Believe it or not, this is the brand new Audi A4. It looks a lot like the old one from the outside, but there are significant changes underneath the familiar metal skin of Audi’s mid-size executive car. So let’s take a look around it.
WHAT STANDS OUT
The A4’s sophisticated good looks only needed a few subtle tweaks to maintain its understated, up to date appearance. Audi’s minimalist approach to styling includes really nicely resolved design features like the LED headlights and taillights.
What’s most important about the A4 today is that it’s never been more impressive to drive, or better equipped. All models have a big, and innovative, range of safety features including automatic emergency braking and eight airbags.
As we’ve come to expect from Audi, the A4’s spacious interior is finished with an OCD level of attention to detail. The look and feel is modern, functional and luxurious, and all models are well specced with leather upholstery, electric sports seats, multi-zone climate control for front and rear passengers, and a large centre screen for satellite navigation and multimedia systems, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The car can even store up to 10GB of your favourite playlists.
While Audi hasn’t skimped on safety gear, there are a few features, like the 360 degree camera system, that cost extra in the A4, while some rivals get it standard. Also optional is Audi’s stunning digital instrument cluster called Virtual Cockpit.
This particular car is low on optional extras, and doesn’t feel as special as it could, so it’s easy to imagine adding a lot to the A4’s purchase price by indulging in luxuries.
The A4 comes in sedan and wagon body styles, and has a range of quality engines to choose from. The 1.4-litre turbo petrol makes a smooth entry level option, and for distance travellers there’s a 2.0-litre diesel that’s very frugal on fuel.
Our pick, though, is the 2.0-litre turbo petrol. In particular the 2.0 TFSI quattro model with its all-wheel drive grip and higher power output. It’s the best of all to drive. Every A4 uses a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
As for essential extras, the A4’s ride can feel choppy if you don’t opt for adaptive dampers, especially in cars riding on larger wheel and tyre packages. The added comfort of adaptive dampers completes the car and is worth the additional spend.
Other than that it’s really down to budget and taste. Available at extra cost is everything from an S-line package that makes your A4 look sportier, to rear seat tray tables and deluxe items like a head-up display, sunroof, heated and cooled seats, premium leather and wood trim, and a high-end sound system.
The Audi A4 is a talented and worthy competitor for the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Its sleek interior is bursting with safety tech, and dynamically it’s better than it’s ever been. If your budget stretches to include a few of the bells and whistles, then the A4 deserves to be on your shopping list.