2009 Audi A4 Avant Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • All-new design for 2009

  • Larger in nearly every dimension

  • High-strength steel used in manufacturing

  • Exclusive new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD)

  • Engine sits behind front axle for better weight distribution

  • Audi Dynamic Steering improves steering feel

  • High level of standard safety features

  • New electromechanically operated tailgate

  • Available in Fall 2008


Introduced in 1998, Audi's popular A4 Avant (station wagon) model traces its lineage back to the Audi 80 Avant, a model first launched in 1966. Now in its third generation, the A4 Avant has grown incrementally in size and luxury offerings with every subsequent redesign-but so has the compact wagon competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. For 2009, Audi presents an all-new, fourth-generation A4 Avant with an all-new exclusive turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant, advanced styling, increased cargo capacity, and updated technology. The 2009 Audi A4 Avant is covered by a comprehensive, 4-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty that includes roadside assistance for four years.

Chassis DesignThe all-new, 2009 Audi A4 Avant features sportier proportions than the previous model, the automaker says. Overall length is up nearly 5 inches and width has been increased by more than 2 inches. The wheelbase has been stretched, and the hood is longer. The front body overhang has been shortened, allowing the wheels to be pushed further to the edge of the vehicle. For better balance and handling, Audi has swapped the location of the differential with the clutch (or torque converter on vehicles that are equipped with an automatic transmission). This allows the front axle to move forward 6.1 inches, effectively putting the mass of the engine further behind the front wheels. The result of this engineering, according to Audi, is better weight distribution over each axle for precision control and handling.

While the body shell has grown in early every dimension, its weight is surprisingly light, Audi says. Various types of steel, including high-strength, and ultra-high-strength, are utilized throughout the body shell. According to Audi, the bare body shell weighs 10 percent less than the body shell of the previous model.

Compared to the previous model, interior dimensions have grown as well. The cabin is longer, and rear-seat passengers enjoy increased knee room. In addition to standard 60/40 split-fold rear seats, an available load-through hatch accommodates skis and snowboards. The trunk features a standard reversible cargo floor and a retractable cargo cover while the tailgate is now optioned with an electro-mechanical drive for automatic operation.


Unlike the sedans, which will be offered with a choice of engines and front- or rear-wheel drive, the all-new 2009 A4 Avant will be equipped with its own exclusive engine and Audi's quattro permanent AWD system. The all-new engine is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder powerplant. It is rated at 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The only available transmission is Audi's Tiptronic 6-speed automatic. According to Audi, the new engine is 15 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing 2.0-liter powerplant in the 2008 Audi A4 Avant.

The standard 4-wheel disc brakes have been upgraded and improved on the 2009 model, Audi says. Composite spheroidal-graphite and aluminum calipers clamp new high-performance brake pads that are 20 percent larger for improved brake feel and reduced stopping distances. The latest generation of ESP (Audi's stability control) offers a smoother regulating action for less intrusive feedback for the driver, Audi adds.

The new A4 Avant offers many of the detail designs found in the flagship A8 model. These include the Driver Information System (DIS)-a display supplying information about audio, climate and vehicle settings-and an available Multi Media Interface (MMI) integrated into the center tunnel with readings displayed on a 7-inch color screen.

For the first time, the Audi A4 Avant features an electro-mechanical parking brake operated by a small electronic lever-another luxury feature derived from the A8. It functions as a parking brake, emergency brake, and start assistant to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when it departs. The space formerly occupied by a hand brake has been replaced with additional cabin storage with twin 12-volt power adapters.


Driver and front passenger in the 2009 Audi A4 Avant are protected by front and side air bags while curtain air bags protect all outboard passengers. Two additional air bags, of a rear side design, are available optionally. Sensors in the seat rails determine the actual position of the seats and regulate the deployment of the air bags and belt force limiters based on the occupant's position within the vehicle, offering additional safety for drivers of smaller stature, Audi says. The new A4 Avant complies with the legal safety requirements passed in Japan and Europe for vehicle/pedestrian collisions, the maker adds.


The 2009 A4 Avant features another new Audi innovation: Audi dynamic steering. The system utilizes a special superimposed gear system to alter the overall steering ratio according to road speed and the driver-chosen Audi "drive select" setting. A design developed for use in robots and space travel, the concentric-shaft steering gear is lightweight, compact, and precise. Audi dynamic steering boosts the power assistance, and makes the steering ratio more direct at low speed. At high speeds, the ratio is less direct and boost is reduced for better straight-line stability. Working with the ESP, the system receives real-time information about the vehicle's attitude. If the vehicle begins to oversteer, such in the case of an abrupt accident-avoidance maneuver, the steering performs slight corrective impulses to help automatically bring the vehicle back under control. In an understeer situation, the system selects a more indirect steering ratio, preventing the driver from turning the tires beyond their ability to grip the road.
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