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Verdict: 2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro

An Endangered Vehicle Species Worth Saving

Mike Floyd
Dec 7, 2010
Photographers: Jessica Walker, William Walker
It's time to officially put the wagon on the U.S. endangered vehicle species list.
Photo 2/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Front Three Quarters Static Passenger
Just this year, we learned that Volvo's new V60 won't be making the trip stateside, nor will the BMW 5 Series Estate. But despite the bad news, Cadillac is boldly going where other U.S. automakers are no longer going with its new CTS Sport Wagon. And the Germans, bless their hearts, continue to bring over (at least for now) models like the Audi A4 Avant quattro. Alas, we recently said farewell to a 2009 Avant quattro after just over a year in the MT fleet.
The A4 Avant pretty much won over the entire staff during its 23,924 trouble-free miles with us (okay, a balky power tailgate needed a quick adjustment at the dealer). Other than that issue, the only scratch we shelled out during the A4 wagon's stay was for a new set of Nitto INVO tires to replace the OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE050As ($1020) and a spendy 15,000-mile service that rang the register at $315.10.
Photo 3/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Rear Three Quarters Static Driver
One of the biggest huzzahs from the MT crew was for the Avant's killer interior digs, upgraded in part with the snazzy S line package we ordered. The Alcantara accents; excellent, nicely bolstered seats; panoramic glass roof; and other elegant, upscale touches helped make this one of the coolest cabins we've enjoyed this side of an A8. Upping the interior ante were a backup camera, the banging Bang & Olufsen sound system, and Audi's MMI interface. That said, a few of us struggled with the MMI at times, especially in the navigation and stereo control areas. The Avant's blind-spot detection feature was also a little off-putting to some, and, given the wagon's superb visibility, we could have lived without it.
Photo 4/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Rear Three Quarters Static Passenger
Also high on the kudos list was the A4 Avant's motivation, courtesy of Audi's outstanding 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 that outputs 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and Audi's signature quattro all-wheel drive, the 2.0T garnered nary a complaint about a lack of power, as it proved more than capable of hauling the Avant's 3932 pounds. And it posted some pretty impressive numbers during our testing (0-to-60 in 6.4 seconds, 14.9-second quarter mile at 90.8 mph). It also recorded solid fuel economy during its stay, with an MT observed average of 21.5 mpg.
Photo 8/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Front Three Quarters Driver
"This is a sweet-driving sport wagon. The turbo four has all the power and torque you could want; plus, it's smooth and is pretty good on gas," said editor at large Ron Kiino.
Photo 9/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro In Step
Another interesting option we added to the mix was Audi's Drive Select, which allows the driver to dial numerous settings, either firming or softening up the Avant's suspension and steering feel, shift characteristics, and throttle response.
Kiino for one was a fan. "The Audi Drive Select is a nice feature -- I like being able to switch to Dynamic when on a twisty road."
"I'm glad this A4 has the Audi Drive Select, because the car feels almost Lexus-like in its lack of harshness at stock settings," added associate Web editor Kirill Ougarov. "I'm a big fan of Dynamic mode, however, which puts the A4 closer to the 3 Series."
Photo 10/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Engine
When it comes to hauling the mail, one of a wagon's biggest selling points, the Avant got the job done, but opinions were mixed. Kiino had some trouble getting his baby stroller, which he swears isn't big, into the back. And unlike most crossovers and SUVs, the load floor is low and the tailgate about head high.
But photographer Julia LaPalme found the Avant's 50.5 cubic feet of cargo room with both rear seatbacks down to be more than adequate to accommodate some of her bulky gear. With 28.0 cubic feet with the seatbacks up, you're not going to be piling in a family of four and everyone's gear for a long trip, unless you get a cap up top. But you're probably not going to be doing it in a Q5, either, which has 29.1 cubes with the seats up, 57.3 with them down.
Photo 14/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Interior
Viewed from the outside, most everyone found the Avant to be a handsome piece -- this ain't your grandma's Country Squire. This baby put the "sport" in sport wagon, with a low-slung (maybe too much so) profile and S line goodies including a slick set of 19-inch alloys.
So will the A4 Avant help move wagons off the endangered list? Maybe not, but one thing's for sure: It's certainly not going to hurt the cause.
Photo 15/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Push Start
As Kiino aptly sums it up: "At $52K, this thing isn't cheap. But when looking for a sporty, luxurious wagon with some cachet, this one's tough to beat."
From The Logbook
"The interior with the S-Line package is just phenomenal, one of the best I've sat in recently. Looks great, materials feel great -- impressive, impressive stuff."
- Rory Jurnecka
"I was excited to finally test the A4's cargo capacity, sure the Avant body style would equal lots of room. Um, not really. With its steeply raked hatch, there's not a lot of space to fit bigger, bulkier items."
- Ron Kiino
Photo 16/16   |   2009 Audi A4 Avant Quattro Seat Stitching
"It's no screamer or big-time puller, but it does scoot well for a wagon. A quick press of the Sport button quickened throttle response and stiffened suspension dampening."
- Nate Martinez
"One of the first things I noticed about the A4 was the visibility. Audi did a good job minimizing the visual impact of the C- and D-pillars, especially with the extra window behind the C-pillar to open up visibility."
- Julia LaPalme

Our Car
Base price $35,675
Options Prestige package (Bluetooth, Bang & Olufsen sound system, power tailgate, Xenon headlamps, $7850); Audi Drive Select ($2950); Navigation and backup camera ($2500); S Line package (19-inch rims, sport seats, sport suspension, $2450); metallic paint ($475); rear side airbags ($350)
MSRP, as tested $52,250
Total mileage 23,942
Avg fuel economy 21.5 mpg
Problem areas Power tailgate
Maintenance cost $315.10
Normal-wear cost $1,020
Three-year residual value* $22,990
Recalls None
* Automotive Lease Guide

2009 Audi A4 Avant
Drivetrain layout Front engine, AWD
Engine type Turbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head
Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 121.1 cu in/1984 cc
Compression ratio 9.6:1
Power (SAE net) 211 hp @ 5300 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Redline 7000 rpm
Weight to power 88.6 lb/hp
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle/final ratios 3.52:1/2.43:1
Suspension, front; rear Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
Steering ratio 16.3:1
Turns lock-to-lock 2.3
Brakes, f;r 12.6-in vented disc; 11.3-in disc, ABS
Wheels 8.5 x 19-in, cast aluminum
Tires 255/35R19 96Y; Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
Wheelbase 110.6 in
Track, f/r 61.6/61.1 in
Length x width x height 185.2 x 71.9 x 56.5 in
Turning circle 37.4 ft
Curb weight 3932 lb
Weight dist, f/r 53/47%
Seating capacity 5
Headroom, f/r 36.9/37.5 in
Legroom, f/r 41.3/35.2 in
Shoulder room, f/r 55.5/54.3 in
Cargo volume beh, f/r 50.5, 28.0 cu ft
Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.0 sec
0-40 3.1
0-50 4.5
0-60 6.4
0-70 8.6
0-80 11.2
0-90 14.6
0-100 18.0
Passing, 45-65 mph 3.6
Quarter mile 14.9 sec @ 90.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 103 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.93 g (avg)
MT figure eight 26.3 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 1900 rpm
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, f/r side, f/r head
Basic warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance 4 yrs/unlimited
Fuel capacity 16.9 gal
EPA city/hwy economy 21/27 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.83 lb/mile
Recommended fuel Unleaded premium



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