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Audi S4 Avant: Test Drive Review

Date: 30 June 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £35,140
Key rival: BMW 3-series

The Audi A4 is the reigning Business Car of the Year and now the German firm has topped the range with a quick S4 model in either saloon or Avant estate body styles.

Unlike BMW's 'M' cars, Audi's 'S' variety aren't the quickest in a range. That honour is saved for the RS label, usually produced in limited numbers toward the end of a model's lifecycle. Instead, the 'S' models, while quick, retain much more everyday usability and, while range topping, aren't absurdly expensive. For instance, the S4 Avant has a P11D price of £35,140.

Having said that, the options list can be overused, which was the case in our test car, which came with extra kit worth £12,000, although the BusinessCar team deemed that at least two-thirds of that unnecessary if spending your own business's money.

One of the biggest changes to the new S4 over the previous model is the use of a 3.0-litre turbo V6 petrol rather than a 4.2-litre V8. There are several advantages to this including better fuel economy and CO2 emissions (the S4 now isn't in the top tax bracket for company car tax) ­as well as a much lighter nose to the car. The V6 is also smoother and more refined, while the previous generation always felt as if it wanted to go straight on in corners rather than tuck round them neatly as the current car does.

Generally, Audi's S cars will trickle round town as happily as they will zip down a b-road. However, in this case driving can be spoilt by the optional clever suspension (£1290) that offers three standard settings plus a fourth personalised setting, although you have to activate the latter every time you get in the car, otherwise it will revert to the mid-ranked 'auto' suspension memory.

While the S4 Avant is practical car, like any other A4 Avant, boot space is limited by a standard spare wheel, which means there's only 490 litres available, although the seats still fold if you need to get more in.

At this price, coupled to a 79.1p per mile whole-life cost, you'd be hard-pressed to find a similarly prestigious car that's as quick for the same money.

Audi S4 quattro 3.0T Avant manual
P11D price£35,140
Model price range£20,490-£35,140
Fuel consumption28.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 229g/km (33%)
BIK 20/40% per month£193/£186
Service intervalvariable
Insurancegroup 18
Boot space (min/max)490/1430 litres
Engine size/power2995cc/333PS
Top speed/0-62mph155mph/5.2secs
On sale now
VerdictA surprisingly good
car – just take care
on the options list


A surprisingly good car – just take care on the options list