The A4 was originally launched in bread and butter SE trim only. Ian Robertson tests the sportier S line variant
In the past, if you were looking for an executive saloon, the first three cars that spring to mind were the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and of course the Audi A4. And while the BMW is renowned as being a fantastic driver’s car, and the Merc for its luxury, the Audi has fallen someway in the middle, in no-mans land. Audi sought to tackle that problem head on when it launched an all-new Audi A4 at the end of 2007.
The question is – has it worked? Well the driving experience is much improved, with exceptional performance from the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine. Its power delivery is incredibly smooth, yet still gives a real kick in the back when the loud pedal is pressed, thanks to the generous amounts of torque. The torque is available low down in the rev range, at just 1,500rpm, so there’s minimal turbo lag. The zero to 62.5mph dash is completed in just 6.1 seconds, before powering onto a limited 155mph top speed. The quality and finish of the interior is exquisite, with a clean dashboard design focussed towards the driver.
The driving position offers all manner of adjustment, meaning that it’s easy to get comfortable and all of the controls are clear and to hand. For instance, Audi’s MMI system fitted to our test car is much easier to use than BMW’s iDrive; with a colour screen, together with satellite navigation, it has easy to understand navigation paths. There’s plenty of room inside, both front and back, although the pedals seem a touch cramped for those with large feet, and seem to be offset a little.
Out of the big three, the Audi is the cheapest, saving between £1,000 and £500 compared to the 330d M Sport and C 320 CDI Sport. As you would expect for that kind of money, equipment levels are good with the distinctive LED daytime running lights fitted as standard, along with xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, half leather sports seats and sports suspension. There’s also tri-zone climate control, automatic wipers and headlights and auto-dimming mirror. According to the trade guides, the A4 is expected to hold its value better than both the 3 Series and C-Class, and that coupled with its lower list price, makes it a solid and dependable buy. CO2 Emissions are competitive at 172g/km, beating the Merc, but not quite as good as the EfficientDynamics equipped BMW.
RIVALS: Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTDM TI, BMW 330d M Sport , Mercedes -Benz C 320 CDI Sport
- Engine: 2967cc, 6 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 237bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 369lb ft at 1,500-3,000rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 2,100kg
- Combined Consumption: 42.8mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 172g/km (I)
- 0-62mph: 6.1secs
- Max speed: 155
Quality, performance, smooth engine, easy to use MMI system, roomy interior
Cramped pedals, CO2 emissions can’t quite match the BMW 330d