Wagonistas, your chariot has arrived. After showing off the new-for-2009 A4 in Frankfurt, Audi has finally released the details about for its A4 Avant prior to its debut in Geneva next month.
The estate version of the A4 is nearly identical to the sedan from the B-pillar forward, but now features 50-cubic feet of cargo capacity out back. An optional power liftgate is available and the load floor is reversible if you happen to be toting a set of used wheels in the trunk and the mat is coated in brake dust. Overall, the Avant gains about five inches in length, but is almost ten-percent lighter than the outgoing model.
Although powerplant details are scarce, those of us in the States will be stuck with the 2.0-liter TFSI mill, while sedan buyers get a choice of either the four-cylinder or the 3.2-liter V6.
We'll have more from the show floor next month, but in the meantime, check the gallery below for a handful of high-res shots and make the jump for Audi's press release.
The new Audi A4 Avant:
Driving in a new dimension
- Attractive design, spacious and well thought-out luggage space
- Sporty technology layout and dynamic driving performance
- New generation of engines with higher performance and lower fuel consumption
The Audi A4 Avant is extending its lead. Based on the same technology layout as the sedan, the newly developed five-link front axle has been shifted farther forward. This ensures that the axle loads are perfectly distributed, thereby guaranteeing the highest precision and agility when it comes to handling. The Avant therefore also offers a new and fascinating driving experience similar to the one that led media experts to pronounce the sedan the best automobile in the midsize range.
Audi is launching the A4 Avant with five engine types to begin with: two gasoline engines and three diesel engines. These engines offer superior performance while reducing fuel consumption by more than 14 percent compared to the previous model – proof of Audi's successful efficiency strategy.
Audi's high technological competence is also expressed in the broadly diversified range of powertrains and in its numerous sport and comfort technologies – many of which originate directly from the premium class.
Attractive station wagons called Avant: the design
The design of the new Audi A4 Avant is as exciting and dynamic as one would expect from a brand as design-oriented as Audi. The headlights are staged like a technological work of art. The Avant comes with daytime running lights as a standard feature; the xenon plus headlights consist of 14 white light-emitting diodes.
Compared to the forerunner model, the proportions have been reconfigured in a new and even sportier design. The front overhang has been shortened, and the engine hood and the wheel base have gained considerably in length. The flat D-posts lend the Audi A4 Avant a dynamic, coupe-like silhouette, while the rear design emphasizes its width with powerful, horizontal lines. The new A4 Avant measures 4.70 meters (15.42 feet) in length, almost 12 centimeters (4.72 inches) longer than its forerunner model. Its body is considerably more rigid and safer in build than its predecessor, yet is around 10 percent lighter at the same time.
With up to 1,430 liters in volume (50.50 cubic feet), the latest addition to the Audi family has the largest luggage capacity in its competitive field; in its basic configuration it holds 490 liters (129 gallons). The 60/40 split-fold rear seats also come with the option of a load-through hatch with separate ski and snowboard bag. The A4 Avant's trunk is lined with fine carpet and features intelligent details as standard such as a reversible cargo floor and a convenient cargo cover that retracts at a touch. Audi also offers luxury features such as an electro-mechanical drive for the rear tailgate or tie-down eyelets for securing luggage.
Light and spacious: the interior
The ambience inside the new A4 Avant is light and spacious. The interior reflects Audi's strengths – the highest quality of workmanship, sophisticated looks, and logical, intuitive operation. The cockpit is driver-oriented; it borrows many features from the larger A8. Thanks to the new electro-mechanical parking brake, the manual parking brake was no longer necessary.
Even the standard climate control system has been completely redesigned. It supplies ten percent more cooling capacity, yet operates more efficiently than the previous system, thus saving about 0.2 liters of fuel per 100 km.
When it comes to safety, Audi has raised the bar, for example, with its combination of adaptive airbags, belt tensioners with variable belt force limiters and seat position sensors on the front seats. With this system, the force of the airbag deployment and belt tension level are selectively controlled depending on the seat position and the accident severity. In case of a rear-end collision, the backs of the front seats and the head rests support the upper body. This system is called Audi backguard and has received special praise during independent tests.
The engines: more performance, less fuel consumption
The new Audi A4 Avant will be launched on the market with two powerful gasoline engines and two diesel engines, thus covering a range of 105 kW (143 hp) to 195 kW (265 hp). The 2.0 TDI generating 125 kW (170 hp) will be added later to round out the range. All the engines have FSI and TDI direct fuel injection technology and the three four-cylinder engines reach high torques thanks to turbocharger technology. On average, the engine performance in this model series has increased by almost eight percent. At the same time, fuel consumption in the gasoline engines has dropped by almost 12 percent, and the TDI engines by almost nine percent.
The new 3.2 FSI is the most powerful engine that comes with the new A4 Avant. It has an output of 195 kW (265 hp) and reaches 330 Nm (243.40 lb-ft) of torque between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm. Enhancements to the V6 include considerably lower inner friction and a valve actuation system called the Audi Valvelift System, which varies the stroke of the intake valves.
The 3.2 FSI delivers sport-driven performance in any situation. It powers the A4 Avant from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 6.4 seconds and on up to a top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph). At the same time, fuel consumption has dropped by 1.5 liters (0.40 gallons) compared to its predecessor.
The 1.8 TFSI, too, is a highly efficient engine. The compact and light four-cylinder unit has an output of 118 kW (160 hp) and reaches 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm. Direct gasoline injection and turbocharging create the ideal combination in this model. The 1.8 liter engine responds spontaneously and provides a highly refined driving experience. It powers the car from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 8.9 seconds and on up to a top speed of 218 km/h (135.46 mph).
The 3.0 TDI engine in the Audi A4 Avant comes across as a widely new engine, particularly when it comes to the fuel injection system and the turbo. This three liter diesel unit, which is firmly coupled to the manual transmission, has an output of 176 kW (240 hp) and reaches a torque of 500 Nm (368.78 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 3,000 rpm. Its performance figures – from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 6.3 seconds, a top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) – demonstrate this engine's dynamic character.
The 2.0 TDI has a new common rail fuel injection system that guarantees refined running; other innovations include the turbo and the piston geometry. Audi offers the two liter diesel engine in two versions: one developing 105 kW (143 hp) and 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque and the other generating 125 kW (170 hp) and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque. Both ensure powerful propulsion – the basic TDI accelerates the A4 Avant to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 9.7 seconds and facilitates a top speed of 208 km/h (129.25 mph). The more powerful of the two accelerates the Avant to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 8.6 seconds and on up to a top speed of 222 km/h (139.19 mph).
When it comes to power transmissions, customers can choose from a broad range of high-tech components. Six-speed manual and tiptronic transmissions (optional for the 3.2 FSI) transfer the engine's torque. For the 1.8 TFSI unit and the 2.0 TDI engine generating 105 kW (143 hp), the continuously variable multitronic transmission is also an option.
The 3.2 FSI and the 3.0 TDI come equipped with quattro permanent all-wheel drive as a standard feature. It distributes the forces under normal driving conditions at a ratio of 40 : 60 between the front and rear axle – a configuration that perfectly harmonizes the overall dynamic character of the new A4 Avant. If needed, the Torsen differential transfers the majority of the torque to the axle with the better traction.
In the driveline of the new A4 Avant, the differential has moved directly behind the engine. It has switched places with the clutch or the torque converter.
It was therefore possible to move the front axle 154 millimeters (6.06 inches) forward. This solution provides for a longer wheel base and for the perfect distribution of the axle loads, thus improving both handling and ride comfort equally.
Redesigned from top to bottom: the dynamic suspension
The dynamic suspension of the new Audi A4 was redesigned from top to bottom. The pivot bearing and the five links of the front axle are also made of aluminum, just like the beam, which makes the front end of the body more rigid. The steering box is located far to the front and deep down to enable the steering impulse to go directly to the wheels via the tie-rods. The highly efficient servo pump in the sensitive rack-and-pinion steering improves fuel consumption by about 0.1 liter/100 km.
In the rear axle, Audi applied the track-controlled trapezoidal link principle from the larger A6 and A8 series. The suspension is made largely of aluminum; the separate layout of the springs and shock absorbers guarantees sensitive responsiveness. The new A4 Avant will roll off the production line on 16 inch and 17 inch alloy wheels, behind which are located powerful brakes. The electronic stabilization program (ESP) can be partially switched off when driving under 70 km/h (43.50 mph).
A package of innovative technology makes the driving experience even more dynamic and exciting. The optional Audi drive select control system accesses various technology components, depending on which upgrade the customer has selected. In the basic version, it influences the engine's gas intake, the tiptronic shifting points, the multitronic and the power steering as well as the steering angle of the steering wheel. By pressing a button, the driver determines whether these components should work in a comfortable, average or sporty mode. If the car is equipped with the MMI operating system, a fourth, individually programmable mode is available.
Audi drive select requires at least one of the following two high-end components. One is an adaptive controller for the shock absorbers which is connected to a sports suspension and lowers the body by about 20 millimeters (0.79 inches).
The second component is the Audi dynamic steering that operates with a superposition gear. It varies the steering ratio continuously by almost 100 percent depending on the speed driven. In the limit range, it stabilizes the new A4 Avant thanks to its lightning-fast steering interventions. The system is also extremely useful when understeering occurs.
Even greater supremacy: assistance systems
Audi equips the new Avant, upon request, with a complete range of high-tech systems that make driving an even more supreme and relaxed experience. These include the Audi parking system (a parking aid; standard for the A4 Avant Ambiente), Audi lane assist (the lane departure warning system) and Audi side assist (which warns of hazards when changing lane). Adaptive cruise control maintains the distance to the vehicle in front.
Even when it comes to multimedia, the Audi A4 Avant sets new standards. The Audi Music Interface (AMI) allows iPods to be connected. The navigation systems with MMI Basic plus or with DVD including MMI are also further upgrade options. They permit the integration of cell phones as Bluetooth car phones and are combined with the competition-beating MMI operating system. The top of the line when it comes to hi-fi enjoyment is the car's sound system from the leading Danish company Bang & Olufsen: A powerful 505 watt, ten-channel amplifier controls 14 speakers.
The new Audi A4 Avant will roll off the production line in the Attraction, Ambition, and Ambiente equipment lines. The dynamic S line offers the options of an exterior package and a sports package. The broad range of options includes luxury-class features such as air-conditioned comfort seats, the triple-zone climate control system, the advanced key which allows keyless access to the vehicle and vehicle start-up at the press of a button, and the dynamic cornering light system known as adaptive light. The large panoramic glass sunroof lights up the elegant interior. A new headlight assistant will be an additional feature in the future.
The A4 Avant will be available for sale in the spring in Germany and other European markets. The basic price of the Audi A4 Avant 1.8 TFSI Attraction model with an output of 88 kW (120 hp) will be €27,550 and it will be available in the fall.