All are quick
Well kitted out
Great value, resale
Superb to drive, well made, great engines
No S or RS yet
Ride can be stiff
Not huge inside
Lots optional, too
Ride can be choppy
Costly options, low-speed ride, unadventurous styling
From a distance it's difficult to tell the difference between the old A4 and the all-new one. The bonnet is longer, there's curvier sheetmetal and the rear has much better detailing, but it's still very much an A4. It isn't the head-turner the A5 is but it's still a handsome car in its own right.
When the base model needs only 9 secs to sprint from 0-100km/h then you know the A4 isn't going to be short of pace. 2.0 TDi reaches 100km/h in 9.4 secs but is very quick on the open road. The 2.7 and 3.0 TDis are plain fast - off the line and when overtaking. Not even the 3.2 can match the 3.0TDi.
Where the A4 really surprises is in terms of handling. With the engine now located behind the front axle the A4 is transformed, turning in, gripping and communicating better than even the 3-Series - and that's just the front drivers. Quattro models are staggeringly good to drive.`
We know the A4's cabin from the A5 and A6 before that and the good news is we still love it. It has an upscale look and feel while remaining functional and unpretentious. Everything is where it should be, although the arrival of the MMI on-screen controls means it's not as user-friendly as before.
At the moment Audi is probably the most consistent car company when it comes to quality. The A4 is exquisitely made with tightly fitting soft-touch plastics and tiny panel gaps in the sheetmetal. It's a fine cruiser, too, but bigger wheels can make the low-speed ride choppy.
Every A4 comes with ESP, six airbags (no knee 'bags, rear side 'bags optional), free ISOFIX (they have to be specified), anti-whiplash seats and pedestrian protection. Expect a comfortable 5 Star NCAP score. Lane departure warning, parking sensors, active cruise are options.
No car in the small executive class is exactly dripping in space but at least the A4 is competitive now. Rear space is on a par with the class best while the boot is, as usual, vast. Front space is abundant and there are lots of useful cubbies. Folding rear seats are most welcome too.
The A4 is great value and compares well not only to the old model but also to rivals. The basic models undercuts its core rivals but several grand but offers better performance and high equipment levels. Running costs shouldn't be too horrific while depreciation is likely to be slow.
All A4s now come with electric windows, electric mirrors, remote locking, ESP, air conditioning as standard. Basic models don't get alloy wheels but they are cheaper than rivals for a reason. The options list is long and tempting, though, so don't go crazy. Sat nav is E4,500!
Audi's engine range is perfect for a modern executive car. The base engines are clean yet powerful 1.8 turbo units, with 120 and 160hp. The 2.0 TDi pounds out 143 and 170hp with more to come, with the 2.7 and 3.0 TDi V6s are both quick and frugal. The render fine 3.2 V6 superfluous.