Audi A4 review - refined and composed, but is the new A4 fun?

Dan Prosser
17 Nov 2016
Verdict:

Whether it's the Saloon, Avant or Allroad, this is the best A4 yet

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
From £26,350
For 
Much improved ride and handling, great cabin, tempting tech
Against 
Blink-and-you'll-miss-it styling, no steering feel

Audi’s latest generation of the A4 is its best yet, but while it won’t thrill quite like a BMW 3-series or Jaguar XE down your local B-roads, it’s talented enough. The A4 is practical, especially in Avant and Allroad form, so will appeal to your more sensible side.

The styling has only changed little from the previous model – some call it timeless and refined, others dull – the cabin is relentlessly logical and simple in its execution, and the powertrain options are effective yet unremarkable.

As such, it remains a car you’ll opt for with your head rather than your heart, whether you select the sensible 2-litre diesels, or the high-output 2.0 TFSI and 3.0 TDI options. But whichever you do opt for, you’ll find a car whose talents are broader than before, with improved ride and handling, greater efficiency and some highly appealing technological additions – notably, dynamic LED lighting and Audi’s neat ‘Virtual Cockpit’. In all, it provides a solid basis for the inevitable S4 and RS4 variants in future.

Audi A4: in detail

Performance and 0-60mph time > 3.0 V6 TDI is currently the quickest A4, with a 5.3sec 0-62mph time. The petrol engines are punchy too, and all deliver competitive performance figures.

Engine and gearbox > Diesels make up the majority of the range, with 2- and 3-litre capacity options. A 2-litre petrol is also available. Manual and dual-clutch transmissions are available throughout, with an 8-speed auto on the 3.0 TDI and Quattro available on all but the entry-level 1.4. 

Ride and handling > Not class-leading, but far better than before. The A4 now has great ride quality, and steering is much improved. Quattro all-wheel drive offers typical all-weather grip and traction. 

MPG and running costs > The entry-level 2.0 TDI Ultra dips under the free-VED 100g/km barrier. All models are frugal though, with over 55mpg even in the V6 diesel. 

Interior and tech > Here's one area that rivals still can't match - the serene, understated elegance of Audi's cabins. Optional Virtual Cockpit works brilliantly and looks fantastic. 

Design > You'll play spot-the-difference with the old car, but at least the barely-changed silhouette now results in a drag coefficient of 0.23.

Prices, specs and rivals

The A4 Saloon starts at £26,350, which buys the 1.4-litre petrol model. The big seller is likely to be the 2-litre TDI Ultra Sport, which starts at £31,315. This particular model will appeal to business users with its impressive 99g/km CO2 emissions rating.

The priciest version in the current range is the Allroad that starts from £36,010. All models come loaded with kit as standard – think three-zone climate control, Audi drive select, cruise control and keyless go.

Opt for higher trim levels or tick the options list with carefree abandon and prices can rise quite quickly, but there are some tempting options – particularly the Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster first seen in the Audi TT. Matrix LED headlights are also tempting, with an excellent light output and the ability to adjust the beam around oncoming vehicles.

The A4 faces some seriously stiff opposition. Neither the 3-series nor the C-class can match it for tech and cabin quality, but the BMW is the sharper steer and the Mercedes is just as luxurious. The Jaguar XE makes a strong claim for being the dynamic class leader, but its cabin falls a long way short of the A4’s.

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