Motoring

Driving the all-new Audi A4 Avant, A4 Sedan and A4 Allroad – the car to make you want to up your game

There’s something really special about slipping your foot in the door and sliding you bum into the seat of a premium luxury car – an Audi is one such vehicle and perhaps desperately underrated in Australia.

BMW sell a bit over 12,000 cars in Australia each year, Mercedes over 14,000. Audi punch well with over 7,000 but it should be so many more.

And the All-New Audi A4 is a top example of that.

In 2020 the A4 starts at under $60k. $59,900 in fact, however while that’s a cracking car, it lacks Audi’s “Assistance Plus” package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane assistance, Audi Pre-Sense and a host of other great in-car and safety features. That should all be standard frankly, in a luxury car – but to get that price down, I guess it’s a compromise you’d have to make.

The A4 is an important vehicle for Audi, over 75,000 of them have been sold in the last 25 years, and while SUVs now make up 57% of all Audi sales, that other 43% are very important.

Across the A4 and A5 range, the A5 Sportback makes up 40% of the model sales – the A4 Sedan next with 32%, The wagons (Allroad and Avant) 15% and the Coupe and Cabriolet 13% of A4/A5 sales.

Last week I drove seven different models in the A4/A5 range, and it was a hoot.

Let me run you through them not in the order I drove them, but by price.

Audi A4 Sedan – 35TFSI S line – $61,431

As driven, this car is the base model with just a lick of $1,531 metallic paint.

I had this car for an hour long freeway drive, and while there’s no adaptive cruise – there is cruise control, as well as Autonomous Emergency Braking, rear cross traffic assist, automatic lights and rain sensor – so it’s not short on tech.

This is the car everyone who owns a sub $60k BMW or Mercedes, or a high trim Mazda or Toyota needs to test drive – it gives you that sense of Audi, the feeling of the drive, and a confirmation of their true luxury interior.

Despite being 73kW of power down on the 45 TFSI big brother, there’s not a serious lack of power here, it’s just how you use it.

For a city slicker, executive family car, honestly the 35TFSI is really all you need.

Audi A4 Sedan – 35 TFSI S tronic S line – $64,331

This is the way you’d option your first Audi A4. A great introduction to the brand, a car you’ll enjoy for the 3-4 years of the lease.

The $2,900 Assistance Plus Package optioned over and above the basic A4 above offers all the things that you should expect from an Audi, like that Adaptive cruise, and higher end tech and safety – like 360 degree cameras, parking assistance and high beam assistance.

On the road though, it’s the same smooth and comfortable drive that I really can’t imagine wouldn’t please everyone new to the Audi brand, or anyone upgrading to a 2020 A4.

Audi A4 Allroad 40 TDI quattro – $75,681

I didn’t get a chance to drive the petrol equivalent, but I’m not disappointed by that. Frankly, on the winding national park roads I drove this on, I didn’t even notice it was a Diesel, and that’s the real stamp of approval on an engine like this.

I utterly love the looks of this allroad, and having followed an older model allroad for some of the journey by chance – the looks of this 2020 generation are the standout feature. The vertical front grill gives it an aggressive stance and a great on-road appeal.

This is the family car I’d own – space in the back for the sports gear, but all things A4 up front.

Audi A4 Avant 45 TFSI quattro S line – $78,701

Perhaps a more refined city look, the standard Avant kicks off at $71,400 but with some extras including that Assistance Plus pack, it comes much closer to $80k.

With that 45 TFSI under the hood, but room out back for all the gear for a family road-trip this has executive looks, and a great ride and handling.

0-100 in 6 seconds, drinking 7.3 litres per 100km of driving, this is a car to slip into Dynamic mode on the weekends for a bit of extra punch and a tighter feel on the wheel.

I was able to drive this on city roads, freeways and some nice tight and winding country style roads. It felt every bit capable in every circumstance, and never once flinched at being tested on tight turns or a winding stretch.

Audi A4 Sedan 45 TFSI quattro S line – $81,160

If your wife won’t let you get an Audi RS, then check out this spec.

Take a $68,900 car and add that assistance pack ($3,770), the S line interior package ($2,730) and most importantly the Carbon & Black package ($3,770) and you’re looking at a really sweet ride.

The Carbon pack adds Carbon Fibre inlays, a Carbon Spoiler and mirror caps and Black exterior package.

S line interior gives you nappa leather seats, contrastinc stitching and ambient lighting among many more things, and it really sets this off.

Sure it pushes the price above that “under $60k” marketing that got you through the door, but what’s the change to the monthly repayments going to be? Sound worth it now?

Yes.

Audi A5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S line – $90,280

After driving this, I can see why the Sportback sells in such high numbers.

I mean heck, the A4 is a damn good looking car. But the A5 Sportback just squishes down some of the form factor to something utterly breathtaking, and the 2020 edition does not disappoint.

Starting at $79,900 this model has been given the S line sport pack at $6,050 adding a whole bunch of looks to the car – primarily the interior.

It also had a $2,340 set of Adaptive dampers. Sadly, I didn’t get to put those through their paces on some winding roads, instead this was my ride home from Camden to the City.

A joy to drive on the freeway, and I expect that my ride in this mirrors most of the average use for this car.

However, I’d love to take it on a solid country road really through its paces.

Audi A5 Cabriolet 45 TFSI quattro S line – $96,690

The most expensive of my drive, I immediately put the top down – of course.

On some serious country roads, top down, this was a hoot.

I pushed it beyond where it should go, but it didn’t miss a beat.

At no point did I feel like the handling was off in any way because it was without a roof, but perhaps most importantly the wind effect and noise were suppressed by whatever the hell Audi has done to this beast.

Honestly, it’s a lot of money – and while I love the look of the A4 range, I don’t think the Cabriolet is the best example of it.

Overall

With a 10.1 inch screen for infotainment, 12.3 inch virtual cockpit as your dash, you’ve got all the tech you need. The rest of the functions are nice dials, and elegant switches.

Under the hood is a mild-hybrid system across the range. While many will tell you intricately how that affects the drive, but honestly for the average driver, if you didn’t know that tiny battery was there, you’d not notice it.

It’s noticable in a decimal point or two on the fuel efficiency of each vehicle.

Critically, Audi do have a very different ride and handling to a BMW for example. But that’s not a bad thing, it’s their unique approach to how a car should feel to the driver. A touch more artificial than some might like, but also a touch more luxurious than some might expect.

Perhaps that’s why Audi can’t bring BMW drivers across – that’s a very different drive experience, but I think at $60,000 odd – the plan should be to bring people up to Audi, be the gateway drug for Luxury cars – I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with the experience of test-driving an Audi A4.

So what’s stopping you?

Driving the all-new Audi A4 Avant, A4 Sedan and A4 Allroad – the car to make you want to up your game
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