If you require a long introduction to the A4, you may want to read our last review before continuing on. Something about golf, perhaps – if you’re partial to 18 holes, you’ll probably be familiar with Audi’s best-selling product.

The A4 saloon, the estate-shaped Avant and the rebadged A5 coupé are virtually omnipresent in the car parks of the nation’s clubhouses.

The model, specifically the saloon, has not only been the firm’s mainstay for more than four decades but is also one of the primary reasons why Audi has managed to force its way into a buyer reckoning that previously included only BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Its family name has changed since then. It was originally the Audi 80, a car that moved through four generations (each of them a showcase for the innovations that would later become common traits of the four rings) before it was superseded by the A4 in the mid-1990s. The brand didn’t need all of the second two decades to shift five million examples.

Its huge success and instant familiarity have meant that Audi doesn’t strain itself in straying far from the script.

As you’ll have probably noticed, the new, fifth-generation model pictured is a dead ringer for its predecessor, and the claims made for it – an increase in size, dynamism, efficiency, luxuriousness and technology – were all trumpeted the previous time around, too. The saloon was swiftly followed by the Avant and Allroad models with the S4 readying itself to join the range in the near future.

However, that does not make them insignificant. Much like Volkwagen’s approach to the Golf (software code notwithstanding), Audi tends to be incredibly diligent with its endless strategy of improvement – and, as we are about to find out, there is a tremendous amount going on beneath the skin, not least the kind of weight loss that might just make good the engineers’ long-standing promise to make the A4 more compelling to drive.

Either way, the car will sell big.

To find out what our sister site, What Car? thought of the Audi A4, watch the video below.

Top 5 Compact saloons

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    The last hurrah for the current Aston Martin Vantage adds the track-ready GT8 to the range
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    20 October 2016
    New S5 Sportback is more spacious, better to drive and offers a calmer ride than before, but rivals offer greater involvement
  • Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy
    First Drive
    19 October 2016
    Mildly revised hot hatch is enjoyable on UK roads but continues to play second fiddle to the Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2016 Smart fortwo Brabus cabrio xclusive
    First Drive
    18 October 2016
    Mechanical upgrades make the Smart Fortwo Brabus cabrio better to drive, but it’s too pricey to recommend