The A4 Avant has always enjoyed admiring glances from family and friends.
It looks good, has a practical boot and comes with a well thought-out, high quality cabin.
But now, after 10 months, it goes back to Audi.
Those that have been for lengthy journeys have commented on the car’s uncomfortable seats and its firm ride – the two notable detractions on the A4.
Unlike our long-term 520d which recently went back, our A4 Avant does not have optional suspension settings which would allow a softer, more cushioned ride when appropriate.
In general, our time with the Avant has been pleasurable and good on the pocket for a four-wheel drive quattro.
Fuel consumption has averaged 46mpg – against the official 51.4mpg figure.
Four-wheel drive adds £1,400 to the price compared to the front-wheel drive S-Line version, but fuel consumption is less than 2mpg lower and CO2 emissions are higher by just 5g/km (although, at 149g/km, it puts the car in a higher BIK tax bracket of 22%).
To drive, the A4 has exceptional grip in dry and wet (thanks, quattro) with direct handling and good body control.
It might not be the market leader, but few people other than professional racing drivers would really appreciate – or need – the finer nuances between this and the BMW 3 Series.
As a family car, the A4 Avant excels. Boot space is 490 litres, rising to 1,430 litres with the seats down (3 Series: 460/1,385 litres, C-class: 485/1,500 litres) while the rear bench is very accommodating for child seats, holding them securely in place.
The only other niggles are a sat-nav system that can be slow to initialise from start-up and only offers four-digit postcode entry, and a Bluetooth system that refused to acknowledge the existence of my phone.
The A4 Avant is well worth considering, but note that the car’s 42.92p per mile running costs over four years/80,000 miles are a couple of pennies higher than comparable 3 Series Touring and C-class estate – worth £1,600 per car over that operating cycle.