Audi A4 2.0 TFSI 190 Avant S tronic21 | 06 | 2016Scotcars rating

    Audi A4 Avant has always been one of the most stylish estate cars: we take latest to Le Mans

    IT’S ONE OF the best-looking cars on the road, so what better model to take down to this year’s Le Mans 24-Hours than the Audi A4 Avant. But rather than go for the more obvious diesel, we opted to test the latest 2.0TFSI 190 petrol model.

    Let’s deal with the basics first. The latest A4 Avant — that’s estate to you and me — has grown, but only slightly. It’s now 4725mm long, 1842mm wide and 1434mm tall, which makes it 25mm longer, and a smidge wider and taller than its predecessor in saloon guise.

    Compared to the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class, one of its principle rivals, it’s 41mm longer, 32mm wider and 13mm lower. The Audi’s wheelbase has also increased by 12mm, taking it up to 2820mm.

    Cleverly though, the Audi boffins have shaved 120kg off the weight of the car, primarily through the adoption of hot-formed high-strength steel within the body structure, and aluminium for various body panels, including the roof.

    You’ll have to look hard to spot the subtle evolutionary external styling differences of the new A4 Avant, but once you slip inside the cabin the differences are more immediate and obvious.

    Not only does the interior look much more modern — adopting the contemporary new design similar to that seen on the third-generation TT and second-gen Q7, as well as the latest A4 saloon  — but there’s also much more space. According to Audi there’s an additional 24mm of headroom, plus 11mm more shoulder room up front.

    Rear passengers also benefit significantly: the new A4 Avant, thanks to it lengthened wheelbase, boasts a 23mm increase in rear seat legroom.

    Related: Roadtest — Audi R8 V10 Plus

    Bootspace — much-needed for the trip to Le Mans — has also been increased. There’s now an extra 15 litres, up to 505 litres, of stowage space with the rear seats in position. Fold the standard 40/20/40-split rear seat flat and the space increases to 1510 litres.

    Again the Audi outperforms its Teutonic rivals: the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate offers 490 litres with the seats in position, while the BMW 3 Series Touring delivers 495 litres.

    Audi has also upped the safety ante in its latest models, with the new A4 Avant including the Ingolstadt giant’s pre sense city system. This has been developed to prevent accidents at typical urban driving speeds. Using a windscreen-mounted stereo camera to monitor the road, it provides an acoustic warning and full preventative braking at speeds up to 25mph.

    The front-wheel-drive A4 Avant 2.0TFSI test car — fitted with optional seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic (a six-speed manual is standard) — was powered by Audi’s a new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This unit replaces the previous A4 1.8TFSI, which used an older turbocharged 1.8-litre engine and which is being phased out across the Audi line-up.

    Power in the new engine is up by 19bhp to 187bhp, and Audi says the car will return 52.3mpg with the car running on 18in alloys. This improves to 53.3mpg on 17in wheels. It’ll also hit 62mph from standstill in 7.5secs and carry on to a maximum of 148mpg. In terms of CO2, it emits 124g/km on 18in wheels, and 121g/CO2 on 17ins.

    Roadtest: Roadtest — Audi Q7 3.0TDI

    Perhaps worth mentioning that in real world driving, I covered 542 miles, averaging 37.4mpg at 42mph, according to the trip computer. And much of that was on French autoroutes sticking strictly to the speed limit: we all know how pernickety the Gendarme are when they see a UK-reg car getting anywhere close to breaking the speed limit.

    And let’s talk money. In ‘standard’ form, the Audi A4 2.0 TFSI 190 Avant S tronic will cost you £32,795, which is attractive in many people’s eyes.

    But here’s a hint: don’t let the people from Audi spec the car for you. Don’t get me wrong: I love what they did to the car. But ouch! The options added just over nine grand to the price. White metallic paint (£645); black fine Nappa leather (£1250); parking assistance pack advanced (£1350); comfort & sound pack (£1250); technology pack (£1450); light & vision pack (£975); panoramic glass sunroof (£1250) and heated front seats all contributed to the £41,950 price tag.

    There’s no denying the latest A4 Avant is a more dynamic car to drive, which makes the experience more entertaining over the previous generation. The steering is also lighter, in Comfort setting, than the model it replaces, thanks to a speed sensitive electro-mechanical set-up. There’s a definite, new progressive action across the first quarter turn of lock which gives the car a reassuring quality.

    Related: Roadtest — Audi TT 2.0TDI

    Ride too has been improved, aided in no uncertain terms by the car’s newly-developed body structure which is both lighter and significantly more rigid than that used by the old A4. In combination with the adoption of new integrated cast aluminium front suspension towers, softer springs and more progressive damper rates than its predecessor, the latest A4 Avant is certainly an entertaining drive.

    That’s further boosted by the fact the driving position is excellent — aided by the introduction of new seats, which provide better support than those of the old model — with generous visibility to all four corners.

    As was the case with the latest TT and Q7, the dashboard is an example to other manufacturers as to how near-perfect simplicity and functionality can be achieved. And I’ve always thought the Audi satnav software was the best in the industry: the latest version just takes it to yet another level.

    Overall, the latest A4 Avant is a more engaging, comfortable and refined car to drive than its predecessor: and that was a class-leader. And thanks to its new interior, any journey you undertake will be a delight, further boosted by advancements in connectivity, infotainment and safety.

    If you’re in the market for a stylish estate car which delivers panache, quality, pleasure and just sheer enjoyment, then the A4 Avant should be top of your list.

    Related: Roadtest — Audi A1 1.0TFSI

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £32,795 / £41,950
    Engine / Power: 4 cyl in line, 1984cc, turbocharged petrol, electric, 7spd auto / 187bhp
    How fast?: 7.5sec; / Max 148mph
    How big/heavy?: L4725mm W1842mm (excl mirrors) H1434mm / 1460kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 53.3mpg combined / 121g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: BMW 3 series estate, Mercedes C-Class estate

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