In-depth reviews

Audi A4 review

The Audi A4 offers technology and quality when compared to its small executive saloon rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£29,905 to £56,005
  • Spacious cabin
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Great infotainment
  • Nondescript looks
  • Not as sporty as some rivals
  • Pricey optional extras

The A4 is one of Audi’s most important models, and the current version is one of the best-sellers in the class. The compact executive saloon has a focus on technology and comfort, and this makes it an interesting alternative for those who don’t want the sporty character of the BMW 3 Series.

An update in 2019 resulted in overhauled styling: new headlights, front grille elements alter the front end; the side gets an adjusted shoulder line to emphasise the wheel arches, and the tail lights feature more intricate LED graphics. Elsewhere, the revisions included an overhauled engine line-up and improved in-car tech.

Where the A4 has advanced is in the way it drives. Audi has listened to customer feedback and made the A4 softer and more comfortable, and as a result it's easier to live with. There’s still plenty of performance on offer to keep you entertained, but if you’re after real thrills you're still better off with the 3 Series or Jaguar XE.

Where few of the A4’s rivals can compete, however, is inside. The cabin is beautifully crafted and a place than can transform the most arduous journey into an enjoyable one. The 2019 facelift improved things further with the introduction of a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an improved iteration of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital driver’s display.

The Audi A4 has been on sale for a number of years now, and it's established itself as a strong contender in the compact executive class. It's available as a saloon or A4 Avant estate, while the A5 Sportback is a coupe-style hatchback variant. The trim levels range through Technik, Sport, S line, Black Edition and the range topping Vorsprung. Performance models sit above the regular A4 range, including the fast-but-subtle S4 and the ballistic, estate-only RS 4 Avant.

As with the rest of the Audi range, quattro four-wheel drive is available, while the range of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines currently offered deliver a good mix of performance and economy. They need to, because the Audi A4 has a string of talented rivals to compete against.

The best saloon cars to buy now

The Audi’s toughest rivals are the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, while the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia shouldn't be ruled out. Then there are the Volvo S60 and Lexus IS, as well as upmarket versions of family cars such as the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, Mazda 6 and Skoda Superb.

The facelift to the range in 2019 introduced an overhauled engine lineup which, across the petrol and diesel range, features mild-hybrid tech. While posher Audis – and the sporty version of the A4, the S4 – feature a 48-volt system, here there’s a simpler 12-volt set-up. Though less powerful, the use of a belt-driven alternator starter allows the A4 to recuperate up to 5kW of power when coasting. This can then be redeployed under acceleration to reduce load on the engine, or to allow the car to coast with the engine off for up to 40 seconds at a time.

The engine line-up consists of a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with varying power outputs. The 35 TDI diesel is the engine that makes the most sense for buyers: it manages 54.3-55.4mpg in official tests and its 163PS output is more than enough. It lacks the quattro four-wheel drive system used by the 40 TDI and is 26PS down, but the lack of complexity and weight means that it’s almost as quick and more frugal – all the while coming in at over £2,000 cheaper.

2019 marked the introduction of the latest S4. The significant change came under the bonnet: gone was the old petrol-powered V6, replaced by a V6 diesel with 48-volt mild hybrid tech. The new unit doesn’t quite have the outright power of the old engine but it makes up for it with a thumping 700Nm of torque.

For an alternative review of the latest Audi A4 Saloon visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    35 TFSI Technik 4dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,905

Most Economical

  • Name
    30 TDI Technik 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £33,655

Fastest

  • Name
    40 TDI 204 Quattro Sport Edition 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,925

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