The exterior of a white Audi A4

Audi A4 review

The Audi A4 is a premium, roomy and efficient compact saloon. It’s a great long-distance car that's superbly designed, highly comfortable and remarkably fuel efficient.

Pros

  • Upmarket looks set it apart
  • Luxurious and stylish interior
  • Diesel options offer great fuel economy

Cons

  • The design is quite conservative
  • The sports versions can feel uncomfortable
  • Premium image means premium prices

Summary

“The A4 is a seriously comfortable car that's perfect for long journeys. It has a superb interior and advanced tech options.”

Blending comfort, luxury and technology, the A4 is one of the best cars you can buy in this size and price bracket.

It's a seriously stylish choice that's also available in a classy Avant estate. The Allroad version is an estate with raised suspension and a SUV style body. This version is powered by Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system which is good on slippery roads during the winter months. It can also handle some mild off-road driving.  

Popular trims such as the Technik and Sport are less expensive, especially if you opt for one of the frugal diesel options. They’ve always come with an impressive list of tech, but the S Line and the range-topping Black Edition include even more features, such as bigger alloys and Alcantara seats.

Fascia shot of the Audi A4

What's the interior like?

“It’s hard not to be impressed by the A4’s interior. It’s beautifully designed and exceptionally well put together.”

The A4 is one of the nicest cars to sit in. Its minimalist dashboard has materials that look classy and are great to the touch.

Audi is an expert in state-of-the-art tech and the A4 is full of exciting features, such as the ten-inch colour display with sat nav and satellite view. Look out for a model with the optional Virtual Cockpit display - where configurable screens replace a traditional dashboard. It’s also worth looking out for the head-up display which projects information onto the windscreen, so you won’t have to look down to see what speed you’re doing.

Even if you’re not a technology fan, you’ll love the comfort and space of the A4. The seats have loads of adjustment options and are perfect for long journeys. There’s also plenty of headroom in the front and back, while the boot is roomy with a capacity of 480-litres which is enough space for three medium sized suitcases. It's even more practical if you opt for the stylish Avant model, which is possibly the best looking and most versatile estate available.

The interior of an Audi A4 with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What's it like to drive?

“The A4 is hugely relaxing to drive, but opting for the stylish S line means a trade-off in ride comfort.”

The Audi A4 is a superb motorway and long-distance car, thanks to its quiet cabin, accurate steering and comfortable ride. 

Although the popular S line version adds an extra element of sportiness, the bigger wheels and lower suspension will make it feel a little less comfortable. So if you’re more interested in comfort than style, it’s worth looking for the standard set-up.

Front-wheel-drive and 4x4 versions feel almost identical to drive, but the quattro all-wheel-drive suits all weathers and road surfaces.

The A4 may not be the most nimble compact executive car, but many will feel that it makes the A4 more relaxing to drive. Performance ranges from good to excellent, depending on the engine. There are four and six-cylinder options for both petrol and diesel drivers, and while all are smooth and responsive, the more powerful engines offer serious performance.

Boot space shot of the Audi A4

Is the Audi A4 cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Diesel options are frugal at the pumps, but purchase and running costs reflect Audi’s premium status.”

Economy has always been an A4 strength, particularly the diesels, and the latest engines are no exception. Petrol engines are thirstier, but still relatively economical unless you’re doing huge mileage.

For really economical motoring, a 2.0 TDI Ultra – Audi’s greenest A4 – first registered before April 2017, comes with free road tax thanks to its 99g/km CO2 emissions. High-spec A4s costing more than £40,000 will attract a £310 luxury car road tax supplement. 

Servicing will be pricier than mainstream rivals, especially if you use a franchised dealer, although three-year-old cars qualify for fixed price menu servicing. Insurance premiums will reflect the performance of the model you choose and could be significant.

Sat nav shot of the Audi A4

How reliable and safe is it?

“An array of technology takes care of safety, but reliability could be better.”

The Audi A4 has a premium image, but the Driver Power survey has suggested reliability isn’t quite up to the standard of Japanese rivals like the Lexus IS.

Safety isn’t in doubt as the A4 is available with the latest tech, including autonomous braking and traffic signal recognition depending on model and trim level. Autonomous braking allows the car to act independently of the driver to avoid an accident. The basic engineering is also sound and the A4 comes with a 5-star Euro NCAP test result.

Engine shot of the Audi A4

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 2.0 TDI Ultra

Best for family - Technik 35 TFSI

Best for fun - S4                      

SE models from Audi have always been carefully specified to provide maximum appeal and value, and that remains the case for used A4s. 

If you can find a diesel Ultra spec car, you’ll be delighted from an economy perspective, but this depends on whether you prefer petrol. The latest 35 TFSI is a winner for its mix of power and relative economy.

The Audi S4 is a performance icon, but you’ll need deep pockets to own one.

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