By Mike Torpey on 2018-12-23 - 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 2.0
TFSI S line S tronic
STYLE over substance is not something even the fiercest critic could level at Audi.
With impeccable engineering, superb refinement and up to the minute technology, the premium features are all there in the brand's vehicles to match the smart suit of clothes.
And for buyers of the A4 Avant, that estate car style looks sweeter than the saloon.
But then the Avant bodystyle was originally used as the model of choice for Audi's red-hot performance model the RS 4.
It's true the obsession with SUVs now has the buying market in a vice-like grip, but there will always be a prominent place for an estate car - especially one that looks more supermodel than load lugger.
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 premium rivals.
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 plus a raft of advanced new assistance systems.
Sharing the same underpinnings as the acclaimed saloon, the A4 Avant offers a choice of powerful petrol and diesel engines, in SE, Sport, S line and Black Edition trim grades.
Our version in high spec S line trim featured the higher powered 252ps variant of Audi's 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine with S tronic dual clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddles for manual shifts and quattro all-wheel drive.
Composed and relaxing to drive, the Avant offers plenty of performance while also acoustically well sealed and wind resistant.
And while its official Combined fuel consumption figure is 42.8 miles per gallon, we were well satisfied with the 37.7mpg return from our 400 miles of varied urban and motorway journeys.
Inside, there is that trademark Audi minimalist layout with lots of brushed alloy around the dash, door panels and gearshift.
In place of the deep central container you find in many cars there's a much shallower stowage area incorporating a mobile phone charging tray, but also door bins, glovebox, coin slots and a pair of cupholders up front.
The leather/cloth seats are supportive and comfortable while the rear allows ample legroom for tall passengers.
In fact only a centre rear traveller is compromised in any way due to the perched seating position and the need to have legs either side of the transmission tunnel.
Of course extra cost options can really hike up what's already a tasty price - for instance you pay Â£1,200 for a set of 19-inch ‘5-V spoke' design alloy wheels in matt titanium, Â£1,350 for an Options Parking Assistance Pack and Â£645 for Matador red metallic paint.
: 3yrs/60,000 miles
Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TFSI S line S tronic quattro
Mechanical: 252ps, 1,984cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via S tronic auto gearbox
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 6.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 42.8
Insurance Group: 150g/km
C02 emissions: 31%
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