You’d think 328bhp would be enough to make any car as small as this feel exceptionally rapid, but instead the Audi S4 feels little more than refreshingly brisk.

True, the 5.0sec 0-62mph time (5.1sec for the Avant) looks impressive, but it speaks as much of the car’s all-wheel-drive traction and all but instant gearshifts as it does the car’s true performance potential. Had this car been rear-drive only and with a manual gearbox, we’d estimate it would still break the 6.0sec barrier, but not by much.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
The S4 has plenty of traction, so it's easy to reliably deploy all 328bhp

Still, there’s much to be enjoyed here. True, even supercharging a V6 doesn’t create any of the aural theatre enjoyed by owners of the V8-powered last-generation S4s, but it does mean there’s no need to wait for the drama to start.

At almost any revs in almost any gear, the S4 doesn’t need to be asked twice before knuckling down to the task set by your right foot. And because the throttle response is so quick and reliable, there’s no second-guessing what you’re going to get or when it’s going to arrive when you put your foot down

The gearbox matches these high standards and shifts between its closely stacked ratios so quickly and positively that even those wedded to three-pedal transmissions are unlikely to feel short-changed.

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Despite its weight it stops well, thanks to big vented discs behind its alloy wheels. We’d have preferred a little more feel in the pedal but at least those days when fast Audis had notably over-servoed brakes now seem far behind us.

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