That’s a fair question and I know what my answer would be. There are of course many Audi A4 variants. Audi do not miss a trick when it comes to offering something for everyone on every model. In this case the car on test is an A4 saloon with a 2.0L TFSI 248bhp (252PS) quattro S-tronic in S-Line trim. It has got the lot. If you check out the options list below I cannot frankly see anything I would like to add, except maybe Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which is the best thing since sliced bread. I would also like to specify a lower price.
At £37,345 the Audi A4 is good value but if you want the extras listed – and you do, you really do – the final bill is a buttock-clenching ten grand more. I guess it is the same old story; if you want quality and a prestige badge then you have to pay for it. Ah, well; holidays in Skegness again this year. At least we’ll get there in style.
I once owned an Audi 80 (which morphed into the A4) and that, for its time, was brilliant too. It never let me down despite being an old car. I would love to drive that car again, back to back with this one. It’s been a progression over four generations and each time when you think it just cannot get any better, it does.
The Audi A4 makes for a great executive motor. Stick a decent diesel in it and it will be all set as a superb motorway cruiser, delivering many miles for every hard-earned gallon.
For preference though I requested a petrol engine this time and wasn’t disappointed with the outcome. Boy, can this car motor. There’s no hardcore RS trickery going on here; it’s just an efficient two litre four-cylinder motor with adaptive suspension that delivered a fuel consumption average just over 34mpg on some seriously mixed driving. I’m happy with that.
This engine is responsive and flexible and works well in conjunction with the seven-speed automatic gearbox. As usual you can shuffle through the settings – Normal, Comfort, Individual – but I felt the car was at its best left in Sport mode throughout where it seemed to shift more decisively, meaning I rarely bothered to move to the paddles for extra control. With 273 lb-ft (370Nm) of torque available acceleration from even low speed meant that overtaking was swift and safe.
How It Handles
Excluding the high-performance versions, with a car like the Audi A4, which is designed essentially to appeal to just about everybody all of the time, there must perforce have to be some compromises and there is here, but they are well judged.
Even with, on this model with quattro four-wheel drive and sports suspension, the car still feels like what it really wants to do is travel at very high speeds on the autoroutes of the world. Certainly grip is exceptional and handling is predictable but for me the steering (and I say this about almost everything I drive) is too light even when the rack weights up at speed. Overall though, it’s a solid and dependable package.
Other brands in this sector have cars that are more exciting to drive when a country road opens up before you and they all come from the rear-wheel drive stable. But when there’s a need to get from London to Liverpool as if life depended on it then I would reach for the Audi key.
I love the Audi A4 interior. It’s the best. Others are getting a bit dated or are too fussy but this car’s ergonomic dashboard is outstanding as is all the usual sophisticated technology on board. Seven inch infotainment, climate, Bluetooth; you know what to expect by now.
If you shun the options list come ordering time then at least go for the Nappa leather sports seats with lumbar support. Superb on adjustment, comfort and body grip. A perfect driving position achieved. You can thank me later.
It is an impressive interior all right, if a touch Teutonic. The whole inside of the Audi A4 shrieks quality. I cannot and will not fault it. Not even for a nit-picking reason. Occupant space is great upfront and perfectly fine for two in the back; three at a pinch. I tried the back seat and at 6ft had ample headroom. Truly lanky folk might feel the roof lining though. The boot is deep and spacious although as ever with a saloon, not quite as convenient as a hatch. Then again, the design necessary for a tailgate would mean that subtle, sleek shape would of necessity be compromised.
Would I Buy This Car?
In a heartbeat. You can say that, down a country lane, this equivalent from that brand will handle better and give more bang for the buck and that is probably true. Audi have that one covered with the RS cars anyway; but when you can have just one car then you have to give and take a little. It is my firm conviction that pound for pound the Audi A4 is the best all-rounder on the road today. There I said it. Geoff Maxted