Audi has introduced upgraded versions of its sporty S4 and S5 ranges. Our test vehicle was the S4 Avant wagon.

The refreshed S4 sedan gets new lights, grille and fairly significant bodywork changes. It has different bumpers, air inlets, side sills and rear spoiler and diffuser trim. Double twin tailpipes and red brake calipers add to the sporty appearance.

S4 Avant wagon adds aluminium roof rails and powered tailgate, and luggage cover.

The S4 front seats are of soft Nappa leather and are heated. They feature adjustable side support and a choice of three different massage modes.

The interior is stylish with a driver-friendly centre console and virtual cockpit. There are matt brushed aluminium inlays and stainless-steel pedals.

Audi S4 is powered by a turbo-petrol 3.0-litre V6 which can deliver 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque. It drives through an eight-speed automatic to the permanent quattro all-wheel-drive system.

It has a self-locking centre differential and adaptive damper control. The standard 60/40 rear-wheel bias can send up to 85 per cent of the power in either direction as needed.

The optional quattro sport rear differential can split torque between the wheels of the rear axle.

Active and passive safety features include eight airbags; autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection; active bonnet; hill hold; side assist lane; change warning; exit warning; rear cross traffic alert; parking sensors; driver inattention alert; reversing camera; pre-sense rear and tyre pressure warning.

Standard in the ‘S’ models are adaptive cruise control; active lane assist; Audi pre-sense front; collision avoidance assist; swerve assist; high beam assist; head up display, park assist and a 360-degree camera.

The latest 10.1-inch high-resolution MMI touchscreen features Audi’s Google Earth satellite navigation display.

Operated through a touchscreen, Audi connect plus has 10-times the computing power of the previous models. Audi connect plus has online traffic information, weather reports, fuel prices, parking information, automatic emergency contact, online roadside assistance, remote lock and unlock, car finder and vehicle status report. Not all of these features are offered in Australia but things are getting better almost by the day.

A Bang and Olufsen 3D premium sound system with 19 speakers and a 755W subwoofer is standard.

There is good head and legroom, even for taller backseat passengers, with the larger than normal door openings allowing for easy entry and exit.

The instrument cluster display can be switched between a ‘hockey stick’ rev counter with a digital speedometer or standard twin conventional dials.

The V6 engine is responsive and the peak torque of 500 Nm is there over a very wide rev range, from 1370 to 4500 rpm.

Adaptive dampers let the driver choose from Comfort, Auto and Dynamic settings.

Braking is excellent with more ability than you will probably ever need in everyday situations. It could even be regarded as semi-track in the way it hauls off speed. Not that we expect many owners to take on track – but you never know…

Ride quality is a good balance between comfort and performance, with a slight lean towards performance as this is a semi sporty model.

Motorway running is relaxed, but there’s a bit of bump thump on the strips between concrete sections on bridges.

Rural roads mean there is a fair bit of tyre noise at times but we have heard worse in European cars in this class.

Audi S4 Avant is an attractive family wagon that’s offers the usability of a light duty SUV, albeit with less load capacity. It’s most enjoyable to drive and the sort of car that made us choose to pop into it no other reason than to take if for a quick trip along our favourite driving roads in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast.

S4 3.0-litre four-door quattro sedan: $99,500
S4 3.0-litre five-door quattro wagon: $102,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Audi S4 3.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.995 litres
Configuration: Turbo V6
Maximum Power: 260 kW @ 5400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 1370 rpm
Fuel Type: Premier unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 201 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic

Length: 4770 mm
Wheelbase: 2831 mm
Width: 1847 mm
Height: 1439 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 1750 kg

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated 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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