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new S4 snow'n ice fun!

I've had a few days now with a new S4 Avant, painted a modest screaming
yellow (Imolagelb) colour.  The varying conditions have proved a) fun b)
more fun.

The car is incredibly responsive (read: torque) at all engine speeds.  The
400Nm available from 1850rpm onwards is simply amazing, and one can really
appreciate the flat torque curve when doing stuff on slippery surfaces.  The
performance is, as I've mentioned back in my Ingolstadt trip report in
April/May, simply amazing.

The rear-biased T*rs*n diff seems to make the car handle quite differently,
at least when compared to the various 240-310hp 1.8T quattros I've driven.
It just seems easier to control.  Then again, my A4 quattro experiences are
mostly with sedans, and recalling our winter driving school from last year,
I found the Avant a more balanced car.  Whether this is due to higher spring
rates in the rear or a better weight distribution, it was noticeable.  I
should have a chance to try a sedan S4 soon, so I'll make comparisons at
that point.

A customer of mine is contemplating a new S4 (remeber, over USD 100 000.00
here) but he is awaiting news from MTM and Abt as to the forthcoming
modifications available for the car.  If he is not satisfied with what they
offer (he wants 400+ hp), he'll probably wait for the new S6.  That car
should have 400+ hp with a 4.2 Biturbo engine, the normally aspirated 4.2
being used in a "regular" A6 to be introduced in 1999.

Jouko Haapanen
Pori, Finland