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Avg. Price Paid:$13,319 - $15,036
Original MSRP: $32,000 - $39,400
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
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2008 Audi A4 Wagon Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Audi A4 Wagon was new.

The 2008 Audi A4 Avant has enough engine power and crisp handling to please most wagon buyers. USA Today says, "Even if it had been a tough day and you just wanted to survive the drive home, after a few minutes the lively A4 had you quite involved in the process and happy about it."

Acceleration and Power

The Audi A4 Avant offers two engines -- the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.2-liter V6 offers 255 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. The Chicago Sun-Times notes, "Both smooth engines are designed for U.S. driving, with strong acceleration at low speeds and when merging into high-speed traffic and passing on highways." But others say the A4 Avant is trailing its competitors when it comes to strength. "Neither A4 engine is a powerhouse," Edmunds writes, "as the turbocharged 2.0-liter is somewhat lacking when it comes to the off-the-line torque and 255-horsepower V6 is increasingly outclassed by competitors putting out more than 300 hp."

To most, though, both engines are more than adequate. Motor Trend calls the base 2.0-liter "a happy high-revver that also gives plenty of low-end torque," then asks, "The engine is so good, it begs the question: 'Could Audi have gotten away with not offering a V-6 option at all?'" USA Today notes the 3.2-liter V6 is "just okay in the A6," but stands up as "a sweet piece of hardware in the lighter A4."

According to Kelley Blue Book, "The V6 is the smoother and more powerful engine of the two, but the four-cylinder turbo is lighter (promoting better handling), less expensive and delivers better fuel mileage." Both engines come with Fuel Straight Injection to deliver more power to the engines and burn less fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency reports the four-cylinder should achieve 20 miles per gallon on city streets and 28 on the highway using a manual transmission, and 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway with the automatic. The Audi A4 Avant's V6 rates at 17 mpg in the city and 25 on highways with the automatic transmission, 15 in the city and 25 on highways with a stick shift.

Both the six-speed manual transmission or tiptronic automatic serve the 2008 A4 Avant well. Cars.com reports the six-speed stick "shifts easily," while Kelley Blue Book says it made the A4 "impressive on the highway while also providing more of the kick we expect from a sports sedan." Meanwhile, USA Today says the tiptronic automatic is one of the A4's nicest features: "Shifts are smooth and quick in normal setting, so fierce in sport mode that the car seems to leap into the next gear, and easily manipulated in manual mode." Edmunds adds that the tiptronic is "geared perfectly to take advantage of the V6's output. Out on the road the combination gets the Avant up to speed quickly, and supplies plenty of passing power."

Handling and Braking

The A4 Avant receives some of its highest praise for its driving dynamics. According to Cars.com, "The A4 is solid and appealing, joyfully tackling twisting roads and taking every turn in stride." Edmunds adds that the A4 Avant is "a sterling daily driver."

Audi's A4 Avant has a four-link front suspension with upper and lower wishbones and a tubular anti-roll bar. In the rear is an independent wheel, trapezoidal-link suspension with a mounted subframe and anti-roll bar. Together front and rear axles provide a ride with firm control and what Consumer Guide calls "mostly good bump absorption." U.S. News' reviewer Rick Newman says the wagon's steering with Servotronic® electronic power assist "is expertly tuned for a thorough feel of the road that still manages to dampen any shocks that might disturb the driver's fingertips." The Chicago Sun-Times says the dual circuit, diagonal split anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake pressure Distribution "allow quick, sure stops" and Edmunds says that they are "seemingly impervious to heat" because their "performance was consistent over four runs."

All Wheel Drive

Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system, standard on all 2008 A4 Avant models, is one of the wagon's most distinctive features. U.S. News' reviewer Rick Newman says it "grabs the pavement like a soldier belly-crawling beneath hostile fire," while Kelley Blue Book notes they "could definitely feel its calming influence while driving on curving ramps and the like." No one had the opportunity to test the all-wheel drive in snowy weather, but the San Jose Mercury News says, "[M]y previous experience with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system convinces me that this wagon is ready for Mother Nature's worst."

Review Last Updated: 2/25/09

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