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First drive: Audi A4. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi A4
Meet the new Audi A4, same as the old Audi A4 (but better).

   



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Audi A4

4 4 4 4 4

We weren't really expecting any surprises in the impressive new Audi A4 saloon, but then its predictability is part of its huge appeal.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi A4 2.0 TDI ultra Sport
Price: 30,100
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 99g/km
Combined economy: 74.3mpg
Top speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,250- to 4,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,500- to 3,250rpm

What's this?

Quite obviously the new A4, as Audi has hardly gone to town on the styling, despite it being an all-new car. Conservatism in the compact exec class is normal though, driven by the desire not to upset customers in what's a hugely competitive and lucrative marketplace. So the new Audi A4 is entirely predictable; it's bigger, better equipped, more economical and tax friendlier, all things that matter to buyers in this class. It's as beautifully built as ever too, with an interior quality, fit, finish and design that's still very much at the top of the class. In ultra 2.0-litre TDI specification with a six-speed manual transmission it's a 99g/km 74.3mpg car. Officially that is, though expect an easy 60mpg in real world driving, and a bit less if you've got the stopwatch out trying to match that 8.9-second 0-62mph time.

How does it drive?

Forget about the A4 challenging for outright class honours in terms of driver engagement, mainly because it's front-wheel drive while its BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar rivals all use rear-wheel drive. Thing is, 99 per cent of buyers in this sector don't really care. In fairness, it does drive with a new found verve, being far more entertaining than its predecessor. There's more grip, greater enthusiasm to turn in and some impressively roll-free cornering even when you get ambitious with the speed. What there's not is much in the way of feel from the steering, but it's undeniably accurate. The suspension, sampled here in Sport trim, which does without any firmer damping or the biggest wheels, is commendably compliant, without the sometimes busy, intrusive feel of its predecessor.

The 2.0-litre TDI unit's a proven engine and it's certain to power all but a handful of A4s that roll out of UK showrooms. Smooth and punchy, it's an easy drive, while the manual transmission - a necessity if you want sub-100g/km CO2 (the seven-speed auto bumps it up to 101g/km) - is slick enough in its action with decent weight and precision.

What really stands out is the A4's refinement. Audi has strived to give the A4 levels of hushed serenity to match its A8 saloon, and it's succeeded. That silence, combined with the beautiful cabin and greater interior space (rear seat passengers are now far better accommodated), gives the A4 a feeling of luxury that makes it a different proposition altogether in the compact executive class. Rather than a car chasing its rivals on dynamic ability.

Verdict

The same, but different, then, as we all anticipated. What's obvious though is that Audi has taken its A4 in a slightly new direction, and one that's likely to be welcomed by both existing and potential customers. It's undeniably sharper to drive than before, but the key gain is in its refinement, which combines with its beautiful interior, increased space and plentiful standard kit to create a car that feels far more luxurious and cosseting than anything it competes against. While its rivals chase outright dynamic prowess, Audi has convincingly taken the A4 somewhere else, which is no bad thing.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 11 Sep 2015



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2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.

2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.2015 Audi A4. Image by Richard Pardon.



2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A4. Image by Audi.
 






 

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