Avant you noticed?
Audi’s new A4 wagon carries an air of real luxury, writes PAUL POTTINGER
ONCE you scrape off the usual Audi marketing froth about an ‘‘emotional driving experience’’ and ‘‘a microcosm in a macrocosm’’, the latest A4 Avant emerges as a very desirable luxury luggage lugger.
What Audi calls the Avant, a wagon to we Australians, is the latest extension of the new A4 range.
As with most Euro prestige wagons, a genre becoming ever more evident on our roads, the Avant is not a great deal more practical than the sedan. The four-door already has quite a big booty, so it becomes a question of which body flicks your switch.
Still, the five-door A4 does have highly useable space: 490 litres with the back seats up and 1430 litres when they’re folded flat.
Up front there’s a choice of the Volkswagen Group’s direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder engines. These are the stalwart 2.0-litre TDI common rail diesel and — one of our favourite small petrol powerplants — the 1.8 TFSI.
Both versions are driven through the front wheels using Audi’s continuously variable transmission with eight manual settings.
The take-up rate for the diesel is expected to be less than 20 per cent, though that could change as more people see the advantage of a fuel which dominates in Europe.
Down the line, perhaps in the second quarter of 2009, comes the enticing prospect of a quattro all-wheel-drive Avant with a 155kW/350Nm version of the 2.0-litre turbo four, a drivetrain that will also go to the A4 sedan.
Like the current four-door, the Avant has a decent level of standard equipment and the usual mile-long list of costly extras.
Highlight: the Audi A4 Avant prestige wagon offers a choice of the Volkswagen Group’s direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
Big load: the A4 Avant five-door carries 1430 litres with the back seats folded flat.