Audi A4 Review - While crossovers and SUVs might be flavour of the month with buyers, the big German manufacturers still see executive saloons as critical to their success. So, this latest Audi A4 has a tough fight on its hands against some of the world’s best: the 3 Series, C-Class and all-new British upstart, the Jaguar XE. To win over customers, Audi has gone all out on its interior quality, smartphone connectivity and refinement. In fact, this run-of-the-mill A4 is about as quiet on the motorway as the A8 luxury saloon. Audi is already known for its great interiors, but even by its own high standards, the A4 is on another level. It looks incredibly smart in here, with a wing-shaped dashboard sweeping across the cabin. The large centre console is stylish and functional with the gear selector in this automatic doubling up as a hand rest when you’re using the MMI controller. Every button oozes quality, and little touches like the climate control icons which expand as you reach for them, just help to set the experience apart.
Even the SE trim gets a seven-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with rear parking sensors. Unlike the 3 series, sat-nav isn’t standard, it’s fitted when you step up to the Sport trim, which also adds sports seats, a three-spoke steering wheel and better speakers. Choose the S line and you’ll get LED headlights and sweeping rear indicators, 18-inch wheels, sports suspension and a body kit. Of course, being an Audi there are plenty of options, like the Virtual Cockpit which we’ve already heaped praise on in the TT and Q7. Hop in the back, and the A4 has become more spacious, with 23mm extra legroom. It’s wider as well and you can sit three back here, so some may even question if they need the larger A6, when the A4 is this accomodating.
As for the boot, it’s on a par with rivals and beats the XE, with 480 litres of space behind the folding rear seats. Of course, this being the saloon, the boot opening is wide, but its height is somewhat restrictive, so if that’s an issue you’ll be better off with the Avant estate with its larger hatchback. There are a couple of things you need to know about the A4. Firstly, it’s over 100kg lighter than before, and secondly it is incredibly aerodynamic, helping it cut very cleanly through the air. Now, along with improved suspension, you can really sense this as you drive, because the A4 both feels lighter on its feet and much quieter than before. In fact, this car is fitted with glazed noise-reducing side and rear windows, and at almost any speed it’s serene inside the cabin.
We just drove to London and back in the same day for an event, and after 400-miles and about 8 hours behind the wheel, the lack of fatigue was really noticeable. Every part of the car, including these door-mounted and ridged door mirrors has been fine-tuned to reduce turbulence, cutting wind noise. There are of course lots of options to go for, including manual or automatic, diesel or petrol and front or Quattro four-wheel drive, so Audi has most bases covered. This car could be the pick of the bunch though, it’s the 2.0-litre TDI with 187bhp, front-wheel drive and an automatic. It gets from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds so feels plenty fast enough, the auto suits the A4 far better than the manual and you can still return 67.3mpg.
The 148bhp Ultra diesel might be even greener, but the step up in performance here is noticeable. The steering isn’t dripping with feel, but it’s accurate, and while the A4 never feels playful like the XE or 3 Series, it just gets you down the road with minimum fuss and in comfort. Yes, even with this S line sport suspension and optional 19-inch wheels, it rides pretty well, and comfort or adaptive suspension is available to make it even better. The A4 1.4-litre petrol starts from just under £26k, which gets you get an incredible amount of car for the money.
This 2.0 TDI S line S tronic costs from £33,345, although this one has some quite pricey options, taking it up to £40k. It compares well with rivals though, even undercutting the C-Class slightly. The new A4 might look quite similar, but it is a very different beast. The way it drives, its refinement, efficiency and technology have all been given a major upgrade. Not only that, but the interior is a sensational place to spend time. It might not excite like the 3 Series or XE can, but if you spend more time on motorways than an idyllic mountain pass, the A4 will make a great companion and you might even start accepting far-flung meetings all over the country. Thanks for coming in Audi A4 Review.