Long-term report: The Audi S4 shows off its long-distance abilities

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter
·4-min read

I bet the poor S4 doesn’t know what has hit it. After months of lockdown-related slumber, only disturbed by the odd trip to the shops, it’s now being flung into proper big-mileage duties. I can almost hear it saying ‘hang on, what’s going on here?’.

But it does mean that I’ve now gone over 1,500 miles on the odometer which, in my book, is around the point where an engine starts to loosen up properly. Having put some miles under the S4’s tyres helps me feel a little more confident in exploiting that V6 engine under the bonnet and boy, is it impressive.

It’s torquey and responsive at speed – the low-speed gearbox response is still pretty woeful, though – and sits at a cruise as only big Audis can. The only issue with cars like this is that when sat at 70mph they feel held back as if they’re chomping at the bit to get up to derestricted Autobahn speeds.

Audi S4 Avant
(Jack Evans/Blackball Media)

But dutifully observing the speed limits does have its benefits. For one, the S4 now happily exceeds 40mpg on longer journeys, with a recent empty-to-brim fill costing £64. In doing a full refill, it reset the car’s fuel mileage readout which now states that a brimmed tank will return 530 miles of range – not bad for an estate with plenty of performance, in my mind.

It’s a good thing that it has that range, too, as I’ve been putting the S4 to good use over some longer journeys now that travel restrictions have been eased. The spacious boot has been a real bonus now that I’ve started playing golf a little more, with a full set of clubs easily gobbled up by the S4. I particularly like the automatic load cover which descends when you lock the car to shield your things from prying eyes when the car is parked.

Longer journeys are a great time to really get to know a car, too. For instance, the S4’s side door pockets aren’t the largest and won’t take a big bottle of water, which is a pain. However, the central cupholders are of a decent size, though I still find the tiny cubby located behind them a bit baffling – it’s not really useful for a lot.

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I just love how understated it is, too. Only those in the know will recognise it as something other than a regular A4 estate, and I really like that. Audi has a long history of creating under-the-radar performance estate cars and the S4 feels like a great extension of this.

You could go further, of course – if this was my own car, I’d have the model badges off in an instant and probably try and get the exhaust pipes finished in grey or black instead of chrome for that proper undercover look. The latter is something Audi offers, I should add, but I reckon an aftermarket company would be up to the task.

That said, the darkened trim pieces which come with the Black Edition package do go some way towards extending the S4’s stealthy appearance, but I think could take it even further.

Audi S4 Avant
(Jack Evans/Blackball Media)

But at the moment, this Audi’s glossy looks are being somewhat interrupted by a healthy layer of sand. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the same, but recently it’s been coated in a proper sheet of grit which makes it look like it’s been for a bit of dune-bashing. It’s actually sand from the Sahara which has blown over from North Africa recently and that makes me almost a little reluctant to wash it off – it’s come so far, I feel it deserves to be paraded around for a little while. It helps to make the S4 look like it’s been on a proper adventure, too. I will, however, have to give it a clean at some point – but it’s one of my least favourite things to do.

So what’s on the cards for the next few weeks with the S4? Well, I’m taking some time off work so will no doubt be using it for jobs that usually accompany any period spent away from the laptop; trips to the tip, fixing fences following the recent storms and – hopefully – a little bit of golf and cycling in between.

Audi S4 Avant
(Jack Evans/Blackball Media)

I’m also hoping that the S4 will be able to accompany me on some more adventures as the weather turns warmer. There’s already a camping trip on the cards, as well as a couple of other jaunts across part of the UK.

My only issue is that I’m already getting a little too attached to this car. With its practicality, efficiency and understated looks, I feel like it suits me down the ground. Here’s hoping Audi doesn’t want it back anytime soon.