Polished compact exec
For: Equipment, cabin quality, efficient engines
Against: Understated styling, 3 Series is nicer to drive
Verdict: Almost the perfect compact executive car
Audi has spent millions of euros rejuvenating the A4, treating the compact executive to a comprehensive overhaul to close the gap to the new BMW 3 Series. Although it’s not immediately obvious, every body panel apart from the roof, bonnet and boot lid is new, while a revised engine line-up is greener yet faster. Every variant gets a new and improved Audi Virtual Cockpit digital cluster, along with full LED headlights and tail lights, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, sat nav and a reversing camera. Frankly, if you ordered a current Audi A4 before the 2019 update, you have every reason to feel a little hard done by.
There are seven turbocharged engines to choose from: three petrol and four diesel (the top-spec S4 is now a TDI). Nearly every A4 comes with an S tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, which has a clever free-wheeling facility to save fuel when cruising. Avoid the largest alloy wheels and the A4 delivers a nice, cushioned ride, especially if you opt for the adaptive suspension (available on the Vorsprung variant). It corners safely and accurately, with a safe and precise feel. For drivers who spend their time pounding the motorways of Britain, the A4 is a delight. For those who like to take the long way home, the BMW 3 Series remains the class leader.
Along with the saloon, the A4 is also available as an estate (Avant), with the Allroad offering some off-road ability to those who haven’t bought into the SUV craze. The S4 flagship is now powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, while the RS4 sits aside from the rest of the range as a performance halo model. Overall, the A4 offers class-leading levels of equipment and one of the nicest interiors at any price. But will enough people notice?
Due for replacement: 2021
Euro NCAP score: Five stars
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
Available body styles: Saloon and estate
Alternatives: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60
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