Looking back I find it a little shocking to discover that I cannot remember an ‘S model Audi I really liked. Given the numbers there have been over the years there must surely have been some, and my inability to recall even one may say as much about my memory as Audi’s cars. Even so, while Audi make many decent standard cars and a few outstanding ‘RS’ models (which are engineered by an entirely separate division within Audi), the tepid ‘S’ models have consistently failed to shine.
This new S4 Avant is no different. It’s fast, well built and surprisingly grippy, but Audi has never faltered on these measures. Yet again it is the less easily quantified yet equally important subjective criteria in which it is lacking. Its steering is numb, its ride quality poor and the 3-litre supercharged V6 sounds dull at all but maximum effort. Moreover like most cars with superchargers, its fuel consumption was terrible, struggling to do 25mpg most of the time.
Compare that to the A6 saloon I also tried this month, fiffed with a monster 313bhp, V6 diesel engine. With a liffle less power but a lot more torque, claimed acceleration is identical to the S4, but the engine is almost silent, its ride excellent and it’ll do 40mpg everywhere. It’s no fun to drive, but unlike the S4, it’s not trying to be. To me it is the far more satisfying and capable of the two.
ENGINE: 3.0 litres, six cylinders, supercharged
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
POWER: 328bhp at 5500rpm
FUEL/CO2: 33.6mpg, 197g/km