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Audi A4 2020 Review

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

£15,770
Average Price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • High-quality interior
  • Very refined
  • Roomy interior

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Hesitant gearboxes
  • No plug-in hybrid option
  • MPG

    40 - 72

  • CO2

    98 - 163 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

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.

It continues to be Audi’s best-selling car to date, with more than 7.5m A4s produced over the past 25 years and nearly 350,000 are now made each year, even as more buyers consider SUVs rather than traditional saloons and estates. Thanks to sporty S and RS models helping build its appeal, the A4 remains a seriously desirable choice – offering something for all, especially with the quattro all-wheel-drive derivatives. 

The current generation car has been around since 2015, and while still impressing with its high-quality interior and upmarket image, just about all its key rivals have been updated in that time. Not least the BMW 3 Series – the A4’s arch-nemesis – which saw a new generation debut at the start of 2019. 

Latest model

Hot on the heels of the new BMW 3 Series, Audi introduced its updated A4 in May 2019, with first deliveries arriving in the late autumn. In true Audi fashion, it’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ update – not least with the styling. 

Changes include fancier LED lights, a larger singleframe grille and revised bumpers, while on the interior, Audi has removed its previous rotary dial-controlled media system with a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen, while bringing more standard kit including the fantastic digital Virtual Cockpit system. 

There’s also a pair of new trim levels joining the line-up – one sitting at the bottom (Technik) and the other right at the top as a pricey but seriously well-equipped trim (Vorsprung), along with new mild-hybrid powertrains. 

Value for money

When it comes to starting prices for the A4, it’s pretty much bang on the money against rivals, with versions available from £30,750. It puts it right in the middle between the cheaper Mercedes C-Class and pricier BMW 3 Series

That figure also gets you a really well-equipped Technik version, which comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, digital dials, LED headlights and a reversing camera. Technik and Sport versions offer the greatest value, though S line models make plenty of sense, too, if you want that more aggressive styling. However, flagship Vorsprung models are seriously expensive – costing nearly £50,000, even when equipped with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that you could find in Audi’s entry-level A1 supermini. 

With five generations of A4, there is no shortage of used options, with early examples available from as little as £1,000. Don’t be afraid of high-mileage diesel versions, either – just as long as they’re well-maintained. Fifth-generation A4s start from just £10,000 for a 2016 car with 100,000 miles on the clock/ And despite its premium image, there are some serious savings to be had off the list price – up to £8,000 on nearly-new examples. 

Video Review

Looks and image

If you’re looking for a premium image, few cars are better at it than the A4. With its fancy LED lights that offer an immediately recognisable ‘Audi’ signature at both the front and rear and large grille, this is a seriously classy-looking car. Sure, it’s hard to spot the difference with its predecessor, but that’s hardly a bad thing. If you want stylish looks, it’s worth upgrading to the sportier S line and Black Edition models. 

The classy image also extends to the cabin, with the A4 having one of the best interiors in this class – in fact it’s unrivalled when it comes to the quality of the materials used throughout. Some might mourn the loss of the traditional rotary controller to use the infotainment system (something still found on the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series), but the 10.1-inch touchscreen is easy to use and handles a whole host of functions. 

Behind the wheel the A4 has always been the safe choice; it’s the one for those wanting comfort and refinement more than outright sporty thrills, and that continues on this facelifted model. The ride can be a touch firm on S line versions, but it remains comfortable and compliant, and is a brilliant motorway or long-distance cruiser. The only real gripe with the drive is the automatic gearboxes, which are frustratingly slow to respond. It’s a trait found across Audi’s full range, though, and while annoying, you learn to adjust the in-built delay in the transmission. 

Space and practicality

The latest generation of A4 is more spacious than its predecessor, and it certainly makes this Audi an impressive family choice, and a great alternative to an SUV or crossover. 

Even those that are six-feet tall will be able to sit comfortably in the back, with excellent levels of both headroom and legroom, while roominess in the front has improved as well. 

In terms of boot space, the A4 has a 480-litre boot, which is identical to that of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. While saloon cars are never the most practical choices for loading bulky items, the A4 gets folding rear seats to improve practicality. 

Engines

A great selection of petrol and diesel A4s are available, though all are now four-cylinder and there’s no plug-in hybrid option like you find on the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class

Three petrol versions are offered, and all use 2.0-litre units. The line-up begins with the 148bhp 35 TFSI, which comes with either a six-speed manual gearbox (it’s the only non-auto version available) or a seven-speed S tronic automatic – this being found in every A4 model on this list from now on. Even this entry-level version delivers decent performance, with 0-60mph taking 8.4 seconds, though a 187bhp 40 TFSI and 242bhp 45 TFSI models are also offered. The latter is the quickest of all A4s, wth 0-60mph taking 5.6 seconds. 

If you’d prefer a diesel, there are again three 2.0-litre units to choose from – the 134bhp 30 TDI, 161bhp 35 TDI and 187bhp 35 TDI. While the most efficient, the 30 TDI feels a bit underpowered for a car of this size, so we’d recommend the mid-spec 35 TDI, which can hit 60mph in a respectable eight seconds. 

Running costs

With no hybrid derivative, the A4 isn’t quite as appealing as its rivals when it comes to running costs – especially for company car drivers, who value the low CO2 emissions that equate to cheap company car tax. 

So, the diesels are the best option for low running costs – particularly the 30 TDI and 35 TDI, which return a claimed 55.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 134g/km. On a longer journey, we wouldn't be surprised if you saw 60mpg, though. 

The petrol options aren’t quite so efficient and are likely to return fuel economy in the high 30s, with much higher CO2 emissions as well. That said, they are cheaper to buy in the first place. 

Things to look out for

Despite Audi’s premium stance, its models aren’t always reliable as you might expect – the A4 has been ranked quite poorly in recent reliability surveys. Key concerns have been voiced about powertrain vibrations and shudders, so it’s worth having any vehicle mechanically inspected or taking out an aftermarket warranty (if Audi’s warranty has expired) for extra peace of mind. 

Rivals

Despite the rise of SUVs, the saloon market remains a popular one, with the three leaders continuing to be this Audi, alongside its seriously close competitors – the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes E-Class

If you value driving enjoyment, take a look at the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE (both of which are superb behind the wheel), while if you want something a bit more comfortable take a look at the Volvo S60. If you’re not so fussed about the badge, the Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat are more affordable and seriously credible saloons. 

Depreciation 

Despite the A4’s upmarket appeal, values aren’t quite as strong as you might anticipate, with models having steep depreciation in the first year. It’s worth checking out nearly-new versions to help counteract that or look at the more desirable S line versions, which hold their value much better. 

Which A4 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

35 TFSI Technik 4dr

Most MPG

35 TDI Technik 4dr S Tronic [Comfort+Sound]

Fastest Model (0-60)

40 TFSI 204 Sport 4dr S Tronic

Trims Explained

Five trim levels are available on the A4, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.

Technik

Even entry-level A4s come well-equipped, with standard kit including 17-inch alloy wheels, Audi Drive Select, LED headlights, electrically folding door mirrors and heated front seats with electric lumbar support. You also get climate control, a leather steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital Virtual Cockpit and a 10.1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, a host of connected functions and smartphone mirroring. Other highlights include a reversing camera, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.

From £30,760

Sport

The Sport brings larger 18-inch alloy wheels, LED interior lighter, aluminium interior inlays and part-leather seats, along with a sportier look.

From £32,435

S line

Upgrade to the popular S line grade and it adds larger 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded LED lights with scrolling rear indicators along with a more aggressive and sportier styling pack. Elsewhere it gets leather and Alcantara seats, a black headlining, stainless steel pedals and a perforated leather steering wheel, while the suspension is lowered by 23mm.

From £34,685

Black Edition

The Black Edition brings extra style thanks to its matt 19-inch alloy wheels, black styling pack, black interior trim and flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.

From £35,935

Vorsprung

At the top of the line-up, the Vorsprung comes laden with extra kit. It gains adaptive sports suspension, clever Matrix LED headlights, an electric sunroof and leather upholstery. It also comes with electric front seats, heated rear seats, an extended leather pack, wireless phone charging and a Bang & Olusfen sound system. It also features a whole host of extra safety kit – including adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, collision avoidance assist, lane change assist, along with park assist, a head-up display and a 360-degree camera system.

From £46,135

Summary

  1. High-quality interior
  2. facelifted in 2019
  3. Latest generation arrived in 2015
  4. Classy styling
  5. Good choice of petrol and diesel engines…
  6. But no hybrid available
  7. Efficient diesel interiors
  8. Roomy interior
  9. Attractive starting prices
  10. Lots of standard kit
  11. The A4 remains one of the best premium saloon cars

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