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Audi A4 Avant (1995 - 2001)

AVANT-GARDE DUTY (some text hidden)

BY ANDY ENRIGHT

Introductionword count: 89

In certain respects the Avant estate versions of Audi's A4 have been more significant than the conventional saloon versions upon which they were based. Part of the reason for this is that the BMW 3 Series Touring estates have always been greeted with mild distrust here in the UK whereas small Audi estates have long been extremely popular. What's more, Audi responded by giving the Avant additional prestige by launching the range-topping RS4 model solely in this bodystyle, following a trend established by the Porsche-developed Audi RS2 super estate.

Modelsword count: 27

Models Covered: 1.6, 1.8, 1.8 TURBO, 1.9 TURBO DIESEL (90BHP, 110 BHP, 115BHP ENGINE), 2.4 , 2.5 TURBO DIESEL, 2.6, 2.8, S4 AVANT QUATTRO, RS4 AVANT QUATTRO

Historyword count: 288

The A4 Avant range was launched a year after its saloon counterpart back in March 1996 to replace the 80 and 90-series cars. This marked an enormous step forward in terms of both quality and design complexity for Audi and the company managed to catch main rivals BMW and Mercedes on the hop. With a range consisting of 1.6, 1.8, 1.8 turbo, 2.6 and 2.8 petrol models as well as 90bhp and 110bhp TDI diesels, there was a decent selection available. Then you have the choice of front-wheel-drive or quattro four-wheel-drive transmissions. Changes for 1997 included aluminium trim strips framing the side windows (on six-cylinder front wheel drive models), an aspherical driver's door mirror, colour-keyed door mirror housings and door handles, a modified rear light cluster and a new-style door sill trim strip. The so-called '1998' models arrived in September 1997 and changes centred mainly on equipment upgrades and one new engine. All A4s now came with alloy wheels and the 30-valve A4 2.4 replaced the old A4 2.6. The performance S4 Avant was launched at the end of 1998. Early 1999 saw the introduction of second generation A4 Avant models - though it was hard to tell the difference. Minor visual changes included a slightly more prominent front grille, revised tail light clusters and a new interior which provided space for the optional satellite navigation system. A new roof-mounted airbag was introduced, as was an automatic stability control system. The ultra high performance RS4 Avant quattro model made its debut in summer 2000 and lasted for little more than a year before being phased out. Although winter 2000 saw the saloon A4s replaced by an all-new version, the Avants soldiered on, finally being superseded in autumn 2001.

What You Getword count: 136

An advanced front or four-wheel drive chassis; elegant, well-proportioned looks, superb build-quality and, so far, good reliability. The diesels are remarkably economical, the petrol 1.6s a bit on the slow side and the 1.8 turbos understated motorway flyers. These cars are an intelligent buy as well as a desirable one. Equipment levels are relatively high (for a German vehicle at least) and you'll find that most cars have the superior SE spec. An A4 can be optioned even further though, so don't be surprised to find air-conditioning, leather trim, remote central locking and rear electric windows in many cars. Don't expect Volvo-sized lugging ability, but having said that, the Avants are a step above cars like the Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon when it comes to hauling the goods and their loading bay is a decent shape.

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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

Performance
50%
Handling
50%
Comfort
50%
Space
60%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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