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True music aficionados will inform you the one method to respect a well-liked artist is to personal their complete catalog, from studio albums to distorted bootlegs tracked down from the darkest reaches of the web. However much less ardent followers realize it’s far easier to simply purchase the greatest-hits compilation or click on its streaming equal—a helpful and time-saving synthesis of all of the stuff that’s price a pay attention. Which is how we see the brand new Audi S4 Avant: just about the whole lot we love about Audi’s present A4 line in a single package deal.

Don’t get too excited. This package deal isn’t destined for the USA. As a nation, we love quick Audis and may even increase modest enthusiasm for the corporate’s fashionable wagons, however the U.S. advertising and marketing division’s Venn diagram reveals no overlap between the “quick” and “wagon” circles. The S4 Avant is restricted to these elements of the world the place the equation “efficiency + house ≠ SUV” nonetheless holds true. Having pushed one in the UK, we will report that it is a large disgrace.

Easy Method

The S4 Avant isn’t the type of meeting that may have Dr. Frankenstein working extra time. It’s a easy splice: the mechanical package deal of the S4 sedan mixed with the wagon physique bought right here because the A4 Allroad, though with out the raised journey peak or the lifestyle-affirming physique cladding.

Which means energy from the brand new EA839 turbocharged three.Zero-liter V-6 that has changed the similar-capacity supercharged engine of the earlier S4. As within the sedan, this makes 354 horsepower accompanied by 369 lb-ft of torque at just below 1400 rpm. Torque heads to all 4 corners via a traditional eight-speed computerized quite than the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that Audi makes use of in lesser A4s, together with the Allroad. Our check automobile additionally got here fitted with the optionally available torque-vectoring sport differential, which Audi claims sharpens responses by distributing the engine’s torque throughout the rear axle as wanted.

Sensible Efficiency

The wagon physique means the identical 24 cubic toes of well offered cargo house (seats up) as within the Allroad, plus the flexibility to show the Avant into a fairly convincing small van by collapsing the rear seats for 59 cubes of quantity. It’s not essentially the most spacious of wagons, but it surely is among the most tasty because of a physique package that manages to be muscular with out being overly aggressive, plus 18-inch wheels and quad exhaust tailpipes of an equivalent caliber to these of the S4 sedan. The S4 cabin brings body-hugging sport seats within the entrance, a smaller steering wheel, and the artificial suede door panels that Audi usually reserves for its S and RS variants. Audi’s numbers say this wagon weighs 99 kilos greater than its sedan sibling.

The rise in mass isn’t apparent; efficiency is each towering and easy. Whereas the A4 Allroad feels respectably brisk, the S4 Avant is a station wagon that strikes like a bona fide sports activities automobile. Audi claims a four.9-second zero-to-62-mph time, two-tenths slower than its determine for the S4 sedan, however the firm has an extended behavior of conservatively quoting acceleration numbers. The breadth of the engine’s torque plateau implies that there’s no must work it onerous to mine stable efficiency, but it surely reserves enthusiasm for the higher reaches of its rev vary, and the pleasingly hard-edged soundtrack that accompanies tougher use offers loads of encouragement to push it. Low-down throttle response has misplaced a number of the crispness that marked the earlier S4’s supercharged V-6, however in each different regard the brand new turbo unit feels each brawnier and higher.

As befits its place within the vary, the S4 leaves some house for the inevitable RS4 Avant that can observe. Whereas including a significant additional dose of efficiency for the sooner model will likely be onerous, the S4’s chassis settings are extra civilized than you would possibly anticipate from one thing so fast, giving loads of scope for the angrier variant to show issues as much as 11. With the optionally available adaptive dampers of their softest Consolation mode, the S4 feels fairly near the common Europe-spec A4 Avant. Even the firmer Dynamic mode doesn’t ship the type of concrete springing that usually defines German concepts of sportiness. Physique management is nice, and refinement is excellent at sooner cruising speeds. As ordinary, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system delivers flawless traction, with the game differential making its presence felt underneath greater chassis masses, preventing understeer and making the automobile really feel like a eager rear-driver underneath enthusiastic use.

Best Hits

It’s not excellent. Steering is generic for a quick Audi: direct and proportional however with no extra suggestions than a half-decent video-gaming rig would offer. And, to get the criticism out of the way in which, the eight-speed auto is also a light disappointment, slurring between upshifts the place a dual-clutch gearbox would snap the following ratio into place and inflicting the automobile to surge off the road even on the gentlest throttle purposes.

But thought of in opposition to the totality of the S4 Avant’s abilities, these are simply niggles. It’s a supreme all-rounder: fashionable, safe, effortlessly quick, and with the flexibility to hold 4 folks and their baggage cross-country sooner than most issues in need of a Bell 429 helicopter. It’s not only a compilation album, it’s a private live performance. And whereas the not-for-U.S. vehicles we regularly inform you about are ceaselessly nothing greater than curios or distractions, that is one omission from Audi’s U.S. lineup that basically stings.

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