Engines start with the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre petrol units, which offer adequate performance, although the 1.6 isn't ideal if you plan to carry a full load. The turbocharged 1.8T provides excellent acceleration, and the turbo diesel engines are superb too, especially the TDi 110. Smooth V6 power comes from the 2.4 litre model upwards - the 2.6-litre provides the refinement, while the 2.4 version has the acceleration.
Somewhere in between is the 2.5 TDI V6 diesel version. High-speed fun is provided by the 2.8 models, while the potent bi-turbo S4 quattro and RS4 quattro models are simply staggering.
The steering is light, there's little body roll, and grip is strong and confident, however while it's reassuring to drive the A4 Avant lacks the satisfying handling of the rear-wheel drive BMW 3-Series Touring. That said it is extremely comfortable and composed plus it will entertain most drivers. The quattro models with four wheel drive offer superb traction, and on the performance RS4 and S4 models it's certainly needed.