The Audi A4 Avant has a lot to offer
Car Reviewed: Audi A4 Avant 40TDI S-Line Quattro
Our test car was in 40 TDi and S-line format, so: plenty of performance from the 4-cylinder 2-litre engine that pushes out 201 bhp and can get to 62 mph in just 7.1 seconds through its super-smooth 7-speed S-tronic gearbox.
S-line is not the top-of-the-range, so you mustn’t mind having, for example, having to adjust your driver’s seat yourself rather than via an electric switch.
At times, I have in the past found Audi’s ride to be a touch on the firm side; with its 19-inch wheels, I half-expected to find this to be the case once again, but, no, it was very comfortable to ride in, not even having to select the ‘Comfort’ mode. Perhaps over the years, Audi has worked on the actual springing in the seats themselves. In this case, the driver has the advantage of four-way lumbar support.
The car ran quietly, too, in this case, on Hankook’s high-performance EVO Z tyres.
The aerodynamic shape of the car means it is hushed at speed. As to the engine, apart from the apparent diesel sound on starting up, this was also found to be pretty much noiseless and felt as smooth and refined as any petrol engine.
Not only can the 40 TDi accelerate fast from a standstill, but its 400Nm of torque, coming in at 1750rpm, means the surge continues all the way from whichever of the first five of the seven gears you’re in, meaning it can be a safe overtaker if necessary.
So: a car that can be fun to drive safely, with excellent brakes, strong road-holding and precise steering.
As a family car, it hardly lags behind any SUV: only, being lower, the outward visibility could be considered to suffer in comparison; however, that said, as the driver, I found absolutely no problem in this respect, especially with all the parking aids in the form of front- and rear-view cameras and warnings. Once you get used to the rear-view mirrors, you can judge how safe you are from the dreaded kerb-scraping those rims on their ultra-low-profile tyres.
Audi has loaded this car with a high number of technological aids aimed at making the owner’s life on the road as easy and safe as possible.
Personally, I still have a common problem with satellite navigation — hearing the voice guidance over whatever other audio is on. These systems, very clever in themselves, should perhaps be refined even further so that it takes only one quick step to cancel, re-instate and so on, rather than fiddling about on the touch-screen or, better, using voice commands.
Audi’s own sophisticated Connect is an impressive feature to have as standard on this car.
More high marks can be awarded for the interior design allowing three adults in the back, although the one in the middle has to contend with the transmission tunnel and air-flow controls. Those in the rear can enjoy Audi’s 3-zone climate control.
As desired, the boot space can be extended by folding the 40/20/40 rear seats. Another good idea is the boot carpet that can be turned over to provide an easy-to-clean surface if muddy, wet stuff is carried there.
Over seven days, I covered 510 miles; about half of this distance was on free-running motorways — hardly more than 1500rpm at 70mph, with no delays and the rest was a mix of country road and quick trips to the shops; overall, indicated fuel consumption was 49.9mpg, a very satisfactory showing compared to the official WLTP combined figure of 47.9mpg. On short trips to the school or shops, I was getting upwards of 36mpg. A contributory factor being the mild-hybrid technology: you can sometimes catch the rev-counter dropping to zero revs as appropriate when coasting (presuming that drivers these days are familiar with ‘coasting’: that is, when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal). With the 58-litre fuel tank, the range can extend more than six hundred miles.
This Audi was one of our test cars that soon became a sort of family friend. Not a cheap one, of course, and, at more than £45,000 (£46,645 for our test car), you’d probably want to achieve some kind of deal. Good luck because you’ll end up with a fine all-rounder. But who buys a car with cash these days, anyway?
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.