I drove this A4 Avant for 18 months and could not wait for the day to finally unload this car. The car was in the repair shop 6 times in 18 months - all for engine issues - fuel sensor, oxygen sensor in turbo, and finally an oil leak. The dealership was courteous and professional each time I had the car in, but the problems kept popping up. When the car was functioning properly, I enjoyed driving it. My main complaint was the automatic transmission - the Drive transmission setting shifted painfully slowly and enhanced the awful turbo lag. The Sport transmission setting was better, but it had to be shifted manually with the paddles into 6th gear when traveling < 80 mph. In 20 years of driving Honda and Toyota products, I made 3 trips in total for non-routine maintenance. 6 trips in 18 months for the Audi A4 is unacceptable and I will not buy another Audi.
My other vehicles are 911 turbo, Mustang GT convertible, Cayenne S. This vehicle has become my favorite. I can drive it over highway 17 in California with vigor. I drove it to Tahoe with the family, a roof box and a lot of gear. It was a blast. It compensated well on icy patches and blasted through the snow. I can put my golden retriever in the back, pick up the family and still enjoy the ride. The S mode and paddle shifters make this a stealth sports car. I enjoy the "S" suspension features and the mileage of the 2.0T. It feels like a Porsche station wagon. I predict that these wagons will see a resurgence in the near future. The Avant gets 22 around town and 28 highway.
I have had several Audi's over the past 15 years as well as several Jeeps. This latest purchase with the 3.2 is outstanding. Power, all weather ability with utility and sport car manors. This package does it all. The MMI is great. Did a three hundred mile loop from New York to Boston and got 29 mpg. Got it with the Audi Certified program so great deal with new car warranty. Very, very happy.
This car will go anywhere, safely and comfortably. It is fun to drive, considering the cargo capacity. The 2.0T is a great combination of power and fuel economy (it's no wonder that VW/Audi settled on it for just about every model for the last 10 years). On ramps: fun. Twisty mountain roads: fun. Race track: fun. Highway cruising: smooth and comfortable. Around town: perfect. Load up kids, dogs, luggage, groceries, everything. Bikes, skis, and boats on top no problem. Seriously, for active families who don't want a big SUV, this is about as close to perfect as you can get. Kids who want to lower it and stuff some wide wheels on, no problem, you will get big scene points because it's an avant.
This is my 3rd A4 Avant (1999; 2003; 2008). I recently had to retire my 1995 Alfa 164LS. I purchased this to drive along with our 2003 A4 Avant. The plan is to retire the 2003 and keep the 2008 once Alfa returns to the USA. The car is quite sporty in nature. It appears as if the new A4 will have more driver right leg room, but it is unclear whether the new Avant will be offered as a 6 speed. We only have had manual transmissions with sport suspension. The 2008 2.0 engine is more throaty and powerful than previous models. The four wheel drive sticks like glue. The 2.0 torque is limited, but the acceleration is fine, with little turbo lag. Forget BMW and go for it.