Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI S Tronic (110KW) Review
Load Runner

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
22 Mar 2021
 

What I truly like about the A4 is that they have ensured that there is heaps of legroom at the rear, meaning that adult passengers would travel in comfort, making this quite an ideal car for longer journeys.

Ever felt that that the SUV has become a rather ubiquitous body shape? Well that is because more and more buyers have discovered the merits of added utility, and the allure of a sporty-inspired lifestyle is quite appealing too.

While the SUV has almost claimed market dominance over the ubiquitous sedan, and in itself has become just as ubiquitous; an estate car to me, easily stands out from all that noise. The Audi A4 Avant is just one of two wagons offered by the German luxury marque, with the other being its larger sibling, the A6 Avant.

The argument that an SUV is the way to go when it comes to finding yourself a versatile ride is moot, when you begin to realise that handling is often compromised just for the sake of a go-anywhere-inspired look. I should also go further to say that despite the improvements in handling, with each new generation of SUV a car manufacturer might put out, physics is still king; with a taller vehicle tending to roll more around the bends, while it also would require more effort to stop... and there is also the issue of added weight. For instance the A4 Avant is 275kg lighter than the Q5 SUV (though the latter’s quattro drivetrain does play a huge part in the difference in weight).

For one, I think that Audi has traditionally done quite an excellent job of building a good estate vehicle. In-fact, they like their estates so much, they routinely go on to develop high-performing RS-badged variants of them; in the A4 Avant’s case, the smart-looking RS4 Avant

A mid-life revamp sees a slight taming of the A4 Avant’s door panels, while headlamps have been heavily revised with new signature 5-line contoured DRLs (the A5 sister car gets a thicker 4-line design instead). The tail lights mirror those in-front with matching vertical light bars.

The brush metal roof rails are a tasteful, functional touch to the Avant’s design; and being a wagon, they are more practical than those found on an SUV, since they are easier to gain access to.

Inside

While the exterior has been given a working on, most of the A4’s interior remains the same. There is a certain attention to quality with Audi interiors, and the A4’s is no exception. 

What is new though is the Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus, which is fronted by a 12.3” screen for the driver, and can be set with three different themes; and an all new 10.1” infotainment touchscreen, that replaces the previous 7” screen which had that rather large bezel. The touchpad that was used to navigate the previous infotainment system is gone, and the spot where it used to be is now a storage container. Strangely, the S4 and RS4 models have a lid for this, while both the vanilla A4 and A4 Avant cars are wide open.

With its revised infotainment, Audi has ditched the NVIDIA-based operating system, in-favour an in-house developed one, known as the MIB3; which Audi claims is ten-times quicker in delivering the goods. One of the main features that the infotainment boasts is its ability to pick up hand scribbles rather quickly and easily; and SAT NAV search results, true to Audi’s claim, also appear noticeably quicker.

What I truly like about the A4 is that they have ensured that there is heaps of legroom at the rear, meaning that adult passengers would travel in comfort, making this quite an ideal car for longer journeys.

The A4 Avant boasts 495 litres of boot space, and sports an electric retractable luggage compartment cover that rolls upwards to make loading just that much easier, and returns to cover your precious cargo once you close the electric boot lid. With the rear 40:20:40 seats folded, the estate car offers owners an additional 1,000 litres of loading space. Adding on to its versatile nature, the Avant also comes with a cargo net to prevent your groceries from moving, and a nifty luggage rail system for improved organisation of cargo.

The Volvo V60, which sits in the same playpen as the German estate car boasts 529 litres, and has an innovative fold-up divider to help split and organise your load. Though the cargo cover is neat, it is a manual affair, which in my experience is something you’d forget to lower when you return to the driver’s seat. What’s more, the maximum cargo hauling capacity with the rear seats folded, stands at 1,441 litres, hinting at lesser rear passenger room when compared to the Audi.

The Drive

In Singapore, we only get one variant of the A4 Avant, which is the lower-powered 150hp, 270Nm model. Audi has retained the 2.0 turbocharged B-Cycle engine, together with its 7-speed S Tronic transmission, but has added a 12V MHEV system to the mix. 

The 12V mild-hybrid system here does not drive the car, but instead, powers the electricals, like the air-conditioning, and essentials like its power steering and brake system when coasting (where the transmission dis-engages), and the engine is also capable of shutting off, which in-turn further reduces fuel usage. Audi claims 15.6km/l with the new MHEV setup, and we managed about 14.2km/l.

In my opinion, the MHEV system in the A4 Avant would do its best work if we had stretched out highways with lesser traffic, but with the stop and go nature of our roads here, any additional fuel savings are rather insignificant. 

Even with the lower power rating, the A4 Avant does a decent job in delivering its drive, since maximum torque is available from 1,350rpm, and those keen on performance numbers, the Avant crosses 100km/h in easily under 10 seconds.

Perhaps one of the non-upgrades I am quite appreciative of are the 17” rims, and 225/50 that the A4 sits on, which provides some decent sidewall for added comfort. Sure you could opt for a 18” or even 19” upgrade, but you would be sacrificing ride comfort in favour of showboating.

The Avant offers a balanced ride, quite similar to its sedan sibling, though around the bends, if taken more enthusiastically, it does feel a little more weighted at the rear. Overall the estate car feels composed, and delivers a comfortable ride.

Driven without a lead foot, and knowing when to lift off, the A4 Avant would do well in the fuel economy game, especially if you are one to regularly travel North (sans closed borders) where longer stretches of tarmac play into the car’s advantage.

Our Thoughts

Milder in styling, the facelifted A4 Avant now sports an improved infotainment system, while its drivetrain delivers refinement that is quite difficult to beat.

While many here may not be too keen on an estate, there are those who will enjoy its advantages versus a taller SUV. Now allow me to add another then, you’d be less likely to bump the top of that rear door against some low hanging beams in certain carparks.

In Summary

We Like

Refined drive. Attractive styling. New MIB3 user infotainment interface is a vast improvement and so is the larger screen.

We Don't

Could use a little more grunt.

Verdict

The A4 Avant makes a good alternative to the ubiquitous SUV, and it certainly handles better too.

Car Loan Calculator - Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI S

SGD 192,540 (7 Jan 2021)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11.7:1
Bore x Stroke (82.5 x 92.8)mm
Power 150bhp @ 3900rpm
Torque 270Nm @ 1350rpm
Power to Weight 100 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 9.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.9 km/L
Drag Coefficient 0.280

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed S Tronic
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Wagon
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4762 x 1847 x 1460) mm
Wheelbase 2820 mm
Kerb Weight 1500 kg
Boot Capacity 495 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1495 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 54 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs