Audi A4 Avant S line review
Can the 2.0 TSI petrol Audi A4 Avant estate follow in the footsteps of the impressive diesel version?
The range-topping petrol Audi A4 Avant is quick, quiet and refined, but we question its relevance in a market dominated by diesel-powered models. The 3.0-litre TDI is more powerful, even faster and cheaper to run, while the forthcoming S4 should better satisfy buyers wanting style and substance in a practical estate car package.
Our first drive of the Audi A4 Avant proved that the load-lugger offered everything the saloon did in a bigger and more practical package. We tested the frugal TDI Ultra in mid-spec Sport trim, but what if you want a petrol-powered exec?
The line-up is carried over from the saloon, so there’s a pair of 2.0-litre TFSIs and a single 1.4, and it’s the most powerful 249bhp 2.0 S line we try here. Unsurprisingly, it feels very refined next to the diesel, with almost no noise on start-up.
It’s also quiet around town, and the slick auto gearbox makes for smooth low-speed progress. Pull out of a 30mph limit or down a motorway slip road, and response is instant. There’s little to no turbo lag, and the S tronic box changes down the gears with a simple prod of the throttle.
It’s lighter on its toes than the nose-heavy diesel, too, and feels nicely adjustable in corners. The steering is sharp and quattro all-wheel drive doesn’t hold the A4 back, either – making it playful in tighter bends.
But while the car is easily fast enough (0-62mph takes six seconds), the engine and exhaust are lacking in character. The turbocharged four-cylinder is muted under hard acceleration, and there’s none of the TT’s drama upon full-bore upshifts. Quiet and refined? Yes. Exciting? Not so much.
However, Audi is reserving that excitement for the all-new S4, due next year. It’ll trump our car’s 249bhp and 370Nm with a storming 3.0-litre turbo, which delivers 349bhp and 500Nm. It slashes the TFSI’s 0-62mph time by 1.3 seconds, too, while returning 38.2mpg.
If you can’t wait for that, the 3.0-litre diesel is just £1,920 more than this petrol, yet boasts an extra 20bhp and can return over 50mpg. It’s infinitely more flexible, thanks to the massive 600Nm of torque.
Inside, all A4s are, of course, luxurious and beautifully finished; and if you add the optional Virtual Cockpit, the compact exec will offer more flash tech than a £100,000 S8. Plus, there’s more space in the back than in a BMW 3 Series Touring.