We drove the Audi A4 Avant Sport 2.0 TFSI 252 HP S Tronic Quattro: the delight of experiencing sportiness to perfection…

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Don’t we wish it all: a perfectly engineered and elegant car with silky smooth yet massive power, a delightfully fast and alert gearbox, steering with precision, hugging you behind the wheel like a thoroughbred Gran Turismo. A car where every meter you drive it is an automotive adventure of the highest order.

Well, such a car is this A4 Avant, engineered to perfection by the Audi men and women. A car, where we (almost) run out of superlatives to describe for you the unique experience of driving it.

Just read on…

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Superb styling

The latest edition of the Audi A4 looks “just right” for us, both inside and out. The proportions are ideally chosen, the well balanced lines and contours embody perfectly what this car wants to be, and this in a timelessly elegant fashion. The same good taste is found in the interior. The pearl effect Daytona Grey livery of our test car suited it very well.

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The contours and styling of the dashboard and instrument clusters, the shape and lettering of the knobs and handles, it is not only elegant, it is also totally ergonomic.

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The same can be said for the position behind the wheel: the Sport Line seats hug you ideally, give just the right amount of back and lateral support, the leather covered steering wheel fits like the proverbial glove. Everything is just within reach, and is the result of the painstaking attention to detail the interior designers have spent while shaping the latest edition of the A4.

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Remember, this car will be made by the millions during its lifespan, so it is only logical that the designers have gone to greatest lengths to make the result stand out. And certainly they did…

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Another example of fine design and excellent workmanship is the center console, where the gearshift lever sits just snugly in your hand, with the rotary knob surrounded by the selectors for the main infotainment functions just at your fingertips.

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The instrumentation is – noblesse oblige – digital, and the Audi pilot can choose between larger or smaller dials, with less or more information to be seen between these dials, right in your line of vision.

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You can see your chosen route in Google earth rendering, if you wish, and get all the driver information you would ever want to know right there. You can choose to have it on your big 7-inch touch screen or in the instrument cluster…

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Suffice to say here that the excellent audio system is designed together with the people of Bang und Olufsen, and further comment is superfluous, we would think. It has not less than 19 speakers, and a 755 watt 16 channel amplifier… The volume adapts to the driven speed and a revolutionary 3D “soundfeature” mode makes the audio experience truly unique.

Impressive power, and how stunningly it all unfolds…

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252 HP out of a two liter four-cylinder engine, and for every car enthusiast this means a screaming, loud engine with lots of revs, or a hissing turbo accompanied by a deep engine roar and big flames in the exhaust whenever one lifts the throttle under full acceleration. Well, gentlemen, forget the drama. This engine is docile, vibrationless, and quiet. And yet, it pulls, pulls, and pulls. In any situation, at any revs, helped by one of the smoothest and cleverly alert automatic gearboxes we have ever come across. Its impressive torque of 370 Nm is available across a very wide rev range, between 1600 and 4000 rpm.

You are the master of an endless, smooth stream of power, and you feel every second of your journey that it is always there to unleash it for you at the slightest pressure of your right foot. You can enhance all this even more by choosing the “dynamic” mode with the drive selector, but in everyday driving this is hardly necessary. We left it for most of our test in “auto” or even “comfort” mode.

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The gearbox changes are imperceptible, even under full power, and starting from standstill is super smooth. In the chosen “auto”, “comfort” or “efficiency” mode, the 7 speed DSG gearbox will even go in coasting mode whenever you lift the throttle when cruising. You can clearly see this happening on the dash with the engine revs dropping to 6-700 rpm and the gearbox indicator just showing “D” instead of “D6” or “D7”, the latter depending on the speed you are going and consequently the gear you are in.

Pressing the throttle only slightly will get you back to the chosen gear, and this is accompanied by a very slight “thump” and an almost imperceptible jolt. Aargh, dear Audi engineers, it almost nothing, but maybe there is some room for further development here, to totally iron also this out…

Having said this, it is the fact that everything about this drivetrain is so smoothly honed to perfection that one notices this, so we have to put everything in perspective here…

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The overall performance is nothing short of breathtaking, certainly when one feels that it is delivered completely effortlessly. 0 to 100 km/h is “done” in 5,8 seconds, and top speed is a whispering 250 km/h, electronically limited of course. Driving the car in “dynamic” mode will get you discover all the superb qualities of this car, but let it be said that this Audi is also extremely fast and responsive in all the other driving modes. The acceleration times through the gears are of course nothing short of breathtaking: just remember that spurting from 60-100 km/h through the gears costs 3.1 seconds, 80-120 km/h through the gears takes hardly longer, just 3,9 seconds. If you are entering the motorway and want to gather speed, it is good to know that this Audi will catapult you through the gears from 100 to 180 km/h in 13,2 seconds…

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Economy depends of course on your driving style. Pottering along will get you in the 6-7 liter range per 100 km, but using all the power will cost more. Our average fuel consumption of 7,9 liters/100 km is quite stunning, we think, given the performance… The manufacturer quotes 5,9 liter as average consumption, with CO2 emissions being 134 g/km.

Precision chassis and suspension, made for the true driver in (all of) us…

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Yes, we are running out of superlatives. How to describe the absolute accuracy of the steering, the feeling that you can hit a cigarette paper if you would wish so when taking any bend at high speed? The joy one has in just flicking the steering wheel a few inches to steer this Audi through fast corners, with hairpins taking barely half a turn on the steering wheel? How to describe the very sensitive feedback one experiences through the leather rim in your fingertips, despite the servo which makes the steering effort wonderfully light in all circumstances? Indeed, the electric steering servo is totally dynamic. It adapts not only the steering effort, but also the steering angle and ratio…

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How to describe the absolute nimbleness of the whole car, the way it stays flat when you are flicking it through a row of sharp bends, or when you are braking heavily?

There is indeed an immense joy to be had from the ease this car handles, and how it makes you this far better driver than you ever would think you would be. Just think to take a corner, and this Audi TFSI Quattro does it already for you, one could almost say it really reads your thoughts. It is delightful to feel how this Audi is almost an extension of yourselves…

The chassis and suspension of the A4 is indeed state of the art, and we just refer to what we have told about this in the presentation of the A4 range, on our other website http://www.autoprova.net. We just give you here the link to this report. Just klick here.

The overall size and weight of the A4 is of course contributing to this almost ideal compromise between agility and roominess, and this adds to the unique driving experience one enjoys with this top of the range Audi A4. Remember, this Audi runs on the MLB Evo platform.

The ACC or Adaptive Cruise Control system is of course also state of the art. Not only can one choose between 5 different distances, but the system takes also the road conditions into account, based on the map information. It will slow the car when you are approaching a sharp bend, for instance…

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Just a last word about the practical side of things. The boot space of this Avant version will satisfy most with a useful capacity of 505 liters, extended to 1.510 liters with the rear seat backrests fully flat. Our test car sported the usual driving aids, with even a 360-degree car surround vision and warning system for upcoming bikers, roller boarders, and sundry which might pass your car at the rear when you are slowly edging out backward of your driveway… As happens with your servant every day!

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Conclusion

A car which delivers tons of driving pleasure, and because it is made with such precision, ingenuity, engineering excellence and workmanship, together the superb quality of materials, it also gives you pleasure and pride of ownership.

It is a car to cherish, and keep. And if you decide to part from it, sell it to a friend, or to a family member, or someone you love. Because, as you then will know it, it is so good, and gives so much motoring happiness, that passing it on is a unique present indeed.

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But first of all, enjoy it fully yourself, every meter you drive it, in its very long motoring life, as it is timelessly styled and engineered to be your faithful, enjoyable and reliable companion for years to come…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

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