Audi’s A4 has been a thriving and thrilling sport sedan entry for over 20 years. But there is another A4 that gets less attention yet is even more attuned to the always fluid American lifestyle. That’s Audi’s smallest sport sedan, the A4 Avant. Now in the Avant practical and performance were designed to co-exist from the get-go. So, let’s have a go and see if it really has both zoom and room.

Audi fans, whose family car needs demand a dose of versatility, will no doubt appreciate this station wagon variant of the all-new A4.  The 2009 A4 Avant will only make up about 10 percent of A4 sales in the US, but that 10 percent knows how to have their sporty flavor with room to go.

Longer and wider, the new Avant rides on a wheelbase extended by 6.6 inches for even greater interior space and ride comfort.  As with the A4 sedan, the compact Avant exudes a more aggressive design language.  Its dynamic Audi front-end wears headlamps with eye-catching LED lighting, borrowed from the R8 supercar.

Our A4 Avant’s ground hugging profile gained a bit extra visual height thanks to standard roof rails, all finished off with a stylish rear hatch treatment, complete with spoiler and bright exhaust tips.

While the A4 sedan offers a V6 option, Avants will arrive here with their new 2.0-liter direct injected turbo-charged I4. It boasts 211 horsepower and a robust 258 pound-feet of torque.  It mates to a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic with manual mode, and rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive.  A new option for the A4 is Audi Drive Select. It coordinates engine mapping, shift points, steering, and suspension damping through driver selected modes.

Put to the test, our sporty wagon darted from 0 to 60 in a fast 6.2 seconds, and clocked the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.  With gobs of torque, the Avant takes off in a hurry, with fine power throughout the rev band.  Gearing is well-spaced, with crisp shifts.

The Avant’s excellent ride and handling are the function of new, lighter, multi-link front and rear aluminum intensive suspensions.  Electronic Stability Program is naturally standard.

Even with its longer wheelbase, the Avant handles like a smaller car.  It has excellent balance and grants a solid, fun-to-drive feel. The grippy tires also keep it from sliding around. With virtually no body roll, the Avant charges through our cones flatly with steering response that was quick and direct. 

Braking is also direct with oversized all-disc with ABS. Stops were firm and near fade-free, averaging a fine 128 feet from 60 to 0. Overall, the A4 Avant is a very impressive sport wagon.

Within, Audi has also sharpened A4 styling while expanding amenities.  The cabin has more leg-, knee-, head-, and shoulder-room than before.

The elegant dash is accented in chrome and headlined by a large central display. Finely-drawn gauges and sophisticated controls complete the execution.

The standard leather front bucket seats are well-bolstered with heat and memory available as part of the Premium Package.  That package also includes three-zone climate control and Bluetooth.  The standard Audi-concert stereo can be upgraded to a 14-speaker 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.  Above, there’s an open-sky panoramic roof with sunshade.

Occupant safety is delivered by six standard airbags, plus extras like a radar guided lane change assist.

We found the rear seat provides excellent room for two, and adequate for three.  It includes a center console and 60/40 split folding backs.

Cargo room, however, is down slightly from the previous Avant due to the rake of the D-pillar.  Still, it’s large enough for family luggage and more, opening up to 50.5 cubic feet with all seats down.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the A4 Avant are 21 city/27 highway on premium gas.  We achieved a fine 24.7 miles-per-gallon in real-world driving.

The Avant has a moderate Energy Impact Score of 14.9 barrels consumed per year, and a Carbon Footprint of 8.0 Annual tons of CO2.

This is a premium wagon and it’s priced accordingly. Base price for the Avant is $35,325 and the sky is the limit from there. It’s also competitive with a Volvo V50 T5. 

The 2009 Audi A4 Avant is even more of a driver’s estate than its predecessor.  But along with its elevated performance, it also loads up on its household credentials.  The result is a perfectly-packaged lifestyle-driven sport wagon that will cater to family-bred enthusiasts better than ever.



  • Engine: 2.0-Liter Direct Injected Turbo-charged I4
  • Horsepower: 211
  • Torque: 258 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.2 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 Seconds @ 91 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 128 Feet
  • EPA: 21 MPG City/ 27 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 24.7 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 14.9 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.0 Tons/Yr