2020 Audi S4 Avant TDI

Now in its fourth year on the market, Audi has given its S4 Avant a mild facelift and significant increases in equipment to provide added sales incentives.

Avant in Audi-speak stands for station wagon, the ’S’ means it’s got more gear and performance than the standard A4. Although it sits below the very pricey, very quick Avant RS it’s certainly not slow as we will detail in the Engine and Driving segments of this review.

This update see the S4 being finished in metallic paint with Nappa leather sports seats and adjustable (pneumatic) front seats that have a large array of settings.

The seats can also give you a back massage, which is handy on long trips – though we still feel this shouldn’t be a substitute for stopping for a rest every couple of hours.

The front grille is so large that there’s nowhere to put the number plate – which spoils what is otherwise a great looking nose. Overall there’s a sleek appearance that’s rather plain in the sides, but that look expands at the rear. The metallic roof rails give it added visual oomph.

A flat bottomed steering wheel adds to the sporting look.

The cabin of this high-performance upmarket German machine is a pleasant place to be in. It has suede-look trim inserts in a slightly different colour to the rest of the door trim work well visually, alloy highlights and the way the interior lights up at night are excellent.

Seating is good for four adults, with a rear-centre seat making it comfortable for five if those in the back aren’t of the well-built variety.

2020 Audi S4 Avant TDI

There isn’t as much legroom in the back as we would expect in a car of this size. I can sit behind myself, but would ideally need to ask the driver to move forward a bit to give me comfortable knee space. There’s good headroom for all but very tall adults.

The rear seat backs don’t fold completely flat so it couldn’t be used for our dog’s bed back there as the slope meant he would slide back every time I accelerated. Don’t forget we are talking a 4.9 second wagon here.

Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System has 19 speakers including tweeters in the upper part of the A pillars deliver 755 Watts via a 16-channel amplifier to provide beautiful music. Just the thing for making long trips that bit more relaxing.

The 2020 upgrade sees the provision of dual USB ports for rear seat passengers. Very important when just about everyone is phone equipped these days.

Inductive phone charging is handily placed in the lidded stowage area between the front seats where it can be reached by all occupants.

Audi S4 Avant has a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, turbocharging and Audi’s clever variable valve-lift system.

It has 260 kW of power from 5,400 to 6,400 revs. Peak torque of 500 Nm runs across a very handy range, all the way from 1,370 to 4,500. In other words, you will have maximum torque under your right foot virtually all the time.

2020 Audi S4 Avant TDI

Transmission it to all four wheels using the Audi quattro system. The automatic transmission is an eight-speed unit with tiptronic changes to the driver.

A zero to 100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds puts this load hauling station wagon well into sportscar territory.

Features to try and prevent a crash are in included in the Audi Assistance Package City; these are autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, side assist, pre-sense rear and exit warning.

Attention assist gives an alert tone and a visual signal if the car feels that the driver’s isn’t paying attention. Hopefully this doesn’t encourage drivers to spend even more time on their mobiles rather than the road.

Audi pre-sense City with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection, detects impending collisions at up to 85 km/h and can reduce speed by up to 40 km/h.

An active bonnet move up if the car senses it has hit a pedestrian. This provides a cushion between the human body and the hard components directly under the bonnet.

There are front airbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for front and rear passengers and a head level curtain airbag for front and rear occupants.

Audi Pre-sense Rear helps to mitigate rear-end collisions, within system limits, through a series of measures including flashing the hazard lights at high frequency to warn surrounding traffic.

A head-up display is part of this upgrade to the S4 Avant, it’s clear and easy to see, so reduces the amount of time you need to take your eyes off the road.

Dynamic, Comfort and Auto drive mode options are all useful in their individual ways. Dynamic gives you plenty of exciting performance but may prove a bit harsh in the suspension for boring day to day use. The suspension can be a somewhat noisy over rough and ready roads and really feels the bump-thumps on joins on concrete roads.

When you’re looking for a big fang on your favouring roads, ideally with an understating passenger, or better still without anyone else in the car Audi Avant S4 is a delight.

The Auto setting does its best to realise what you are looking for and it was we used most of the time once we had finished experimenting with the others.

Feedback though the steering wheel is very good and the sporty wagon is prompt to respond to your needs if you want to change direction mid corner.

In these days of endless SUVs and pickups on our roads it’s good to see a commonsense vehicle like the Audi Avant S4 providing excellent style, huge performance and good load lugging ability.


Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Audi S4 Avant Quattro 3.0-litre turbo-petrol fivr-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.995 litres
Configuration: V6
Maximum Power: 260 kW @ 5400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 1370 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 178 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4745 mm
Wheelbase: 2825 mm
Width: 1842 mm
Height: 1411 mm
Turning Circle: 11.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1750 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Three years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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