April 2, 2007
By: Jason Teller
Some say white is the new black, and frankly after spending a week with this A4 Avant wed have to disagree. In this case white fails to adopt blacks legacy of high-society refinement and sophistication. Instead, this vehicle is nothing short of white-hot cool.
Audi purists have long argued that Avants deserve a special spot within the Audi lineup and we tend to agree. While Europe sees a much more even distribution of sedans and wagons, the US market has failed to generate the same Avant-lust as abroad. All the better for those North American drivers looking to tip the unique scale buy an A4 Avant and configure like the one in this article and you will suddenly find yourself in very rare company.
Special Inside & Out
Of course what makes this A4 Avant so striking is the combination of Audis Ibis White exterior paint (has there ever been a better Audi white?) paired with the optional S line Titanium package.
Salt-n-Pepper. Ying-n-Yang. Call it what you will, but this exceptionally good looking white really pops when paired with the 18-inch, 15-spoke titanium wheels and blacked-out single frame grille and side window trim. This is, of course, on top of the S line front and rear bumpers, door sills and integrated roof spoiler which are the foundation for the S lines differentiation.
The interior, not to be left out, gets a black headliner and Piano Black interior trim pieces, as well as a world-class leather-wrapped 3-spoke perforated steering wheel and shift knob (all with triple color stitching).
As configured we would defy anybody to call this vehicle a station wagon. The only correct terminology would be sport Avant, although approaching the vehicle the term sports car fits just as well.
Being top-of-the-line inside and out means that this A4 Avant also has Audis largest powerplant for the A4 the 3.2 FSI V6. Audi has done a good job over the years of increasing horsepower and displacement while remaining sensitive to fuel economy, and there is no better example than the 3.2 FSI. Previous generation A4s have featured the downright pokey 2.8 V6 and the improved, yet still slight lacking, 3.0 V6. The 255-horsepower 3.2 FSI moves the A4 into the better-than-satisfactory performance range.
In typical Audi fashion the A4 Avants exhaust note is restrained, although at wide open throttle the 3.2 FSI produces a moderately aggressive tone through its dual tailpipes.
Being as quiet as it was it was at times difficult to ascertain acceleration. Suffice it to say the car has enough giddy-up that the driver never gets that under-powered feeling, while at the same time the vehicle never performs so spectacularly that one cant help but take notice. It seems to exist within a happy performance band just where it needs to be. Audi claims a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds for the 6-speed manual and we cant argue.
One item of note, however, is that at speed the 3.2 FSI produces better than expected acceleration. This is attributed squarely to the FSI direct injection technology which, at full load, increases compression as well as engine efficiency and performance.
Audi reports 19mpg city and 26mpg highway for the 3.2 FSI. We were not impressed with our own calculations on our test car which, to be fair, was driven aggressively the whole time it was in our possession.
Anybody who is going to put money into a lot of great looking exterior / interior options is probably going to be interested in the technology goodies as well. Our test car included just about everything from the $1,800 convenience package (HomeLink, trip computer, power & memory seats, bi-xenon adaptive headlights) to the $2,100 Audi Navigation Plus to the $500 Bluetooth phone prep and $550 cold weather package (heated seats, retractable headlight washers).
Was there anything we could have done without? Certainly the cold weather package is very much a cold-weather climate add-on, however we rate it as essential if you live somewhere with true winters. The convenience package includes a number of items that most people take for granted in a vehicle in this class, so once again it is essential. Audis navigation is both very good and very expensive, so it has to be a personal decision. Bluetooth is highly recommended as a safety feature.
quattro all-wheel drive is of course standard.
We say Audi has created the perfect A4 Avant as packaged in Ibis White together with the S line Titanium package. Our biggest question mark is pricing. The all-important S line package adds $2,750 base and another $500 for the Titanium option, while the other options mentioned add another $5,900 to the $37,440 base price. All-in we are looking at a vehicle which tops $47,000!
Comparatively, at least within the Audi lineup, we say it is as good looking of a car as the S4 Avant which would cost at least $10,000 more. Keep in mind, though, that a good deal of that incremental cost is wrapped up in the S4s much-better performing 4.2-liter V8. We struggled to configure a more expensive BMW 328xi Sports Wagon, however the BMW includes an inferior 3.0-liter V6 producing only 220-horsepower.
Ultimately this A4 Avant is a study in the art of the possible. Yes it is possible to design a wagon which looks simply stunning. Yes it is possible to give said vehicle all the accompanying options and features available. Yes it is possible to include a very capable motor which can also meet reasonable fuel-economy standards. We expect Audi actually sells relatively few of these completely loaded A4 Avants, yet it sure is nice to see the potential.
One thing is certain: Ibis White with S line Titanium package is a certified winner and worth every penny. From there on out it becomes every individual buyers choice.
- Road Test Photo Gallery
- Press Release: Audi Releases Custom Titanium Package for the A4 S line
- B7 A4 Discussion Forum
- Audi Model Guide (includes link to A4)