The 2009 Audi A4 Avant Wagon is Audi’s upscale midsize station wagon. Competitors include the BMW 3-Series Sports Wagon, Volkswagen Passat Wagon, Saab 9-3 SportCombi, Volvo V70 and Subaru Outback.
One of the sharpest looking station wagons on the road, the Avant has been refreshed for 2009. It is longer, wider and lower than the first generation. Headlights are similar to those on the A8, and LED running lights are also part of the combination. All in all, the first glance might make you think you’re looking at a sports car instead of a station wagon.
The A4 Avant is propelled by a 2.0 liter, 211 horsepower I4 engine (no options) generating 258 pound feet of torque – which is excellent torque for a small station wagon. Like the engine, there is only one transmission, a six-speed automatic with overdrive. This combination generates 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. This is well above the average fuel efficiency of either upscale midsize cars or station wagons in general.
The A4 Avant, like all Audi vehicles, has quattro all-wheel drive. Quattro is a permanent all-wheel drive system with its genesis in the Volkswagen World War II German Army command vehicles.
In the quattro systems, torque is split between the front and rear axles. In adverse conditions the amount of torque applied to each axle can be changed instantly and unnoticeably with up to 80% of the torque going to a specific axle. The small amount of torque for the troubled axle helps maintain control of it. Unlike many modern automotive systems, this is done without computers, which actually makes it more reliable.
German engineering at its best, the A4 Avant rates five stars in every category of NHTSA crash tests. Standard safety features include antilock brakes with electronic braking assist and traction and stability controls, with a full set of airbags, anti-theft system and tire pressure monitor. An electronic parking aid is available.
The A4 Avant has only one trim, but being an Audi you can bet it’s a nice one. The Avant gets good marks for its overall warranty, but the power train warranty is below average for class. The other knocks on the vehicle are that it is underpowered for a high dollar vehicle and somewhat short on headroom for a station wagon.
Base price on the 2009 Audi A4 Avant Wagon is $34,500. That’s quite a bit higher than average for station wagons, but a little lower than average for upper end makes. The thing is, if you’re looking for a high-end vehicle, an Audi has the safety, the features and the reputation to back up their asking price.