Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo, 125kW/320Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed Multitronic CVT
Fuel economy: 5.8 litres/100km
C02 emissions: 139g/km (Euro 5)
Equipment: Pretty much everything
Safety: Five-star NCAP crash rating
Factory warranty: Three years/unlimited kilometres
Audi’s A4 Avant, one of the best looking wagons, flawlessly blends pretty with purposeful. Its lines were nipped and tucked in a 2012 facelift that included a minor exterior rework and interior improvements. All very nice, but even nicer with the optional $6500 S upgrade pack that’s partly functional, partly for looks. Conventional wisdom is that “look-faster” packages are best avoided because their advantages are few and their cost, plenty. But perhaps the A4 is an exception that proves the rule. It offers leather sports seats with S line embossing, leather armrests, brushed alloy inlays, door sill and interior badging, black headlining, a sports steering wheel, different alloys and bumpers, and front and rear spoilers. Leatherwork is superb, the seats comfortable and supportive, the steering wheel genuinely sporty. The new 1.8 litre direct-injection turbocharged TFSI engine (with stop-start) is slightly less powerful than its 2.0 predecessor but torque is the same 320Nm and available from 1400rpm to 3700rpm. It takes 8.3 seconds for the 0-100km/h run and provides outstanding fuel economy, almost 30 per cent better than the 2.0. The luggage compartment holds 490 litres or 1430 litres, seats folded. Superbly fitted and finished, it offers lashing hooks, bag hooks, a storage compartment with net and a 12V socket. Handling’s crisp, ride satisfying. Although only front-wheel-drive its electronic stability and traction controls give it close to all-wheel-drive Quattro grip.
Ambience, quality, overall competence.
Not so good
Facing stiff competition from BMW, Mercedes and others.