Audi A4 Avant Review
The Audi A4 Avant has top-drawer interior quality and comes with a high level of technology and standard kit. If you value a thrilling drive or huge boot space, though, there are better.
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Executive saloon cars are great at offering swanky interiors, impressive tech and great infotainment, but what if your dog also has a penchant for plushness and needs to come along for the ride? The Audi A4 Avant solves the problem with its bigger estate boot, but same high-quality insides. Of course, BMW and Mercedes have thought of this too, with their 3 Series Touring and C-Class Estate.
But it’s fair to say that the latest A4, despite a recent update, looks more restrained inside and out than its alternatives. There are new LED lights and bumpers front and back, a flatter single-frame grille and bigger air intakes, but the A4 is still less in-your-face than the BMW or Mercedes.
Inside the A4 remains simple, intuitive to use and stylish. It’s not quite as interesting to look at as the Mercedes, but the Audi’s numerous aluminium and soft-plastic trims look classy and feel absolutely bulletproof. No other car this size is quite as well built as the Audi A4. What is different to the pre-facelift version is the infotainment. Every model gets a bright, high-definition 10-inch widescreen atop its dashboard, DAB radio, Bluetooth, built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
You won’t have any trouble getting comfortable in the Audi A4’s front seats. There’s loads of head- and legroom and plenty of seat adjustment as standard. Space in the back is very nearly as generous as up front. There’s enough room for a six-foot-tall passenger to stretch out behind an equally lanky driver and more headroom than in the C-Class.
The Audi A4 Avant is a roomy estate car, but it depends on how much space you ultimately need. Whippet? The Avant will be great. Great Dane? You’ll need something bigger.
The Avant’s 505-litre boot is 10 litres larger than a 3 Series Touring’s and 15 litres bigger than in C-Class Estate. You probably won’t notice this difference unless you regularly fill your boot to the brim, but at least the Audi’s slightly wider boot opening makes it a touch easier to load bulky items.
There will eventually be seven engine choices (three petrol, four diesel) for the A4, all turbocharged and most of which with a mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy. If you do the majority of your driving in town or don’t like the idea of diesel, then the 150hp 2.0-litre 35 TFSI is the best bet. It easily has enough power and low-down pull to haul the A4 along and is exceptionally smooth and quiet.
If you’re buying an A4 as a company car or often travel long distances on the motorway then you’re probably better off buying a diesel. In which case the 163hp, 2.0-litre 35 TDI is the better choice. It feels eager to surge forward when accelerating, yet will return around 50mpg if driven carefully.
The Audi A4 is an easy and comfortable car to drive in town, doesn’t wander about in its lane on the motorway and there’s very little wind and road noise heard inside at higher speeds. Where the A4 isn’t quite a good as its alternatives is when pushing hard on country roads. Sure, the A4 grips hard and has precision to its steering, but a BMW 3 Series is more communicative and ultimately more fun on the right road.
So, aside from it being fairly restrained to behold and not huge fun to thrash through bends the Audi A4 has a lot going for it. If you’re sold on its great tech, quality and space, then check out our deals pages for the best prices.
The Audi A4 is spacious inside for four adults and has a roomy boot, although there are ultimately bigger estate options if space matters most.
The Audi A4 Avant will provide more than enough some for most families, but if you’re constantly carting around a full boot then there are ultimately better options.
You won’t have any trouble getting comfortable in the Audi A4’s front seats – even if you’re very tall. There’s loads of head- and legroom and plenty of seat adjustment as standard, including four-way lumbar adjustment to save your lower back on long journeys.
Electric seat adjustment costs extra depending on which model you pick, but it does come with a handy memory feature so you won’t have to fiddle around with the seat’s settings each time you lend your car to someone else.
Space in the back is very nearly as generous as up front. There’s enough room for a six-foot-tall passenger to stretch out behind an equally lanky driver and more headroom than in a 3 Series Touring or C-Class Estate – even in models fitted with the optional panoramic glass roof.
Your passengers will have plenty of space to tuck their feet under the front seats too, and the Audi A4’s wide cabin means there’s more shoulder room for three adults to sit side-by-side than in the C-Class or 3 Series. Okay, the central seat’s not quite as comfortable as the outer two but it’s still reasonably soft and there’s only a slight lump in the floor to get in the way of your middle passenger’s feet.
The wide rear door openings make it pretty easy to lift in a child seat and the Isofix anchor points come with clearly marked plastic caps – just be careful not to lose them. The Audi A4’s relatively low roof means you’ll have to duck down slightly to strap in a child but it’s no more difficult than in the BMW or Mercedes.
All the Audi A4’s door bins are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and there’s space for an equally large bottle in the glovebox.
You get a pair of large cupholders in the centre console up by the dashboard and a roomy storage bin under the flip-up front armrest that’s perfect for hiding small valuables safely out of sight.
The Audi A4 Avant’s 505-litre boot is 10 litres larger than the 3 Series Touring’s and 15 litres bigger than in C-Class Estate. You probably won’t notice this difference unless you regularly fill your boot to the brim but the Audi’s slightly wider boot opening makes it a touch easier to load bulky items than in the BMW or Mercedes.
Unfortunately, there’s a slight lip in the boot and you can’t raise the Audi A4 Avant’s floor which can make loading very heavy items slightly tricky but you get plenty of handy tethering points, shopping hooks and storage nets to stop smaller items rolling around.
Annoyingly there’s nowhere to store the load cover when you’re not using it and the remote seat latches don’t actually drop the back seats down – you’ll have to lean in and give them a shove yourself.
On the subject of folding seats, the Audi A4 Avant’s back row flips down in a three-way (40:20:40) split as standard so you can carry up to three passengers and some very long luggage at once. If you need to carry even more you can fold all three back seats out of the way to open up a 1,510-litre boot. That’s identical to the C-Class Estate’s and 10 litres more than the 3 Series Touring can manage.
With the seats folded there’s no annoying step in the boot floor and it only ramps up slightly behind the front seats so it’s pretty easy to slide in a few heavy boxes. There’s even enough space to carry a large bike with both its wheels attached.
Bear in mind that, if maximum space is paramount, a Skoda Superb Estate feels a little less plush inside, but is far bigger than the A4, 3 Series or C-Class inside.
Audi gives you lots of engine choice and the A4’s quiet and comfy drive is impressive. If you want driving thrills, though, you’re better off with a BMW 3 Series Touring.
It’s easy to get carried away with such an amazing amount of choice, but even the A4’s lesser engines are punchy, saving you money when buying and running it.
There will eventually be seven engine choices (three petrol, four diesel) for the A4, all turbocharged and most of which come with a mild-hybrid system to improve fuel economy. This starts with the 136hp 30 TDI diesel, and ends with the 245hp 45 TFSI petrol, although there’s also the sportier 347hp S4 diesel and 444hp RS4, which we’ve reviewed separately.
Ultimately, a couple of engines standard out. If you do most of your driving in town or don’t like the idea of diesel, then the 150hp 2.0-litre 35 TFSI is the best bet. It easily has enough power and low down pull to haul the A4 along and is exceptionally smooth and quiet. The more powerful 40 and 45 TFSI engines are quicker and pull harder, but cost more to buy and fuel.
If you’re buying an A4 as a company car or often travel long distances on the motorway then you’re probably better off buying a diesel. In which case, the 163hp, 2.0-litre 35 TDI is the better choice. It feels eager to surge forward when accelerating, yet will return around 50mpg if driven carefully and has low CO2 emissions – which is ideal for company car buyers. Again, the 40 TDI and 45 TDI are quicker still, but not by enough to make their higher price and fuel bills seem worth it.
Audi’s seven-speed automatic gearbox is available with every engine – it’s slick once you’re up and running, but does hesitate a bit in town. A six-speed manual will be available with lesser engines later on.
The Audi A4 is an easy and comfortable car to drive in town. It’s best to keep its alloy wheels as small as possible and avoid the sportier suspension of S Line trim for the best comfort, but even then you don’t crash into potholes or thud into ruts. Visibility is good for the driver, although front and rear parking sensors are standard in any case and the A4’s steering is light enough to make tight manoeuvres a piece of cake.
It’s all good news on the motorway too. The A4 doesn’t wander about in its lane and there’s very little wind and road noise inside. The petrol models are especially quiet.
For even more relaxation you can add Audi’s Driver Assistance Tour Pack which brings a system that’ll accelerate, brake and steer to keep you in your lane as long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Where the A4 isn’t quite a good as its alternatives is when pushing hard on country roads. Sure, the A4 grips hard and has precision to its steering, but a BMW 3 Series Touring is more communicative and ultimately fun on the right road. S Line A4s have lower, stiffer sports suspension and adaptive suspension is available across the range as an option to improve body control, but even then the A4 doesn’t quite put as big a smile on your face.
You’ll love climbing into the Audi A4 each morning – the quality of its interior is fantastic. Its infotainment system is great too, although BMW’s iDrive continues to be even easier to use.