The range is kicked-off by a 120bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It's willing and quick off the line, although it can feel a little lacklustre at higher revs. There is a more powerful version with 160bhp available which feels more sprightly. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds - around two seconds quicker than the 120bhp model - yet average fuel economy remains unchanged at 39mpg.
The 211bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre packs more punch and gives the A4 Avant seriously nippy pace with 0-62mph taking 6.9 seconds (6.6 seconds in quattro models), while the 265bhp 3.2-litre FSI fits the bill for those looking for a smooth, great sounding petrol, although it only returns 31mpg. There's a good choice in terms of diesel power. The well proven 2.0 TDI is strong and economical plus with three different power outputs on offer - 120bhp, 143bhp and 170bhp - most buyers are catered for.
It's surprisingly refined and very quiet, whether at speed or under heavy acceleration. It also has a surprising turn of speed - even the 120bhp version gets to 62mph in 11.2 seconds and pulls very strongly in gear. It's economical too and capable of 55mpg. The 190bhp 2.7 TDI comes with an automatic gearbox as standard and is smooth on the move, while the range-topping diesel, the 240bhp 3.0 TDI gets from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 155mph.
On the road, the A4 Avant is never anything but composed. It corners confidently with little bodyroll and has good steering and brakes. On the motorway it cruises sweetly and - thanks to turbocharged engines - has plenty of punch for overtaking. The Audi is good around town too as it's easy to park and never feels like a handful. Top models get Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system which gives greater grip in wet and slippery conditions and better traction in the dry.
Keener drivers might want to specify ‘Servotronic’ power steering for better feel and feedback, especially at higher speeds, while many buyers will find the option of a ‘hill hold’ function (the brake remains on for two seconds on a hill after you’ve taken your foot off the brake pedal) useful.