Refined drive, well built, lovely interior, plenty of space
Facelifted touchscreen infotainment is a downgrade, no hybrid option
What is it?
Audi’s smallest estate, and its heartland family car until all those crossovers came along and stole its thunder. The A4 Avant is Audi’s answer to the BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate and Volvo V60. It’s based on the VW Group's MLB platform.
Launched in 2015 but comprehensively updated in 2019, the estate – or ‘Avant’ – is the one you want because it’s miles more practical than the saloon and, we think, better looking. You want it over the Q5 SUV, too, because it’s cheaper, more compact but just as practical, more economical and better to drive. Just as all estates are versus the SUVs/crossovers everyone seems to buy instead.
If you absolutely can’t do without a slightly raised ride height, the A4 Allroad goes as far off road as you’ll probably ever need it to.
WHAT ENGINES ARE ON OFFER?
The engine range consists of two 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrols (badged 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI) and two diesels (badged 35 TDI and 40 TDI, the latter your only ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive variant). All get mild-hybrid tech, though there is no plug-in hybrid or full electric version yet.
From there on you’re into faster territory; the S4 getting a six-cylinder diesel (yup, diesel), while the RS4 (Audi’s estate-only answer to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63) uses a 2.9-litre biturbo V6 with 444bhp.
The ‘normal’ A4 Avants aren’t quite as good to drive as a 3 Series, but that’s by design. The A4 is supposed to be quieter, better quality and more refined. Sure enough it’s quiet, feels very well made and hums along a motorway very well indeed. Head to the driving tab for the full lowdown.
WHAT ABOUT THE INTERIOR?
There’s little to complain about in here, with the A4’s interior aesthetically pleasing, thoughtfully laid out, and offering plenty of space for front and rear passengers alike. Every A4 gets Audi’s excellent digital dashboard display in place of conventional analogue dials, configurable to show dials, sat nav, audio and suchlike.
As part of the model’s 2019 facelift, Audi ditched its excellent click-wheel infotainment system for one with a touchscreen. The interface is very good and the whole system is snappy and visually pleasing, but if we’re nitpicking it’s generally harder to use on the move than the click-wheel setup it replaced. Shame.
Still it’s plenty spacious, with generous rear legroom and a huge boot, 495 litres seats up and 1,495 litres seats down. That plays 500/1,510 litres seats up/down in the BMW 3 Series Touring, 490/1,510 litres in the Merc C-Class Estate, and 519/1,431 litres in the Volvo V60. Small margins.
HOW MUCH ARE WE LOOKING AT?
Prices start at just over £35k for the petrols and just shy of £38k for the diesels, which makes it slightly cheaper than those rivals mentioned at the top of this page. The S4 and RS4 are also somewhat pricier – £50k and £67.5k respectively.
Needless to say, it’s best to be cautions when it comes to options box ticking, which can quickly add up. Full details on the buying tab.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Easy on the eye, exemplifying German build quality and pleasing enough to drive, the Audi A4 Avant has plenty of appeal.
As people who enjoy driving our money would go on the BMW 3 Series Touring, but that’s no sleight on the A4 which remains as well-judged as the day it was launched and one which nails its brief completely.
It drives more ably than you might think, has a high-quality interior on point with its more expensive siblings and is plenty spacious.