I spoke to soon.
If Avant already has focus, and I press CTRL+N, then the address bar gets focus.
If I'm switching to Avant from another window (i.e. Outlook), and press CTRL+N, then the address bar gets highlighted, but does NOT get focus.
As an aside, build 102 crashed on me earlier
(the entire avant process, not just the individual tab), was loading a page on Robtex at the time (page has loaded just fine since).
Stability certainly seems to be getting alot worse with each 11.8 release