The Audi A4 Avant 40 TDI quattro at a glance
Lifted twice, the successor will come in 2022
The Audi A4 Avant is a classic salesman’s combination, a favorite in the fleet and, in the used car age, a valued means of transport for small families. The 4.76 meter long everyday hero is now available in the fifth generation – if you include the Audi 80 as a direct predecessor, there have been ten different models since 1972. The current Audi A4 type B9 (internal 8W) came on the market in 2015, was revised slightly for the first time in 2018 and more significantly in 2019. The successor (B10) has been announced for 2022.
Even though the most noticeable changes in the facelift were new lights, adapted front and rear aprons and a modified radiator grille, it is the technical innovations under the sheet metal that make the real difference. Among other things, the 40 TDI we drive increased from 140 kW / 190 to 150 kW / 204 PS with an unchanged 400 Newton meters of torque (combined fuel consumption: 4.9-4.5 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 128- 120 g / km². Since the facelift, the diesel has also been supported by modern 12-volt mild hybrid technology.
Recommended 40 TDI now as a 12-volt mild hybrid
The built-in belt starter generator allows the A4 Avant 40 TDI quattro (from 48,000 euros) to coast longer without a drive when the accelerator is released, enables longer start-stop phases and thus helps the driver to save fuel. Anyone who glides cautiously on the autobahn with the Ingolstadt-based driver will be rewarded with fuel consumption of a little more than five liters per 100 kilometers, and overall the test consumption driven quickly (according to the on-board computer) settled at 6.8 liters.
In the entire engine range, the 204 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder must be seen as a kind of compromise between dynamism and economy and is therefore a clear favorite. From our point of view, the 40 TDI is still the best fit for the Audi A4 Avant. The common-rail diesel has a steady power development, has hardly any weak start-up even from stopping phases and also remains acoustically in the background. 7.1 seconds pass from zero to 100 km / h, the top speed is reached with tires with optimized rolling resistance at 210 km / h. For a surcharge, the 40 TDI quattro can also go 236 km / h.
Undecided double coupler
Where the engine shines, the automatic transmission fails. The 7-speed S tronic double clutch reacts hesitantly to spontaneous gas commands, even shifts up too early in dynamic mode and tends to jerk unpleasant when maneuvering. In the meantime, the automatic robs the diesel of its existing temperament, which can only be avoided by switching to manual gear.
On the other hand, the optional comfort suspension with damper control (surcharge, depending on the equipment: 690 to 1,030 euros) deserves great praise, which carries the A4 Avant extremely grown-up even on bad roads. Even then, the electronically controlled shock absorbers are not overwhelmed, as it is once on a poisonous alpine pass. The all-wheel drive test car always remained neutral and responded very predictably to sudden steering maneuvers. The safe basic set-up is pleasing, as is the stable braking system.
High driving comfort, expensive extras
When looking into the interior, a major change is initially noticeable. The turn-push button in the center console has long been obsolete, and the Audi MMI Navigation Plus (2,245 euros, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) can only be operated by touch or, alternatively, by voice input. The crystal clear 10.1 inch display is a step forward compared to the pre-facelift technology, handling is largely carefree. Meager, on the other hand, the sound experience of the Audi Sound System (320 euros), which used to sound fuller.
The virtual cockpit display is also the measure of all things, but the display can only be changed if you pay another 600 euros extra. The pricing is then the biggest sticking point of the Audi A4 Avant. Because everything that is good and desirable costs a lot of money. This also applies to the very comfortable S line sports seats (in a package for 2,150 euros), the convenience key with electric luggage compartment lid (1,560 euros) or the large assistance package (2,410 euros). The digital helpers for safe journeys made many people aware of this with their precise working methods and only allowed themselves to make minor mistakes, such as incorrectly recognized speed limits.
Average space conditions
In terms of space, the Audi A4 Avant remains generous in the first row as usual, but unfortunately also, as expected, cramped in the second row. Four seat giants will hardly find their fun in the mid-range station wagon and other vehicles should also be used for large loading tasks. According to the data sheet, 495 liters fit in the trunk, although significantly less luggage can be stowed under the self-closing loading cover. If you fold down the rear seat, the A4 Avant can hold up to 1,510 liters. With the trailer coupling (990 euros), the 40 TDI quattro can also pull trailers weighing 2,000 kilograms.
Although the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class are newer, the current Audi A4 Avant will continue to meet them at eye level towards the end of its construction period and, in the case of the 40 TDI quattro, is particularly impressive with its powerful, economical and high-traction drive. The optional comfort suspension lives up to its name, only the 7-speed S tronic is sometimes annoying due to its indecision. In terms of equipment, you get what you pay for, which quickly drives the A4 into areas beyond 65,000 euros. (Text and image: Thomas Vogelhuber)