Audi A4 Saloon review
The A4 is now the equal of the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class. The latest models drive as well as they look, thanks to a sharper chassis and strong engines
Styling/Image The latest model shares its front-end styling with the A5 coupe, complete with the neat LED lamps. While the styling of the new car closely mirrors that of its predecessor, the A4 is still a handsome and smart-looking motor. Seven spoke alloy wheels come as standard, with another five variations available on the option list. Three trim levels are available – S, SE and S-Line. The latter adds sporty detail to the exterior and cabin
Interior/Practicality Inside, the A4 features one of the best cabins in the class. Fit, finish and materials are all top drawer, while the Avant wagon serves-up an impressive 1,430 litres of carrying capacity. An electronic parking brake and Multi Media Interface screen – both first seen on the larger A6 and A8 – are fitted as standard. Other hi-tech kit available includes lane assist, a reversing camera, electric handbrake and blind spot warning system.
Engine/Performance You get a choice of two petrol powerplants - a 1.8 TFSI and a 3.2-litre. The smaller unit is turbocharged and gives the A4 a surprising turn of speed, while the thirsty 3.2-litre sounds good and is genuinely rapid. However, most buyers will pick one of the excellent diesels. The torquey 2.0-litre TDI unit will return over 50mpg, while V6 2.7 and 3.0-litre oil-burners are smooth, powerful and serious rivals for larger petrol motors.
Driving experience In terms of driving dynamics, the A4 is now among the class leaders. The steering is sharp and the turn-in positive, although the ride on all models can be upset by poor surfaces. A firmer suspension set-up features on S line trim, along with larger alloy wheels. The twin-clutch DSG gearbox is excellent and a worthwhile option, as is the Audi Drive Select (ADS) system, which allows you to optimise the power steering and adjust the dampers and sharpen throttle response.
Ownership Costs Strong retained values of around 50-60 per cent are some of the best in the class, while the 2.0 TDI’s CO2 emissions of 144g/km make it a wise company car choice. Private buyers covering a low annual mileage should consider the excellent 1.8TFSI petrol motor. In more powerful 158bhp guises it’ll return 40mpg, emits 169g/km of CO2 and will accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 8.6 seconds.
Safety/Environment Thanks to a combination of six airbags and strong structure, the A4 managed to claim a five-star Euro NCAP rating for adult protection. All models feature ESP as standard, while options to consider are the hi-tech ‘Lane Assist’ and ‘Side Assist’ systems – the latter offering blind spot warning.
OUR CHOICE: 2.0 TDI SE