It’s a year since dieselgate, the Volkswagen Group emissions scandal that looks to have already cost it tens of billions of pounds. And all to save a bit of dosh on TDI diesels for the North America.
The lawyers are going to argue about the repercussions for years, but the immediate implication is the castigation of diesel. Clean Diesel? Contradiction in terms, mate. Once again, you have to apologise for filling up from the black pump.
From nudging over more than half of the new car market, diesel’s share is dropping back as petrol is suddenly back on the choice list. And I’ve already jumped ship.
- Audi A4 2.0 TDI ultra SE review: 2015 first drive
- Porsche vindicated? 718 Boxster S scores top ‘A’ rating for NOx emissions
- New 2016 Audi A4 revealed: yes, this really is it
I had my pick of the new Audi A4 range this time round. How could I resist that V6 3.0 TDI? Or maybe the omnipresent and ever-strong 2.0 TDI? Nope, I’ve gone TFSI turbo petrol. And not only have I switched fuel, I’ve downsized in the process.
Say hello to my Audi A4 1.4 TFSI 150.
Yes, that is an Audi fitted with the engine from a Seat Ibiza. Yes, I have been questioning my wisdom, given the amount of motorway miles I drive. But there’s only one way to find out if such radical downsizing works, and that’s to give it a go for six months.
So here we are. First impressions? The new A4 is as sleek as I remembered from the UK launch event. No, it’s not a stylistic revolution, but the interior is certainly a quantum leap over the old one, and probably the finest automotive interior this side of £50k. Maybe £75k. It’s divine.
My chosen spec is Sport, which brings subtle and very Audi-like enhancements, such as more chrome at the front end and a neat set of 17″s. I like subtle colours and blue cars, so I went for subtle blue and, sparkling-fresh with just over 100 miles on the odo, it looks pure class.
And it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s packing a tiny over-boosted engine during the relaxed use I’m currently giving it. You’d swear it’s a 1.8T, not a 1.4T, and the turbo install has been tuned such that the desperate dependence on the turbo you sometimes sense in, say, a 1.0T Ford Focus is barely a factor here. It feels natural. It feels like it could work, you know.
I’m now going to find out, after following the handbook to the letter and running it in gently: no more than 4k revs, no labouring at low revs, no use of more than three-quarters throttle. The next owner will thank me, I’m sure.
Getting over 1,000 miles won’t take long, mind. Come back in a few weeks for an update.
Oh, and you didn’t think I’ll leave a long-term update without mentioning economy, did you? Of course not. And first signs are looking good…