Audi A4 Avant estate - Engines, drive & performance
Although it prioritises comfort over sporty handling, the Audi A4 Avant is still good to drive
The Audi A4 Avant very much prioritises refinement and comfort over a sporty drive, so driving enthusiasts are likely to be tempted by the BMW 3 Series Touring. That’s not to say the A4 is bad to drive, however, as the steering is accurate, even though it lacks feedback. Body lean in corners is well controlled, too, despite the comfortable suspension. In this respect, it’s well worth forking out extra for the optional adaptive dampers, which allow you to set up the suspension for the road ahead. You can make them stiffer if you want better high-speed cornering, or softer if you’re after a more comfortable ride. The comfortable ride is slightly diminished if you go for a model with larger wheels, though.
Under the bonnet, the engines are all very good; providing decent power, excellent efficiency and impressive refinement. Audi is confident the diesel A4 Avant will be much more popular than the petrol, but if you don’t do many miles a year, the latter is worth a look. It’s the high-performance diesel S4 and petrol RS4 that are the most dynamically engaging and quickest models in the range right now, although the S4 isn’t quite as much fun as rivals like the BMW M340i or the Mercedes-AMG C 43.
You’ll no longer be able to choose a manual gearbox; the range is automatic-only as of 2022. Before that, the 2.0-litre 35 TFSI petrol was the only one with a manual gearbox option. Economy and emissions are closely matched whichever you choose and they’re both smooth and well matched to the engines on offer. The S tronic automatic gearbox has seven ratios and can be quite jerky when you accelerate quickly and it changes down a gear in response.
Audi A4 Avant diesel engines
There are two 2.0-litre diesel engines available, making 161 or 201bhp and badged 35 and 40 TDI respectively. A 134bhp version (the 30 TDI) previously provided the entry point to the diesel range. All three come with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox, and should provide sufficient power for most drivers as well as strong fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
With only 134bhp, the 30 TDI was the slowest model in the A4 Avant range, managing 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 131mph.
The mid-range 35 TDI produces 161bhp and is our pick of range, as it feels barely slower than the more powerful version in everyday driving. It’s also well suited to the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, managing 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s also smooth, refined and quiet on the move, making long motorway journeys easy.
Every 40 TDI A4 Avant is fitted with quattro four-wheel drive, with the more powerful 201bhp diesel engine managing 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds.
Despite the propensity for buyers in this class to go for a diesel, petrol engines have advanced so much in recent years that you shouldn’t necessarily dismiss them out of hand.
The petrol range encompasses a 2.0-litre with a choice of two power outputs. The entry-level 35 TFSI petrol engine was available with a six-speed manual and these versions are capable of 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, with the seven-speed automatic gearbox raising the time to 9.2 seconds.
Both of the more powerful petrol engines are equipped with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The mid-range 201bhp 40 TFSI is only available with front-wheel drive and gets from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.
The most powerful 261bhp 45 TFSI engine is only available with quattro four-wheel drive, and is capable of 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Like the entry-level diesel, this was discontinued when Audi recently slimmed-down the engine range.