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Car group tests

9. Audi A4 Avant

Audi A4 Avant rear tracking

A facelift late in 2011 brought the Audi A4 Avant back into contention with the best compact executive estates on the market. There was never anything wrong with the car’s image, or indeed its boot size, with the 490-litre load area offering a maximum of 1,430 litres. The boot lip is low, for easy loading, plus an electric tailgate is now an option, although unlike the BMW 3 Series Touring, there’s no handy split with the glass.

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S, SE and S line models all have climate and cruise control and electric windows all-round. The interior is beautifully laid out and finished, too, while alloy wheels finish off the stylish exterior design. Parking sensors will help drivers cope with the large dimensions, although S line models have a firm ride.

Audi has really caught up with BMW in terms of efficiency, with stop-start on all models. The four-cylinder petrol engines aren’t bad options, but most buyers will go for a diesel. There are 1.8-litre, 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre TDI options, with the most economical 2.0 TDIe promising excellent 64.2mpgfuel consumption and 115g/km emissions.

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