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Audi A4 Review

Find out more about the Audi A4 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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7
Out of 10
Average Price £16,844
History

The Audi A4 was first introduced to market back in 1995, and is now in its fifth-generation.

The A4 occupies the fiercely competitive compact executive portion of the market, going up against the likes of the Mercedes C-Class, the Jaguar XE and the ever popular BMW 3 Series.

The smallest Audi saloon is fairly similar in appearance to its larger siblings – the A6, A5, A7 and A8 – boasting a large hexagonal front grille, sleek lines and a sporty stance. As ever, the signature Audi logo takes pride of place on the front of the car.

The Audi A4 is available with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, ensuring buyers will be able to find their perfect mix of performance and economy. Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel drive system is also available as an option, providing improved traction and handling ability. Audi offer the A4 as a saloon or an estate – known as the A4 Avant.

As a comfortable long-distance cruiser, the Audi A4 makes a great case for itself, with excellent composure on the motorway, and some pleasingly frugal engines.

Latest model

The latest version of the Audi A4 came to market in 2015, and has since then gone on to win a number of awards from various motoring publications. The new model was lighter than its predecessor, more fuel efficient and also more powerful.

Currently, Audi offers the A4 in a number of different guises, with a nearly endless combination of petrol and diesel engines, and two- and four-wheel-drive transmissions.

The A4 Is currently on sale in both saloon and Avant guises – Audi’s codename for an estate body style. Customers in the market for a more performance-orientated iteration of the popular vehicle can look towards the S4 models, which utilises a powerful 350bhp V6, while an even faster RS4 version is said to currently be in production.

As far as trim levels go, the Audi A4 is available in entry-level SE specification, moving up to Sport, then S Line and finally the go-faster S4 model.

Audi currently offers the A4 with a wide range of diesel and petrol engines, with performance varying from 148bhp from a 1.4-litre petrol unit, and moving all the way up to 350bhp from the 3.0-litre V6 found in the S4.

Fuel consumption figures vary widely, as well, with the 2.0-litre, 148bhp diesel claiming a combined economy figure of 74.3mpg, while Audi claims the S4 will manage 38.7mpg on the combined cycle.

As you might expect from a car of this nature, the A4 features a very smart-looking interior. Higher-specification models gain plenty of soft-touch materials, while Audi’s clever virtual cockpit system is also available as an option for the first time on this model.

Value for money

The favourite of the A4 range is undoubtedly the Sport specification models. Taking the go-faster S4 out of the picture, the mid-level Sport models offer a good compromise between affordability and equipment. Prices start at £27,900, which gives you features such as 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels, a seven-inch infotainment display screen that incorporates satellite navigation, front sports seats and a 10-speaker sound system.

If you’re willing to forgo the satellite navigation and sporty seats, a new entry-level SE-specification A4 can be acquired from upwards of £26,950. While you might miss out on some of the features from the higher trim levels, the SE still comes with 17-inch 10-spoke alloys, Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and front and rear parking sensors.

The top-of-the-range S Line models (excluding the S4) packs in even more technology and toys to the Audi A4 as standard. A handful of these include large, 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and taillights, a sportier S-Line exterior styling package as well as sports suspension. In S Line trim, the A4 will cost upwards of £31,150 before you add any options on.

The go-faster S4 – which is arguably a stand-alone model in the Audi range – will set buyers back at least £44,600. While this might sound like a fair amount of cash, you are getting a significant performance increase for your money. This model gains ‘S’ sport suspension, that 3.0-litre, 350bhp V6, Quattro all-wheel drive, improved brakes and a more aggressive body-kit. Inside, the cabin gains a larger 8.3-inch infotainment screen, and ‘S’ super sports seats that are heated and upholstered in Fine Nappa leather.

As tends to be the trend with many of the premium German car manufacturers, the list of optional extras available with the Audi A4 is long, and potentially quite expensive. Full leather seats are an optional extra on all models aside from the S4 and cost upwards of £1,300, while metallic paint will set you back around £645. Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit system is also worth taking a look at, but be warned that this costs £450 on regular A4s, and £250 on S4 models.

Looks and image (driving appeal, quality and image, comfort)

If it’s a stylish compact saloon you’re after, the Audi A4 certainly ticks the right boxes. It isn’t as chintzy as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and not as dull as BMW’s 3 Series.

While the latest model isn’t dramatically different from its predecessor in the looks department, sharper lines, narrower headlights and the introduction of the large hexagonal grille leave the A4 looking more purposeful, dynamic and aggressive than before.

Those who are wanting to shout about their car’s performance credentials even more will find the S4 to be an even sportier, more aggressive looking car than its regular A4 siblings. With larger wheels, quad tailpipes and a lower ride height – thanks to its sports suspension – the S4 looks like a force to be reckoned with.

Thanks to those four Audi rings on the nose, the A4 and S4 models carry a good deal of brand appeal with them.

Parked up on a high street in a more fashionable part of town, the Audi A4 certainly wouldn’t look out of place.

In a way, the A4’s interior is also rather pleasing to look at thanks to the logical way in which it is laid out. Audi has gone for a rather minimal approach to the A4’s layout, with the dashboard only featuring a handful of buttons to control the climate control system.

The centre console is a touch busier, housing yet more buttons as well as the click wheel that controls the A4’s infotainment system. Also prominent on the centre console is a chunky gear selector.

The only niggle with the A4’s interior is the positioning of the infotainment display. As it is fixed in place, it does have the effect of looking like an iPad or some other tablet that has been glued to the dash as a last minute after thought.

Space and practicality

Up front, both driver and passenger will be greeted by wide door apertures, making getting into and out of the new A4 a breeze. In the cabin itself, headroom is abundant, as well as elbow room – meaning you and your passenger won’t feel claustrophobic or hemmed in.

Audi A4s of the past have often been criticised for being slightly cramped in back, and unfortunately the trend is continued here in the latest model.

However, as this car has grown in proportions over older models, two six-foot passengers should be able to ride in the back in relative comfort although a BMW 3 Series might prove a more comfortable option.

In terms of boot space, the A4 offers a respectable 480 litres in saloon form, and 505 litres in Avant estate guise.

The A4 saloon’s luggage capacity can be increased to 965 litres with the back seats folded flat, while the Avant’s will jump to a cavernous 1,510 litres.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Audi A4 is available with a wide range of diesel and petrol engines.

As far as petrol engines go, customers can specify a 1.4-litre, or 2.0-litre power plant in various states of tune. The 1.4-litre engine produces 148bhp, while the 2.0-litre comes with either 187bhp, or 249bhp when paired with Quattro all-wheel drive.

Diesel engines include a 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre V6 unit. The smaller 2.0-litre unit is available with 148bhp, 187bhp, 215bhp, and 268bhp depending on model. Quattro is also available with the diesel engines.

The Audi S4 comes with a different engine altogether – the aforementioned 3.0-litre V6. This develops 349bhp, and enables the S4 to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds in saloon form, and 4.7 seconds in Avant estate shape.

Running costs

Due to the wide range of engines available with the A4, running costs will vary greatly depending on which model customers opt for.

If out-and-out economy is what you’re after, the 2.0-litre TDI Ultra engine would be the one to go for. This diesel unit produces 148bhp, features a claimed fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg and emits 99 grams of CO2 per kilometre, meaning vehicle excise duty tolls won’t cost too much.

At the other end of the scale is the Audi S4, with its 3.0-litre V6. The S4 has a claimed fuel economy figure of 38.7mpg in saloon form, and 37.7mpg as an estate.

CO2 emissions are also much higher, with the saloon and the estate producing respective figures of 166g/km and 171g/km.

Things to look out for

The new Audi A4 comes with a 60,000-mile warranty as standard, which can be extended to five years of 90,000 miles for a fee. This should cover you in the short term for any issues that might arise.

Slightly older A4s purchased second hand have been the subject of complaint because of noisy gearboxes, although this shouldn’t affect performance too much.

It would pay to consider that because the Audi A4 has a lot of appeal as a company car, a lot of those that you come across on the used market will have come from business fleets.

As a result, you need to take the time to check whether the car in question has been cared for, and in decent working order.

The forthcoming changes to the way VED tax is calculated will also mean that many A4’s will become a lot more expensive to run if they are registered after April 1.

For example, at present an A4 with a 3.0-litre, 215bhp V6 TDI engine will cost nothing to tax for the first year of ownership, and £20 each year afterwards.

If this same car is purchased from April 1 onwards, VED will cost £140 for the first year, and then £140 each year after that.

Rivals

The Audi A4’s main rivals come in the shape of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series. The new Alfa Romeo Giulia will also give the A4 a run for its money in this segment.

Compared to its rivals, the A4 sits in the middle when it comes to price. The C-Class is slightly more expensive, while the 3 Series starts at roughly £3,000 cheaper.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz also offer performance-orientated versions of their compact executive cars in the shape of the M3 and C 63 AMG. While the Audi S4 might be quick, Audi fans will really have to wait for the next RS4 to really stand a chance against these two cars.

Depreciation warning

The current generation Audi A4 tends to hold its value fairly well. For example, a Sport-specification model with the 1.4-litre, 148bhp petrol engine will cost roughly £21,000 on the used market at present. New, this model – which was released in 2015 – costs upwards of £26,850.

Which A4 to Pick

Trims Explained

When it comes to trim levels, the Audi A4 is fairly straightforward, with four different levels of specification – including the S4. They are as follows:

SE

The SE is the entry-level model that will likely appeal to those buyers who want to get their hand on a premium vehicle without an exorbitant price tag.

A great drive with little frills.

Sport

The Sport specification would likely be the model the majority of buyers will flock to, thanks to its slightly more generous levels of equipment.

The clincher for many is the addition of satellite navigation.

S Line

S Line models will attract buyers who want a slightly sportier-looking proposition, gaining 18-inch alloys and sports suspension.

This model also has a slightly more aggressive body kit.

S4

Those after a more performance-orientated car will find the Audi S4 the most attractive of the range.

What to look out for

  1. While the TDI engines might be economical, the S4 is not
  2. The A4 is available as both a saloon and as an estate
  3. A new A4 can cost anywhere between £25,900 and £44,600
  4. Quattro all-wheel drive is available, but it will affect fuel economy
  5. Price-wise, the Audi A4 sits somewhere in between its rivals
  6. Full leather seats are a costly option on all models aside from the S4
  7. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is available as an option for the first time
  8. A new A4 comes with a three-year warranty as standard
  9. Features a very smart-looking interior
  10. Options list can be pricey

Review Rating

"Such is the subtle styling evolution you may be hard-pressed to tell this is the latest-generation Audi A4 Avant, but fresh from the ground up it is.... Read More"