may need to be taken when buying used examples given the car’s performance.
How safe is it?
The standard A4 scored a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme, thanks to a full complement of airbags, ABS and stability control systems. The S4 adds better brakes and comes with the Quattro four-wheel-drive system.
How much equipment do I get?
Like most Audis, the difference between a reasonable equipment level and a ‘fully loaded’ machine depends on your budget for options. Standard equipment isn’t huge, but includes the full bodystyling package, big alloys, four tailpipes, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights, three-zone climate control, single slot CD player and colour console screen, automatic wipers and headlights and leather upholstery. Full leather is a £970 option, and the Drive Select package will set you back £1,290, while the Bang & Olufsen audio system costs another £515.
Performance and comfort rarely work as well as they do in the Audi S4. It’s viciously quick, but it’s possible to drive it for hours on end and still step out relaxed.