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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 31st July, 2020
Audi's biggest and beefiest sports saloon is better than ever. Jonathan Crouch reports on the fourth generation 'D5'-series S8.
So, how to sum up? Well, this improved 'Type8V'-series A3 Saloon might look little different from the original at first glance but it'll feel so if you get a car whose original owner specified the clever 'Virtual Cockpit' technology. Otherwise though, the recipe here is much as it was before and that'll see many continuing to like the statement this A3 Saloon makes on their behalf. This car won't turn the heads of passers' by like a rival Mercedes CLA, but then that very discretion is a fundamental part of its appeal. As with any other A3, it's as at home in Belgravia as it is in Brixton, offering a democratisation of automotive luxury without a dilution of desirability.
If you doubt that, you've only to get behind the wheel, for the interior is where this design really strides apart. You could be in a luxury car - and of course, in many ways, you are. Just one that perhaps better reflects the times we live in.
Quite changed with this generation S4. And quite a lot didn't. It's a much classier overall package, both inside and out. And the pokier turbo engine now makes it feel properly quick - like the old V8 models used to be. But the underlying demeanour on offer here is very little different. An S4 is a devastatingly quick tarmac cross country tool, its improved quattro 4WD system giving this model wet weather traction that most rivals still can't match. As ever though, if you want a sporting model of this sort to be some sort of dynamic hooligan, some sort of junior M3, you'd probably do better looking elsewhere.
In summary then, the S4 in this guise finally found the right balance between speed and sensibility. If we had to own a car for a week from this segment from this period, it wouldn't be the one we'd choose. If we had to choose one to live with though, it'd be difficult to resist, very fast, very smart - and very Audi.
Here's a mid-sized executive estate model created by a brand that knows its customers. The magazines might tell Audi to bring us futuristic looks and an uncompromisingly dynamic drive but Ingolstadt knew with this 'B9'-series model that buyers in this segment really value comfort, class and quality. All three attributes were prioritised in this lighter, more agile and more advanced fifth generation A4 Avant.
Even more than before, this feels like a car that's been lovingly and very carefully considered. The depth of engineering and the thought that's gone into the tiniest details combine to further enhance the warm fuzzy feeling that's charmed Audi customers for years. If you're one of those people, then you'll like this car very much. And even if you're not, you'll find it hard not to be impressed by way it systematically ticks almost every box on the compact executive market wish list. It's very thorough. Very elegant. And very Audi.
Audi's potent SQ7 gets potent V8 petrol power. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
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