The all new Audi A4 is available to order from early March 2008, the new load carrier is expected to carry a reasonable premium of approximately £1,200 over its saloon equivalent.
The successor to the long established sector leader underpins its expanded 1,430 litre load bay with the new, reconfigured suspension set-up with longest-in-class wheelbase that has already brought much improved driver appeal, and enhanced cabin space, to the latest A4 Saloon. Increased leg room greatly enhances comfort for rear seat passengers in particular, and when all seats are filled the load area with its versatile reversible load floor is the most accommodating in the class with a 490-litre capacity.
Access to the load bay can be facilitated by the optional powered tailgate, and loads can be secured using the standard luggage net and tie-down straps, or with the much praised telescopic bar and securing belt system first seen in the A4 Avant, also available at extra cost.
The new Audi A4 Avant launches in the UK with a choice of either SE or more sporting S line specification options, and with five state-of-the-art FSI direct petrol injection and common rail piezo TDI engines. The initial range will take in the 160PS 1.8 Turbo FSI four-cylinder, the 265PS 3.2-litre V6 FSI, the 143PS 2.0-litre TDI, the 190PS 2.7-litre TDI and the 240PS 3.0-litre TDI.
Depending on the engine chosen, there will be the option of either the latest six-speed manual gearbox, an extensively revised, faster-shifting six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission or an updated and even smoother version of the ultra-efficient multitronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The advanced engines and transmissions propel a body that is considerably more rigid than its predecessor, yet around 10 per cent lighter, despite being 120mm longer, giving them maximum opportunity to shine in conjunction with the completely new suspension and steering configuration. Siting the front axle 154mm further forwards than in the existing car, the new chassis reduces overhang and optimises weight distribution for greatly enhanced handling balance and composure.
To extract the very best from this new configuration, Audi A4 Avant customers will also be able to specify the unique-in-class Audi drive select option at extra cost. Available in three specific ‘packages’, Audi drive select enables the driver to fine-tune the dynamic characteristics of the car, including suspension settings, steering behaviour, throttle response and transmission shift points, via dashboard-mounted controls to suit personal preferences or prevailing road conditions.
Driver assistance options will also include Audi side assist, which uses sensors to warn of vehicles approaching in mirror blind spots, and Audi lane assist, which guards against unintentional lane changes by activating steering wheel vibrations to alert the driver.
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