The A4 Avant’s cabin is stylish and very comfortable, but be prepared to hand over some serious cash if you want all the optional high-tech bells and whistles
The Audi A4 Avant’s classy interior comes with loads of soft-touch plastics and cool aluminium trims. It certainly looks more upmarket than the sporty 3 Series Touring’s cabin but can’t quite match the eye-catching design you’ll find in the C-Class Estate.
The Audi’s trump card is just how solid everything feels. Neither the Mercedes nor the BMW feel as well put together and the A4 Avant’s cabin is almost completely devoid of any hard, scratchy plastic surfaces. Even the glovebox and storage bins come with neat soft-close lids like an expensive set of kitchen drawers.
Pick a sporty S Line model and you’ll get smart stainless steel trims on the doors and pedals and a set of suede-like Alcantara and leather-trimmed sports seats with tasty red stitching.
Standard across the range is a super-slick infotainment system with a seven-inch screen. It’s bright, responsive and easy to use but you can get a larger 8.3-inch unit and a second 12.3-inch display instead of a conventional speedometer and rev-counter for £1,395. This system (that Audi calls its Virtual Cockpit) gives the Avant a clear edge over the slightly more low-tech Mercedes and BMW.
Sadly, it’s not all good news. Satellite navigation is only standard on Sport models and above, and leather seats will set you back a rather steep £850 on entry-level SE cars.
The A4 Avant’s cabin might not be the most eye-catching or the sportiest of any practical estate on sale but everything’s easy to use and it all feels rock solid
Every A4 Avant comes with a seven-inch infotainment screen that’s mounted up on the dashboard. Its high-resolution display means the menus are easy to read and dead easy to navigate through using the scroll wheel on the centre console. It’s all much more intuitive than the C-Class Estates awkward touchpad and wheel arrangement but the 3 Series Touring’s iDrive system is easier still.
Sadly, only Sport models and above come with satellite navigation (it’s standard in all 3 Series Tourings). The Audi’s system is pretty easy to use, however, and it’s a doddle to input a postcode or preview your route ahead.
If you don’t like Audi’s own sat nav you can use your phone’s navigation and media-streaming apps through the infotainment screen instead using the standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring features.
The A4 Avant’s party-piece is the optional 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system. It costs £250 across the range and replaces conventional analogue instruments with a gorgeous high-resolution screen. It can display a combination of digital dials and sat-nav directions right in your eye-line and makes the A4 Avant feel far more futuristic than the 3 Series Touring or C-Class Estate.
Hand over £1,395 for the Technology Pack and you get both the Virtual Cockpit screen and a second larger 8.3-inch infotainment display. It also comes with an upgraded computer processor to help display high-resolution Google maps without any infuriating delays or long loading times.
Entry-level SE models get an eight-speaker stereo while Sport versions and above get a beefier 10-speaker system. Both are reasonably loud and clear but the optional 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen system has them both licked for crisp treble and clear rattle-free bass notes. It will set you back an extra £1,295 however.