When Audi gave us the taste of the RS6 Estate last year, we were left salivating for more. Obviously, as estates in the past have not performed well in the country, the RS6 was no exception. It would blend in with the sea of cars and except to a person with a trained eye for detail, no one would imagine paying Rs. 1 crores for an estate. But that combination of incredible performance and practicality of the RS6, made it in my eyes an ultimate package. It boasted unsuspecting rocket-ship performance, even while doing the weekly shopping and scare the other shoppers in the parking lot! The new S4 Avant continues the same kind of profile as its elder brother.
When you first look at the S4 Avant, you realize how they have taken everything from the sedan and made it all a little better. The bumper, air inlets and side sills feature distinctive contours. Many of the add-on parts are painted in graduated tones of matte gray. Aluminum inlays accentuate the car’s design. The exterior mirror housings shine in aluminum look. The rear bumper integrates a thin lining of black honeycomb grille, aluminum diffuser trim and quad tailpipes. 18-inch wheels come standard, but you could opt for the Audi Sports 19-inch wheels too. Also festooned around the car, you get the ‘S’ badging and other smaller details. All this exists to prove that you aren’t driving a run-off the mill A4 estate but something that will make people look at the car and say – “Well, that just doesn’t seem ordinary.”
The strong heart of the new S models from Audi is a newly conceptualized 3.0-litre TFSI engine. The V6, with turbocharging, has an output of 354 HP and produces a hefty torque of 500 Nm from 1,370 to 4,500 RPM. This means mommies on the school run will do 0-100 KMPH in 4.7 secs from a set of traffic lights, followed by children in the back petrified and vomiting!
Let’s talk about the interior, which is the whole point of this car’s character, shape, design and performance. It’s certainly not a let down! The first thing you would really love is that it’s not dowdy and boring as a car of this shape might feel. The front sport seats upholstered in an Alcantara/leather combination and a leather-trimmed 3‑spoke sport steering wheel with multi-function buttons is just perfect. And that sort of brings that air of a little pedal to the metal style of driving in the cabin. The horizontal lines of the instrument panel, with its wide band of air vents, convey an impression of generous width. The optional S-sport seats have integrated head restraints, adjustable lateral supports and a pneumatic massage function. The standard seat upholstery is fine Nappa leather in the colors – black, rotor gray or magma red with diamond pattern, contrasting stitching and an S badge. The color black dominates in the interior, which is set off by contrasting inlays made of matt brushed aluminum.
A new top highlight is the optional Audi virtual cockpit that displays all key information, digitally and in detailed graphics on its 12.3‑inch screen. Views available to the driver include a sport mode centered around the tachometer. In the new MMI operating system, the flat menu structure is based on that of today’s smartphones, including the intelligent free-text search. It suggests various search results after just a few letters have been entered. Technology for you! The Audi tablet serves as a flexible rear seat entertainment device. For very discerning audiophiles, the Bang & Olufsen sound system with its new 3D sound is available to please your ears.
The new S4 Avant is right at the forefront in its class, with a broad array of driver assistance systems. Their intelligent interplay represents the next step toward piloted driving. Over a speed range from 0 to 65 kmph, traffic jam assist – another function of ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) – can also take over steering on well-built roads, as long as the traffic is moving slowly. While the S4 Sedan offers 480 litres of luggage volume; the S4 Avant offers from 505 to 1,510 liters, depending on the positions of the rear seat backrests. This is while adding 45 kgs to the sedan’s original weight of 1,630 kgs and bringing it up to 1675 kgs.
This car is crucial for the German automaker, as it will formulate the production of the RS4 sedan and estate. Till then, in Europe the S4 Avant is available starting at €61,150. Will it work in India? That’s a big gamble that Audi will take, and we’ll have to see if it can work after the poor sales of the RS6. Maybe, bring the normal version of the estate before and then the Sports one sounds like a good idea, as that would help get the sales going. Think about that Audi. You’re welcome!