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Classy new Audi A4 has all-round appeal

08:15 12 October 2015

New A4 is better in every department which makes this cornerstone of the Audi range an impressive all-rounder.

New A4 is better in every department which makes this cornerstone of the Audi range an impressive all-rounder.

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Its key rivals have been upgraded or are brand new, so it’s time for the latest-generation Audi A4 to take a bow, says Matt Joy.

What’s new?

Audi’s A4 has been the cornerstone of its remarkable success in the premium segment.

The Audi has an all-new body, boasting the lowest drag coefficient in the class, new engines, a new cabin with lots of clever new technology and the underpinnings come from the latest generation of shared architecture. Expectations are high.

Audi A4

Price: Audi A4 2.0 TDI Ultra SE, £29,150 (range from £25,900)

ENGINE: 2.0-litre, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox driving front wheels

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph 8.9 seconds; top speed 130mph

MPG: 74.3 combined

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Looks and image

You won’t mistake this car for anything other than an A4 – exactly how Audi wants it – but it’s slicker with a sharper front end and the back has more purpose than the outgoing car. You need a decent size of alloy wheel but it cuts more of a dash in the car park.

The recognition you get with those four rings and trapezoidal grille are a big part of Audi’s strong image.

Space and practicality

The A4 is a compact saloon but can better accommodate passengers and luggage. Incremental improvements in legroom, headroom and boot space all add up to a cabin that is pleasingly spacious without sacrificing the feelgood factor.

In fact the new cabin design has an impressive stripped-down look, with just the MMI control and the climate buttons to disturb the clean appearance. You can have a virtual cockpit that replaces the analogue dials with a configurable screen.

Behind the wheel

The A4 is up to 120kg lighter and the new chassis and suspension set-up mean dynamic improvements.

The impressive ride quality is markedly smoother and more controlled. Audi is pitching the A4 as a ‘mini-A8’ and the unfussed ride quality and impressive noise reduction go a long way to fulfilling that ideal. Even so, the new A4 handles and steers with pleasing accuracy and engagement.

There’s a whole suite of engines, many wearing the high-efficiency ‘Ultra’ tag, but the 2.0-litre 150PS diesel is likely to be one of the most popular. Smooth at low revs, it gives more than sufficient performance and impressive economy.

Value for money

The entry-level model gets 17in alloy wheels, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, three-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and the seven-inch infotainment screen. There’s tons of extra kit you can add, including traffic jam assist which will brake and accelerate for you and also keep you in lane in slow-moving traffic.

Who would buy one?

The competition is fierce in this segment and this new A4 improves on the old car in all the obvious ways – technology, weight and efficiency – but is also better looking and better to drive. It’s still not the last word in driving pleasure but arguably it is the best all-rounder without any discernable compromises.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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