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Audi S4 Avant

Is the Audi S4 an inferior version of the RS4? We drive the S4 to find out!

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On paper this would make it the poorer second cousin living in a trailer park, but in reality it’s the the younger first cousin living in the same ‘hood.

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Having recently driven the Audi RS 4 Avant, which I came to the conclusion was the perfect family car, and I wanted one badly, I thought that the Audi S4 Avant would be a let down. Rather than the V8 in the RS4 the S4 only has a little V6, and nearly 100kW less power too.

On paper this would make it the poorer second cousin living in a trailer park, but in reality it’s the the younger first cousin living in the same ‘hood.

The 240kW produced by the S4 is more than ample power for a family estate. Sure you don’t have the popping and gurgling of the V8, it doesn’t do any of that blipping on dynamic mode, but the suspension isn’t as hard and rigid and as an every day car it’s easier to live with and still a ton of fun to drive.

It’s a good chunk of change cheaper too. This creates a bit of a conundrum, you’re in the market for a family car, the Audi Avant’s are great and they have 2 performance options. Which to choose?

On the inside you’re pretty much got the same cockpit. The layout is identical on both the S4 and the RS4, but the RS4 has a few badges and smaller details that set it apart. The S4 though also comes with the same bucket seats, which you won’t find in any of the other Audi Avants, like the All Road or regular A4.

On the outside the RS4 carries some body kit missing from the S4, but the S4 still looks the part. The styling is great on both cars.

Where the RS4 and S4 begin to separate though is in daily use, and specifically in the fuel economy department.  The S4, being a smaller engine is far more economical.

To be fair to the S4, I put it to a test along Chapmans Peak. Audi have done a great job of extracting some good exhaust notes out of the 3.0-litre V6, especially in dynamic mode, it still sounds like a sporty car.

On a straight run the S4 has some serious pace, it get’s up to speed very very quickly and delivers the power silently and smoothly thanks to the Quattro system.

That same Quattro system makes it brilliant in the corners, road holding is excellent as I weaved around the bends on Chapmans Peak, slowing into a corner and then accelerating out again.

The S4 feels planted on the road, and I bet it can hold on for far longer than I let it.

I’m left feeling that the S4, isn’t actually an ‘inferior’ version of the RS4. Sure the RS4 is the big bad boy in the A4 range, but the S4 is an excellent car in it’s own right.

The S4 has tons of pace, good road holding and it’s still a very practical family car.

V8’s aren’t for everyone, my wife would happily live without the shouting and growling of the V8, and as such would opt for an S4. I like the shouting and growling though.

The S4 is a solid option for a sporty family wagon, that’s just a little more sensible, and financially viable than it’s bigger cousin.

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