WHY WOULD you buy a compact SUV when there is the Audi S4 Avant?
No, seriously, it doesn’t make sense. Not only is it a capable, fuss-free fast cruiser and twisty-road bruiser, the wagon has all the space you’d ever need. To be exact, it has 505 litres with the 40/20/40-split rear seats in place and a cavernous 1510 litres with them folded. That’s a handy jump over the 480/965 litre sedan. However, it does add 0.2sec to the sedan’s 0-100km/h time of 4.7sec despite being just 45kg heavier (sedan 1630kg). Luckily it doesn’t translate to a tangible deficit on-road with the ample 260kW and meaty 500Nm offered up from the now turbo 3.0-litre V6. Dropping the supercharger has changed the tune – it’s now more refined and guttural than before – but it hasn’t hampered forward shove with heady mid-range grunt on offer from 1370-4500rpm. Tied to the impressive eight-speed ZF auto, the S4 Avant hauls the kids to soccer faster, and more effortlessly than its relatively non-descript exterior would suggest. An essential option to tick is the $2950 quattro sport differential as it makes the wagon – sorry, Avant – playful at the rear, largely quelling understeer with the torque-vectoring diff. With adaptive dampers the ride quality on the 19-inch alloys is plush (and tailorable with Drive Select) while the steering is best left in Auto mode. As ever, the S4’s cabin seals the deal – especially with the $5900 S performance package featuring massaging seats. It’s a lovely place to be and ergonomically sound. Plus, with virtual cockpit, it’s also tech savvy. Pragmatism and performance are no longer mutually exclusive ideals – Trent Giunco