The A4 TDIe is more powerful than its chief rival, the BMW 316d
The ride height has been lowered by 20mm to help boost its economy
The engine is smooth, quiet and refined
The Audi A4 is an improvement over the previous version, but isn't good enough to topple the BMW 3-series
What is it?
Audi’s A4 saloon is the firm’s third model after the A3 and A6 to get the ‘e’ eco-treatment.
The A4 TDIe features a 134bhp, 136lb ft version of the firm’s excellent 2.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine, but more important are its economy and efficiency figures; CO2 output of 120g/km qualifies it for £35 annual road tax and 13 per cent benefit-in-kind for company car drivers.
Audi’s eco tweaks – including a stop-start system, lowered ride height, a higher final drive ratio, low-resistance tyres and a system which recuperates energy lost under braking – have boosted its combined fuel economy to a claimed 61.4mpg.
What's it like?
On the road, the A4 TDIe is almost an excellent car.
The engine is smooth, quiet and refined, while an average mpg figure of well over 50 is easily achievable, even if this is shy of the claimed figure.
The interior is beyond reproach, with excellent ergonomics and strong build quality.
But there are two nagging faults with the A4 TDIe that ensures it’s put into the ‘worth considering’ category, rather than being the default choice in the eco-saloon class.
The pedals (particularly the clutch) are positioned too far over to the right to be comfortable, and this problem is heightened when you engage in the car’s recommend eco-driving tips, which encourage constant cog shifting to squeeze out extra mpg.
In town, too often you are found wanting in a lower gear and as such, initial progress can be slow and laboured.
Should I buy one?
The A4 TDIe is almost identically priced to its chief BMW 316d rival and while the two are closely matched on emissions and economy, the Audi is easily ahead on power and performance.
The BMW is the stronger performer in town and offers a better overall drive, but the A4 is still a worthy eco saloon choice if your most of your time is spent away from inner-city traffic.