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Audi’s rock ‘n roll S4 Avant


AS A keen observer of human beings, I made sure I arrived at the recent Red Hot Chili Peppers gig a few hours before the gates opened. If ever there was an opportunity to witness a plethora of freaks and geeks, this was it.

The usual crowd - easily recognisable thanks to the obligatory green and red hair - were there in full force. They were, however, not the most interesting specimens at the show. Quite a few older men pitched up, but one in particular fascinated me. His hair betrayed his corporate background, but the ratty old Iron Maiden wife beater he was wearing, was the unmistakable outfit of a hardcore rocker.

That, I thought to myself, is why Audi builds the S4 Avant. To some people, it’s nothing more than a speedy hearse, but to a select few it’s a means of escaping the chains of a respected corporate identity.

The S4 has that same dual personality. It allows it to swap effortlessly between a cold, clinical commuting tool and a rapid racer for edge-of-your-seat-type driving.

In corporate mode it’s deeply comfortable and infinitely practical. There is enough space for mom, dad, 2.5 kids and two Labradors, all surrounded by Audi’s legendary build quality. A generous amount of luxurious items enhance the interior ambience enough to make the S4 worthy of the title “Executive Express.”

Then we get to the other side of this so-called station wagon. Take a step back and you notice the 19-inch alloys, multitude of oval tailpipes and subtle 3.0T badging. It doesn’t quite do the performance potential of the S4 justice, but to me, that’s part of its charm. It allows the S4 to hide away until the perfect moment arrives to unleash its inner beast.

The S4 employs a supercharged V6, producing 245kW and 440Nm of torque – enough to propel this “hearse” to 100km/h in five seconds flat. The V8 burble of the previous-generation S4 has been sacrificed on the altar of emissions, but the V6 makes, in my opinion, an even better noise. It starts off as a deep rumble and works its way up to a raspy howl.

The power is fed to the Quattro drivetrain via Audi’s slick seven-speed S tronic gearbox. This combination assists even the most hopeless of drivers to tap into the blistering performance the S4 offers.

It’s not the cheapest car around, but then it doesn’t have any natural rivals. There is, quite simply, nothing like it on the market. The S4 is perfect for the family man who’s outgrown his GTI.

On most days it will serve as a practical partner for mundane day-to-day activities. Every once in a while, though, you can push the loud pedal all the way down. At these moments, you realise that none of us ever really grow up, we just sedate the rebel inside with tons of paperwork.

Like the previously mentioned tatty Iron Maiden shirt, the S4 allows you to tap into your inner rock star.


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