There is something about the Audi A4 Avant. Unlike the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C Class Estate, in the Audi you don’t feel like you’re driving a boot, neither do you feel like you’re announcing domestication to the world. Instead, you drive the A4 wagon with pride, for it isn’t the oddest looking variant in the range, and its boot is a classy extension of the sleek A4 sedan rather than a bulky addition.
Is there such a thing as a cool station wagon? There is. Available in two grades, the new 2016 Audi A4 Avant is priced from $63,900 for the 2.0 TFSI S tronic and $72,900 for its all-wheel drive quattro sibling. Both stickers exclude on road costs.
Design and Comfort
Audi’s restrained approach to styling appears to have worked well with the wagon body. The understatedness of the design effectively gives emphasis to the subtle details. The sharp new headlights and taillights, wider trapezoidal grille and bold lines lend the A4 Avant a properly non-pretentious, upmarket look.
In S line trim like our test model, the sportier front and rear bumpers, 19-inch wheels and lower ride height sports suspension really set it off apart from its rivals.
The inside is identical to the sedan and typical Audi affair. It’s modern, functional and immaculately put together. There’s no excessiveness in the cabin; everything is sized just right, giving a sense of spaciousness throughout. And splashes of aluminium trim really give the interior a solid premium ambience.
Sitting position is good and the vast glasshouse means all round visibility is excellent. The new car’s 26mm longer wheelbase has liberated more legroom for rear passengers, while thinner and lower seats yield improved headroom for all occupants.
The front pews are appropriately supportive and all seats are comfortable for long trips. The cabin is very well isolated, too, with very little wind and road noise.
The Avant’s 505-litre boot is slightly larger than both the BMW and Mercedes, but can’t match those in the less upmarket Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat. With the rear seats tumbled the space expands to 1,510 litres.
The boot floor is low and flat, allowing for easy loading. The 40:20:40 split rear seats add further versatility as long items can be stored while still having one or more seats up.
All new A4 Avant models come standard with an electric tailgate, activated by a sensor-controlled ‘kick motion’, as well as an electric sliding luggage cover.
Performance and Handling
The new A4 Avant is available with two engine options, both teamed with the 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission as standard.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the front-wheel drive model delivers 140kW between 4200 and 6000rpm, and 320Nm of torque from 1450 to 4200rpm. It sprints from rest to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds (claimed).
The higher output version of the same engine in the 2.0 TFSI sport quattro we tested here serves up 185kW between 5000 and 6000rpm, and 370Nm of torque from 1600 to 4500rpm. It’s the variant to pick and well worth the extra over the front-driven base model.
Paired with quattro, the way the all paw A4 Avant gathers speed is remarkably effortless, as stipulated by its 0 to 100km/h time of just 6 seconds flat (claimed).
The drivetrain is amazingly refined and smooth; its operation is quiet and apart from the slight hesitation on take off (typical of dual clutch ‘boxes), gear changes are virtually imperceptible.
While the A4 Avant isn’t designed for mind-bending cornering performance, its quattro arsenal endows the large wagon with superb grip and sure-footedness around the bends. All-wheel drive further adds a level of assurance in the wet that its rear-wheel drive rivals simply can’t match.
Let it cruise on open roads, the Avant is sublime, comfortable and just simply unruffled. While the BMW is still more fun, the Audi is the car you take for that 900km interstate trip.
Audi consistently excels in this area and the new A4 range continues this trend. Perceived quality is top notch and the interior has a real upmarket feel to it. Premium looking brushed aluminium trim adorn the cabin, complemented with lavish leather upholstery and high quality suede door trims.
The optional Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel is the showpiece of the interior. Replacing conventional gauges, it dispenses driving information in full clarity and high resolution.
Typical of Audi, fit and finish is excellent. Most surfaces are soft to the touch and panels have almost perfect alignment.
The new A4 Avant range is up to 70kg lighter than before, which translates to improved fuel economy. On paper, the 2.0 TFSI combined fuel consumption figure is rated at 5.6L/100km, while the more powerful 2.0 TFSI quattro claims 6.6L/100km.
At the end of our week long test the trip computer returned a reading of 8.9L/100km, which admittedly involved some heavy-footed driving. Still, it’s a pretty remarkable figure for a family wagon.
Cruising at legal freeway speeds the A4 Avant’s fuel use hovered around 5.0L/100km, which almost matches some small hatchbacks.
Features and Equipment
Standard equipment on the base A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI is quite substantial. It includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED adaptive headlights, dynamic rear indicators, keyless entry and powered tailgate. On the inside, there’s MMI Navigation plus with 8.3-inch screen, MMI touch (handwriting recognition), DVD player, 10GB music storage, live traffic and 5 included map updates.
Also standard are Audi Smartphone interface (Apple Carplay and Android Auto), 7.0-inch colour Driver Information Screen, electric driver’s seat, 3-zone climate control with rear display, steering paddle shifters and leather upholstery.
The 2.0 TFSI quattro model adds 19-inch wheels, sport suspension, 180w premium audio with 10 speakers and subwoofer, memory driver’s seats and folding exterior mirrors, with heating, dimming and memory functions.
Options are extensive and expensive as expected from this company (check out our test car’s $22k worth of options below!). The brilliant Audi Virtual Cockpit isn’t standard even in the top-spec model but a $2,100 extra (which includes heads-up display).
Design and Comfort: 8.5/10
Performance and Handling: 8.0/10
Equipment and Features: 7.5/10
The Audi A4 Avant is a solid performer when it comes to comfort, practicality and refinement. It’s more at home on open country roads than twisty back roads and that’s completely appropriate for a car of this type. Its sleek design is also matched with the best interior and biggest boot space among the German trio.
If you’re looking for a premium estate car, the A4 Avant should be at the top of your list.
- Excellent refinement
- Benchmark interior
- Spacious cabin
- Exemplary ride comfort and quietness
- No diesel option
- Rivals are more engaging to drive
- Expensive options
2016 Audi A4 Avant Price and Specification
|Price (excluding on-roads):||From $63,900|
A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI S tronic 140kW – $63,900
A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 185kW – $72,900
As Tested: $95,324 (2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic)*
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited km|
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol: 140kW @ 4,200-6,000rpm, 320Nm @ 1,450-4,200rpm, front-wheel drive (2.0 TFSI)|
2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol: 185kW @ 5,000-6,000rpm, 370Nm @ 1,600-4,500rpm, all-wheel drive (2.0 TFSI quattro, as tested)
|Transmission:||7-speed S tronic dual clutch automatic|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||2.0 TFSI – Claimed: 7.5|
2.0 TFSI quattro – Claimed: 6.0
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||2.0 TFSI – Claimed: 5.6|
2.0 TFSI quattro – Claimed: 6.6 / Tested: 8.9
|Ron Rating:||95 Premium ULP|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||54|
|Body:||4 door sedan, 5 seats|
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 8 airbags, reverse camera, forward collision mitigation, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, DSC, TCS, ABS, EBD, EBA|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,726 / 1,842 / 1,457 / 2,822|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,645 – 1,700|
|Towing Capacity:||2.0 TFSI – Braked: 1,500 / Unbraked: 750|
2.0 TFSI quattro – Braked: 1,700 / Unbraked: 750
|Entertainment:||8.3-inch MMI infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB, DVD player, smartphone interface (Apple Carplay, Android Auto), navigation, 8-speakers|
Competitors: BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes-Benz C Class Estate, Volvo V60