Audi S4: PH Fleet


Hands up: if you're reading this expecting a tumultuous tale of a roller coaster relationship, with glorious highs and pitiful lows, this isn't the story for you. To be honest, expecting that from an Audi long-term report is naive - the S4 arrived as a good car that people liked and left as a good car that people liked, with little variance during its time with us.


And what of the blemish, the apparent Sport Diff failure? Nothing more than a spurious warning light, it turns out. The car went back to Audi, who tested it and found nothing awry. The warning was reset and the car was faultless for the remainder of its time with us.

Le Mans was the final big journey for the S4, one that should have played to its strengths of performance and practicality. For the most part it was very good, as well: you really appreciate how nice the interior is after many hours there, it's impeccably refined and the stereo/nav combination is excellent.

A few little issues did become apparent over the weekend though. First being that, well, it's not all that big in the back. The door aperture is a bit narrow for the rear and the boot only seemed adequate for what we needed rather than truly commodious. I know that tends to be the way with compact exec estates, but it's obviously far more apparent when you actually come to test it.


The fuel economy never did improve, either. While it did have three people and camping stuff aboard, to get 32mpg at a cruise did seem disappointing when there's a claimed extra-urban of 46.3mpg. Truth be told 32mpg isn't the end of the world for a 350hp estate car, but it's funny how the official numbers can skew that perception, isn't it?

That didn't stop the S4 being an entirely pleasant and quite enjoyable car to cover any kind of journey in. Perhaps you could accuse it of lacking a bit of edge, though an ex-owner (of the V8 car) that I know put it well when he said, "I think the problem with the 'S' sub-brand is that people expect it to be a more affordable RS, whereas it's actually more of a hot tourer." Which is exactly the role the S4 fulfils, with tidier handling than you probably expect too.

And if you do want an RS? Well there's plenty to be encouraged by with the RS5, even if there's a lot that we have to hope doesn't make the cut too. The engine is more exciting, the gearbox improved and, well, imagine how good the RS4 could look in Sonoma Green. Sort the RS5's ride out while keeping all that is good about the S4 (and there is plenty) and the potential is there for a great fast estate.


FACT SHEET
Car
: 2016 Audi S4 Avant
On fleet since: January 2017
Mileage: 9,214
List price new: £44,415 (As tested £49,770 comprising Misano Red paint for £645, Quattro sport with Sport Differential for £1,200, 19-inch diamond cut wheels for £550, Light and Vision pack for £750, Adaptive S Sport suspension with damping control for £900, Audi phonebox with wireless charging for £325 and on the road costs of £985)
Last month at a glance: Auf wiedersehen to the Audi Avant - bring on the RS4!

Previous reports:
Audi S4 arrives on the fleet
Audi S4: Review

Getting to grips with another AWD Avant

Hang on, an Audi with appeal beyond just the showroom?
What's the square route of S4?

Is the Sport Diff duff?

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (19) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Andy20vt 13 Jul 2017

    Okay so I get that most people seem to hire their cars nowadays, and that the S4 is a nice car, but why would anyone buy a new one of these when for £35k they could get a lovely low mileage used B8 RS4?

  • Helicopter123 13 Jul 2017

    Andy20vt said:
    Okay so I get that most people seem to hire their cars nowadays, and that the S4 is a nice car, but why would anyone buy a new one of these when for £35k they could get a lovely low mileage used B8 RS4?
    I think you've answered your own question. When you can rent a brand new S4 for under £300 a month (including the VAT) then you are not really comparing it to a lightly used B4 RS4. The real world alternatives are what else can I can for under £300 a month? A mid range Focus type vehicle, or a basic spec 'premium' SUV with a four pot diesel perhaps? Let me think about that for about 1/2 a second.

    Granted if more had £35k cash to drop into a car I'm sure the B8 RS4 would make a case for itself.

  • WokkaWokka 13 Jul 2017

    Show me this deal for £300 and I'll have one tomorrow.

    More like £800 once you've added a few bits and 20'000 miles per year.

  • Helicopter123 13 Jul 2017

    WokkaWokka said:
    Show me this deal for £300 and I'll have one tomorrow.

    More like £800 once you've added a few bits and 20'000 miles per year.
    They were £287.99 a month (inc VAT) on 10k p.a over 2 years for the saloon with no extras.


  • Syndrome280 13 Jul 2017

    Andy20vt said:
    Okay so I get that most people seem to hire their cars nowadays, and that the S4 is a nice car, but why would anyone buy a new one of these when for £35k they could get a lovely low mileage used B8 RS4?
    As I am buying a B9 S4 I'll tell you wink
    First off B8 RS4 is a lovely car and well worth every penny, but it is too firm and that lovely V8 is too "frantic" for what I want from my fast estate, it also attracts quite a bit of attention which I don't want from my everyday car.
    The S4 is very comfortable, the car is pretty stealthy while still looking nice, it has a lovely powertrain that is quiet enough when I want but can cough out a few notes when asked (even if it doesn't sing like a 4.2 V8), interior is utterly brilliant and I am a sucker for the new tech on-board.
    Just to preempt the obvious question of why not a B8 S4, I can't find many in the spec I want (sport diff, adaptive cruise and pano roof) and I don't trust the DSG box fitted as it seems to frequently eat its own shoes.

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