Look at the fuel consumption figures and you might be pleasantly surprised to see 35mpg is possible on the combined cycle. If you’re the owner of an older S4 used to the hilarious 21.0mpg it manages under the same conditions, you might feel inclined to whoop for joy.

But be careful. Just because 35mpg is technically achievable in a laboratory doesn’t mean you’ll get close to it on a road. And if you think the same is true for all cars and so the figures are at least equally misleading, think again.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The Audi comes with a conventional three year/60,000 miles warranty as standard

One reason supercharged engines are no longer popular is because in the real world the parasitic losses encountered under full load are so great that fuel consumption can be truly terrible.

Although Audi does not provide a figure, another manufacturer making a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine of similar output admits that 60bhp is accounted for just driving the blower.

So it will be the unusually light-footed who see even 30mpg from their S4. Drive hard and less than 20mpg is routine, while everyday driving in and out of town, along the motorway and through the lanes should approximately split the difference.

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And even with a reasonable 61-litre fuel tank, times when you cover more than 300 miles between fills are likely to be the exception rather than the norm.

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