Audi A4 Saloon Review
Audi’s A4 Saloon lineup features engines with plenty of power, combined with better fuel economy.
- Plenty of onboard technology
- More power with increased economy
- Strong residual values
- SE trim seats can be uncomfortable
Audi model numbers are increasing and their lineup features a premium car to suit any style, it can’t be denied that you’d be stuck for choice.
In the popular saloon segment it’s the A4 which fits the brief and although the first one came onto the scene in 1994 it’s still going strong and now into its fifth generation. Offering plenty of onboard technology and driver assistance systems, how does the A4 compare to its rivals?
On the Road
Audi increased the power across their engine range with two petrol engines to choose from, the 1.4-litre TFSI and the 2.0-litre. The 150 PS 1.4-litre has a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds with 250 Nm of torque available. There is a 190 PS 2.0-litre and the quattro version that has 252 PS, a power increase of 12% over the previous model that will get to 62mph in 5.8 seconds.
The 2.0-litre TDI ultra is a diesel engine available either as 150 PS or 190 PS which leads the way in power and CO2 emissions in its class.If you want more power then there is a 3.0-litre TDI which produces either 218PS or 272 PS with a whopping 600Nm of torque.
There are various transmission options including a six-speed manual, a quick and seamless seven-speed S tronic automatic and an eight-speed tiptronic. These can be worked by using steering wheel paddle shifts or a joystick which has options to ratio the gears for low fuel consumption and engine speeds, or alternatively for sportier driving and higher engine speeds.
Based on an entirely new platform the ride is really comfortable with the front and rear suspension being developed to give drivers and passengers an improved ride. An option on the Audi A4 is an Adaptive comfort suspension with damping control and if buyers select the S Line trim it will come with a Sport suspension which lowers it by 20mm.
It is up to 120kg lighter than the outgoing model, it never feels heavy despite its increased size dimensions but steering can feel a bit laboured at times so you have to over correct on the tight, twisty roads. There are many ways to change driving dynamics of the Audi A4 saloon with the Audi Drive Select system.
The Audi A4 saloon really does set the bar in terms of refinement for this saloon, the petrol engines are really quiet at high speeds and the diesels don’t produce that gruffiness you often get as you set off. Cabin noise is far from intrusive as Audi have produced a windscreen with acoustic glazing, so the drive is as pleasant as you would get in one of the more luxurious and larger models like the Audi A8.
In the car
With a newly designed cabin for the fifth generation Audi A4 saloon it is another impressive feature of the car. There is plenty of technology on the car, S Line trim adds the unique Virtual Cockpit which set the bar when it was launched on the TT. With highly stunning graphics, the 12.3-inch screen revolutionises the instrument dials. A colour heads up display provides navigation for the driver alongside a seven-inch colour Driver Information System.
For passengers there is an 8.3-inch monitor in the centre console that can be operated by the innovative MMI Touch system.
For the smartphone brigade an option is the Audi phone box hidden in the front, centre armrest which enables you to wirelessly charge your phone on the move.
There is plenty of standard equipment available on the entry level SE model which includes 17- inch wheels, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, Audi drive select, three-zone climate control, Audi smartphone interface, seven-inch colour MMI monitor, although the seats can be uncomfortable in this trim and they have to be adjusted manually with a lack of lumbar support.
The Audi A4 saloon is longer and wider and the wheelbase has increased by 12mm to 2820mm. It offers plenty of space as rear headroom has increased by 24mm with legroom an extra 23mm, four adults can sit in comfort without feeling cramped.
There is a deep luggage space which holds 480 litres and is larger than the rival Jaguar XE. For larger items the saloon has split folding rear seats which increases the boot space to 965-litres.
The Audi A4 saloon costs from £27,810 which is priced well against its rivals. Leading trade guide CAP Monitor predict that it will have strong residual values with 39% of the original on the road price retained after 36 months or 60,000 miles.
The Audi A4 saloon has been manufactured to be upto 21% more economical without forgoing power. A Start-Stop with coasting function system and cruise control with freewheeling mode all help with the economy figures, a diagram on the Virtual Cockpit even tells you when to decelerate as you approach a roundabout.
The 2.0-litre TDI Ultra 150PS model emits just 99g/km of CO2 with Audi reckoning it can achieve a combined 74.3mpg but realistically it will fall around the mid fifty mark.
Even the 3.0 TDI quattro only emits 119g/km of CO2.
Audi quality is very high, everything feels robust and built to last. Chrome and aluminium interior inlays in some trim levels really make the Audi A4 saloon feel much more luxurious than it is. Audi have set the standard with quality regardless of what model it is in their range.
The Audi A4 saloon has struggled in the reliability stakes, it only scored 76th place in last year’s JD Power Survey but this latest version looks hopefully set to improve on that as owners didn’t rate it too highly for running costs. But on a positive note the model did win Best Compact Executive Car of the Year in 2017 in the What Car? Awards.
The previous generation took full marks in the Euro NCAP tests so this new Audi A4 saloon is mostly likely to do the same. It comes with six airbags and includes a long list of driver assistance systems thanks to sensors that are found all around the car. Some of those include Turn Assist which gives the driver a warning if there are cyclists or pedestrians at the front or side of the car that haven’t been spotted, parking will be a doddle with plenty of systems to aid manoeuvring the car into a space, Collision avoidance and Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic jam assist are ideal for the early morning drive into work making this Audi A4 saloon very technologically advanced.