With the Geneva Motor Show just behind us, the auto industry is reeling from a lot of exciting announcements. Predictably, Audi were there to build hype for their 2017 S4 Avant. If you haven’t already seen the bright yellow model they exhibited, then have a look. If you’re already excited about this model and you live in the US, then calm down. Unfortunately, this is strictly for the European market, and you’re not going to see one of these anywhere near you!
The new S4 Avant builds on the great foundations laid by the previous S4 sedan. This model will have several other features, which all work to sweeten the overall driving experience. Drivers who buy this model will now enjoy a V6 with eight-speed transmission. The Avant will also feature the all-wheel drive system which Audi has become well-known for, along with some torque vectoring. This should give you great traction, whether you’re trying to navigate a field of snow or simply tackling a sharp corner. The S4 Avant will also offer its drivers a whopping 53 cubic feet of space in the trunk. Compared to the sedan’s 17 cubic feet, this is a lot better suited to people looking for a family car. With the long roof, you lose a fraction of a second in the zero-to-sixty sprint compared to the sedan. If that was too much of an issue for you, I bet you wouldn’t be reading this!
Aesthetically, the S4 Avant is a big improvement from its Sedan counterpart. Of course, Audi have a pretty good record for the looks of the car. Every now and then you might see a used Audi which looks brutish and blocky, true. Sticking to their recent pattern though, the S4 Avant is a real beauty. The longer roof of this car flows beautifully into the rest of the body, especially the raked rear hatch. These great outer features will probably frustrate North American drivers even more! Hopefully, American tastes will eventually move away from crossovers and towards wagons.
Though we haven’t been able to test it for ourselves, Audi has made an extensive press release on the S4. This gives us some details about the performance we can expect. The eight-speed tiptronic transmission should handle power transfer in a smooth, easy way. The lower gears all have short ratios. Conversely, the higher gears are designed to reduce your fuel consumption and revs. Another handy feature is the great freewheeling mode. Let’s say you’re driving anywhere between 35 and 100mph, and suddenly drop the accelerator. The transmission will automatically switch to this efficient freewheeling mode. According to Audi, users will experience a distinctly sporty feel to the S4 Avant. This is mainly due to the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. When you’re driving normally, there’ll be a subtle emphasis on the rear wheels. If needs be, the forces can be switched to whichever axel has the most traction.
The Avant comes with five-link front and rear suspensions. This means you’ll have a decent amount of comfort and not have to sacrifice the sporty response of the wheels. This S model has also had the body lowered by about an inch compared to the A4. This should make for a faster, nimbler performance on the road. Further to this, the S4 Avant comes with CDC (continuous damping control). This is integrated as part of Audi’s “drive select handling system”. If you’re a die-hard Audi lover, you’ll know all about this! This system controls the dampers, engine, steering and tiptronic all from one simple interface. With a few taps of the screen, you’ll be able to manipulate every last part of your driving experience. This means that you’ll never have to compromise when you need different kinds of handling for different areas of the road.
The interior of the S4 Avant is really something as well. This seems to be aimed at people who need a great family car, but didn’t want to lose the massive quality any Audi promises. This model will seat five people comfortably. These are the company’s words; I bet it helps if three of those five are small children! Just from looking at a few images of the interior, you get a potent sense of width and space. The panels feature generously spaced buttons, and a long band of air vents. As mentioned before, the luggage volume of the Sedan and Avant differ pretty significantly. The Sedan gives you 17 cubic feet of storage, whereas the Avant gets up to 53.
If you were thinking of going for the “sport” version, then you’ll have a much more luxurious interior. In this model, the seats have integrated head rests, lateral supports which you can easily adjust. There’s even a pneumatic massage feature! The upholstery is all high-quality Nappa leather, available in grey, black or what Audi are calling “magma red”. The upholstery is done in a nice, subtle diamond pattern, with contrasting stitching and an imprinted “S” logo. The inlays are made from matte aluminium, which creates a lovely contrast against the black which makes up most of the interior. One final touch of the future is Audi’s virtual cockpit technology. This works through a 12-inch screen, which displays any important information to the driver and can be easily customised. In all press releases, the car’s manufacturers have emphasised the quality of the graphics in this system. There aren’t much details about the actual function of it yet. What we can confirm is that there’s going to be a “sport” mode, which focusses on the tachometer. You’ll be able to operate this bit of tech through buttons on the steering wheel, or simply by speaking!
With several improvements to the body, and a host of new features benefitting the driver, the S4 Avant is sure to make an impact. This appears to be an interesting break from Audi’s sleeker, lavish characters of the past. However, from what we’ve been told so far, the practicality of it will draw in a large audience. However it’s received, it’s sure to be interesting!