Hot on the heels of the A4 sedan comes Audi’s latest wagon, the A4 Avant, which officially goes on sale in Australia this week priced from $63,900 for the front-drive A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI Sport and $72,900 for the more powerful, more torque-laden and all-wheel drive A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI quattro Sport.
Just those two variants will be offered in Australia, with the 1.4 litre turbo petrol and 2.0 turbo diesel powertrains in the A4 sedan range not deemed suitable for the A4 Avant.
A diesel will eventually make it into the A4 Avant’s bodystyle, but only in the form of the jacked-up Allroad crossover that’s due later in the year.
Compared to the previous-generation A4 Avant, this year’s model has grown inside and out, while simultaneously shedding kilos thanks to clever engineering.
The track is 8mm wider than before, the body is 16mm wider and 26mm longer, the wheelbase has stretched 12mm and those changes come with no weight penalty. In fact, thanks to the use of more lightweight materials like aluminium the A4 Avant is roughly 70kg lighter than before.
Inside there’s now 13mm more rear shoulder room and 23mm more distance between the front and rear seats. For front seat occupants there’s 13mm more headroom.
Boot capacity has swelled by 15 litres with the rear seats in place, coming in at 505 litres below the retractable cargo blind. Drop the 40/20/40 split rear seatbacks, and cargo capacity rises to 1510 litres - 80 litres more than before.
A power-opening tailgate is standard on both models, and can be opened by kicking a foot under the rear bumper (as long as the key is somewhere on your person).
Otherwise, the A4 Avant’s spec sheet is mostly identical to that of the A4 sedan, with standard features like three-zone climate control with separate controls for the second row, a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, leather upholstery and LED headlamps.
Infotainment is handled by Audi’s MMI system, which incorporates an 8.3-inch colour display, rotary controller, an AM/FM/DVD/DAB+/USB audio system with 10GB onboard music storage, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the Audi Connect internet connectivity suite (which requires a data SIM to function).
The infotainment system also runs a 7.0-inch colour LCD display that’s set into the instrument panel, and can be operated independently of the main screen to show sat nav, phone, audio or trip computer info.
Tick the box for the Technik Package, and the entire instrument panel is replaced with a reconfigurable 12.3-inch high-resolution display that looks like it was pinched from a concept car. A heads-up display comes with it as well, and the whole lot adds $1700 to the retail price.
Other option packages include the Assistance Package Tour ($1900) which adds lane assist, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance assist and high beam assist, along with the S Line Sport pack that adds sportier exterior body parts, 19-inch alloys, perforated leather for the (sports) steering wheel and gear knob and leather/Alcantara upholstery.
The standard LED headlamps can also be upgraded with Audi’s Matrix LED lights, which is capable of blocking out individual sections of its high beam to avoid dazzling other cars while still lighting up the road.
It costs an extra $1700 as a standalone option.
An Avant-specific option is the Load area rails system, which, besides the two alloy luggage rails set into the boot floor, adds a range of reconfigurable barriers, tie-downs and straps to help keep cargo secure.
The rear section of the boot floor also becomes reversible, revealing a liquid-resistant hard surface designed to carry wet or muddy gear.
The lower-spec A4 2.0 TFSI ships with a 140kW/320Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol inline four, which drives the front wheels via a seven-speed s-tronic twin clutch automatic. In that configuration it will hit 100km/h in 7.5 seconds and consume an average of 5.6 l/100km, according to Audi’s claim.
The A4 2.0 TFSI quattro weighs 80kg more than its 2WD stablemate (1540kg vs 1460kg), but sprints faster thanks to its higher-boost version of the same 2.0 litre engine.
With 185kW and 370Nm on tap, plus the traction advantage of all-wheel drive, this model will hit 100km/h in just six seconds flat.
Fuel economy suffers slightly with a factory claim of 6.6 l/100km, but that’s still a reasonably thrifty number.
Both models get a double-wishbone (in reality, a five-link) front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension, with three suspension setups offered - standard, Adaptive Comfort and Adaptive Sport.
The standard suspension uses a conventional coil spring and fixed-rate damper, while the Adaptive options make use of electronically adjustable dampers and lower springs - 10mm lower for Adaptive Comfort, 20mm lower for Adaptive Sport.
Standard wheels for the 2.0 TFSI are 18-inch alloys, while the 2.0 TFSI quattro gets bigger 19-inch items.
The 2016 Audi A4 Avant is available to order now, with pricing as below:
- Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI Sport - $63,900
- Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI quattro Sport - $72,900