Audi A4 Avant (2015 on)

3
reviewed by Andrew S on 24 November 2020
2
reviewed by Anonymous on 6 October 2018
2

3.0 Quattro Avant Sport (218) with tech pack

reviewed by DavidW842 on 30 August 2018
2
Overall rating
5
How it drives
4
Fuel economy
4
Tax/Insurance/Warranty costs
4
Cost of maintenance and repairs
4
Experience at the dealership
4
How practical it is
3
How you rate the manufacturer
5
Overall reliability

Could be great, but let down by the over-ambitious and under-developed infotainment system

After some 4000 miles, I’m still getting to grips with a new (B9) A4 3.0 TDI Avant (in Sport trim, so with the less-powerful 218 engine rather than the 272 available with the more brutal models). That’s plenty of power for overtaking; it just comes in with a smooth controlled rush rather than a kick in the backside. Advantage is that it comes with 17in wheels and the “comfort” rather than “sport” suspension – the firmer alternative is way too hard for my taste and would shake all the fillings out of your teeth.
As it is, the ride is brilliant. Fluent, controlled, very comfortable on long motorway and mixed-road driving, with very little wind or road noise, even on broken surfaces. Full marks for engine, comfort and dynamics, and at close to 50mpg so far, the real-world economy is better than expected as well.
There are some flaws:
On take-off, the gearbox has a slight – but noticeable and slightly disconcerting - hesitation before the power comes in. Foot on throttle – revs rise – nothing happens for a beat or two (just long enough to instinctively accelerate more) and then there’s a lurch as it takes off. Internet research suggests that it seems to be a common trait of VW/Audi cars and has been for some time; it’s about time they sorted it. No response from Audi on that one.
The car has the add-on “technology pack”, which gives you a bigger screen on the centre console and “virtual” instruments on a TV-style screen in front of you. It also puts a single slot CD/DVD player in the glove box, which is too far away to reach, so less than useful.
At first look the tech pack seems like a really good idea. You can re-size the main instruments (tacho & speedo) to give more screen space to show satnav map or other info in the middle. I love the ability to show the satnav screen in the driver’s binnacle independently of what’s shown on the central display, but the execution and ergonomics of the rest of the system are woeful and not at all intuitive. None of it seems integrated, and it feels as if Audi have taken a blunderbuss and fired the tech controls randomly about the cabin. I’ve even had to break the habits of a lifetime and read the manual! (Not that it’s easy to find anything useful in that). It doesn't handle playback of music or podcasts from any of out family's phones properly (iOS and Android) and although there’s lots of other connectivity (including a fairly useless app, an SD card reader and a 10GB “jukebox”), none of it is seamless and most of it is a bit clunky and fiddly.
Real downside of the tech pack is that the binnacle TV screen is VERY bright in the dark. You can’t change the colours (from white) and it can’t be dimmed far enough when on unlit roads, so it destroys my night vision completely. The main beam warning light seems to be part of the “virtual” bit of the instrument panel, so when you try to dim the instruments, the blue main beam warning disappears entirely – to the annoyance of oncoming drivers. The supplying dealer is having a think about that, but again, there’s no response at all so far…..
In summary, it’s a lovely place to sit; very comfortable to drive over long distances and the engine is quiet and creamy smooth. However, the experience is let down by the unprogressive take-off and the appallingly-badly thought out infotainment display. Don’t buy the expensive “tech pack”.

Follow-up on 30 Aug 2018:
After considerable effort and research by the supplying dealer (thank you, Leicester Audi...) the "lurch" on take-off has been markedly reduced (to the point where I would not notice it as a fault had I not been sensitised to it). As a bonus, acceleration from steady speed is also now smoother. It seems there is a little-publicised "fix" from Audi for the problem.
No such luck with the vagaries of the infotainment system though...

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5
reviewed by BigNig on 2 July 2018
2
reviewed by Jeremy 123 on 21 June 2018
4
reviewed by Michael Porter on 20 September 2016

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About this car

Price£33,545–£50,900
Road TaxAlternative fuel, D–H
MPG37.7–72.4 mpg
Real MPG75.6%

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