By Mike Torpey on 2016-04-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Audi A4 Avant loaded
PUTTING on the style is something that Audi fans will know comes naturally to the German brand.
Making an estate car look more supermodel than load lugger is all part of an exercise that saw the prestige company last year record its best ever worldwide sale of 1,803,250 vehicles.
But then the Avant - or estate - bodystyle was used as the model of choice for Audi's red-hot performance model the RS 4.
And while sharp design is very much de rigeur with the latest Audi A4 Avant it's certainly not a case of style over substance.
There's a shedload of techno treats, comprehensive standard kit plus everything you need to stay connected to the outside world.
The final frontier with estate cars though is space - and in that universe there are no black holes - just a load area of 505 litres, which is more than that offered in comparative models from rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Fold down the seats and the capacity extends to 1,510 litres, with better head and shoulder room up front and more legroom than in its predecessor for those in the back.
As for the boot, well a load loading lip is a bonus and all Avant models also include a push-button powered tailgate.
Rear visibility is clearer than its A4 saloon stablemate and there are also automatic parking aids available.
Beneath the bonnet is a choice of 2.0 and 3.0-litre turbodiesel engines along with the newly introduced 1.4 TFSI petrol unit that marks the A4 range entry point.
We drove the 150ps 2.0-litre version in Sport trim, at Â£31,500 one of a dozen front-wheel drive ‘ultra' variants boasting a combined fuel figure of 70.6mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 104g/km.
Composed, agile and relaxing to drive, the Avant Sport is certainly not lacking in performance and is also acoustically well sealed and wind resistant.
It comes well equipped as standard too, with the likes of 17-inch alloys, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, Audi drive select, keyless go, a seven-inch MMI colour display and a new smartphone interface on every car.
Nonetheless, it's still easy to hike up the tab with tempting options like a driver assistance pack (Â£1,250), leather/Alcantara upholstery (Â£1,150) and Audi's virtual cockpit - used in the R8 supercar - with its 12.3-inch LCD display (Â£450).
Three trim grades of SE, Sport and S line make up the A4 Avant range and prices are from £27,300 for the 1.4 TFSI SE 150PS model with six-speed manual transmission.
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