Many buy an estate car primarily as a business vehicle and for such buyers size is all important. But, for an equally large group, load lugging is slightly less important than the general usefulness that an estate car offers as a practical family vehicle that may rarely have need of it’s full load carrying ability.
Audi’s 100 estate is firmly aimed at this latter group. It may not be largest estate car in it’s class – although not far from it – but it combines a fine sporting saloon with a large load area in a way that few of it’s competitors can carry off as successfully.
I drove the 2 litre E, the entry level model to an enormously wide selection of estate cars, ranging from just over £19,000 for this model to £34,000 for the stunning, top of the range, S4, the fastest estate car on the U.K. market, a range that includes several Quattro models and a 2.5 litre turbo diesel.
Safety has long been a major Audi selling point and all of the range have ABS as standard and are fitted with the revolutionary Procon Ten system which reacts to an impact at any speed over 15 mph by tightening the front seatbelts to prevent the occupants being thrown forward and at the same time pulls the steering wheel away from the driver, all of this taking a bare 100th of a second. This remarkable feature is backed up by substantial reinforcement in the doors to maximise side protection and a very strong floor as part of well designed crumple zones.
On a purely subjective level the car just plain feels safe.
An elegant, stylish body, is, as ever, faultlessly built, fully zinc galvanised and thus confidently offered with a superb 10 year anti-perforation warranty.
The interior is both spacious and well trimmed with excellent seating, both front and rear, and lots of head and legroom. The rear seat splits and folds to further extend the huge load through space and a tonneau cover is standard for security from prying eyes.
The driver faces a curvy and very user friendly dash with good, clear, instruments and all switchgear easy to reach. Just about every desirable piece of equipment is fitted as standard with power steering, central locking, a sunroof , electric windows, mirrors and an excellent stereo all featuring.
Pushed along by a torquey 2 litre, 4 cylinder, overhead cam engine, 115 bhp is on tap for more than adequate performance, all well matched by the slickness of the 5 speed manual box. A 4 speed auto box is an option.
Handling and ride are superb for an estate car, reflecting the Audi sporting heritage, none of that “tail wags the dog” feeling that some estates suffer, the 100 is a cut above the rest, smooth, comfortable, poised when pushed and always feeling very surefooted, the excellent power steering enabling the car to be perfectly placed.
All disc braking with ABS allows powerful, repeated, stops with minimal fade.
However rapidly driven, progress is quiet and smooth at all times, the engine never sounding stressed and along with this blessing, only minimal road and wind noise intrude into the well sound deadened cabin.
The 2.O litre E is an extremely well priced executive estate intended to transmit big loads, in great safety, over long distances at high average speeds, all things it does supremely well.
As a long distance strider or around town carriage, the 100 estate is a very easy car to live with, safe and predictable in all it’s responses and sporty enough for any driver.
PRICE AS TESTED £19,170
TOP SPEED 118 MPH
0-60 11 SECONDS
FUEL CONSUMPTION 24 MPG [ SIMULATED URBAN] 44 MPG [CONSTANT 56 MPH ]
First Published 1993 – Article © Graham Benge 2007