From £23,860
In spite of growing competition from the petrol-hybrid crowd, Audi continues to squeeze more mpg from its diesel range with this new Audi A4

Our Verdict

Audi A4
The Audi A4 saloon is bigger, roomier and more aerodynamic than its predecessor

The Audi A4 is an improvement over the previous version, but isn't good enough to topple the BMW 3-series

  • First Drive

    Audi A4 Ultra first drive review

    New Audi A4 Ultra combines low fuel consumption and emissions with good drivability
  • First Drive

    Audi A4 2.0 TDIe

    Avant might just have the nation’s load-lugging, fleet-conscious prestige buyers almost exclusively to itself
30 November 2011

What is it?

As much as hybrids and pure-electric cars are flavour of the moment, Audi plainly believes that there is a whole lot more efficiency to be squeezed out of the internal combustion engine. That point really was driven home at the launch of the eighth-generation Audi A4 range.

What’s it like?

Starting with the cosmetic changes, right across the Audi A4's model line-up there have been mild cosmetic tweaks to the nose and tail, with subtly modified bumpers and air intakes. The front and rear LED running lights also get a classier look, too. It’s not a major revamp though – there are no sheet metal changes to the range. LIkewise, the A4's interior gains a mild colour and trim tweak.

Mechanically, the most significant changes focus on the turbo-diesel engine lineup. There are six offerings, with an entry-level 134bhp four-cylinder rising up through the range to a 242bhp V6. And without any dramatic engineering solutions – efficiency has come so far in recent years that pretty much all gains will be incremental now – Audi has managed to make significant improvements.

The company reckons the 134bhp 2.0-litre TDI will be the most popular engine choice in the UK by a long stretch. The CO2 output has dropped significantly from 120g/km to 112g/km (although for the Avant that rises to 116g/km – still good). Combined fuel consumption is a remarkable 65.7mpg, which is better than Honda’s Insight hybrid, for example, and not a million miles off that green icon, the Toyota Prius.

But all this wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans if the driving experience is rubbish. It isn’t. Nicely judged shorter ratios in the lower gears means response is quite good at lower speeds, and mixing it with motorway traffic is also stress free. Audi makes claims for the TDI’s improved refinement, too, although this doesn’t feel like the most refined in its class.

Should I buy one?

The 134bhp TDI does feel happier to rev and a bit more refined than it’s more powerful 174bhp sibling. The extra bit of poke hardly seems worth it. Either way, though, these engines offer a strong argument for those who want to save the planet – and a few shekels – without going hybrid.

Gavin Conway

Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE

Price: £26,555; Top speed: 134mph; 0-62mph: 9.3secs; Economy: 65.7mpg; CO2: 112g/km; Kerbweight: 1475kgs; Engine type: four-cylinder, 1968cc; Power: 134bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
34

2 December 2011

Impressive figures, although BMW seems to be able to eek out not only more power, but better fuel consumption from its equivalent diesel engines.

2 December 2011

Still no match for the exceptional engines being produced by BMW. The looks, interior and the majority of the range being hampered by front wheel drive leaves this a distant third in the 3 Series, C Class and A4 battle.. I would rather consider a well specced Passat over the A4, fortunately I bought the BMW instead, and no im not a tailgating idiot, those rights are reserved for mostly Audi drivers these days!

3 December 2011

[quote ej03]Still no match for the exceptional engines being produced by BMW. The looks, interior and the majority of the range being hampered by front wheel drive leaves this a distant third in the 3 Series, C Class and A4 battle.. I would rather consider a well specced Passat over the A4, fortunately I bought the BMW instead, and no im not a tailgating idiot, those rights are reserved for mostly Audi drivers these days![/quote]

ej03, have to agree with you completely - probably because I drive a BMW which the current generation of Audi drivers cannot afford on their company budgets in recessionary times - they seem to tailgate that more than the Sprinter I drive for work!

FWD will never be an option for me, but apart from that I like the look of the Passat CC although I don't like the idea of an electric handbrake - cannot see any benefit in that in terms of cost or weight - just something else to go wrong outside of warranty....

12 February 2014

The Audi A4 tested above was/is not a new Audi. It was a mid life refresh of the 2008 model. Audi are soon to bring out a newer 2014 ultra engine on this 2008 platform that will trump the 'newer bmw '(F30) on both emissions and horsepower. Also, in addition to this newer ultra version, Audi will be introducing a totally new A4 later this year that'll be on a radical new platform which is set to lower emissions further but will introduce newer driving dynamics for 2015 Audis. . Audi are doing just as BMW did, by phasing out an older platform, with a newer engine, before bringing in something that will be completely new. . It's not a blanket win by BMW, the Audi is a more refined solid car, but the bmw is built with higher emphasis on sports handling as the Audi brings in more luxury akin to its sister brand Bentley. If you put this older revamped A4 engine 136 tdie next to the newer 3 series 2 litre efficient dynamics engine, you ll find the 3 series sounds like a tractor, yet the Audi hums more like a petrol. Also, 1.5 second differences in acceleration from 0-60 are not huge differences as some of you make it out to be. Having sat and driven the 2011 facelift Merc C class, I can honestly say both the Audi And newer BMW have a better quality feel and better built interiors. The Merc felt the most dated and cheaper than its two German counterparts. As a fan of Mercedes, I was really disappointed. Of all three Germans, the Merc had the worst numbers. for horse power/ efficiency.

3 December 2011

Good though the engine work is, it's a pity they haven't fixed the horrendously offset driving position instead. I simply can't consider the car until they do that. the previous model (the range which included the V8 RS4) was much better in this regard - it's a shame when things go backwards.

3 December 2011

Yes - BMW is the king of diesels, at least in terms of performance. (Toyota beats it for reliability and maintenance costs, according to my mechanic.) Good luck to Audi with its revised A4 - but I fear it has a long way to go in catching the newly released BMW 3-series. Frankly, I would buy neither - even though I happen to like them. They cost a fortune to buy, a fortune in depreciation and another fortune to maintain. My most honourable and long-serving mechanic agrees with me. (He concedes that he has made a big lump of money out of fixing German cars. "Toyota is the best car for the owner's back pocket" is what he says.) E

3 December 2011

Not bad figures but not as good as BMW's.

3 December 2011

[quote Engelbert]Yes - BMW is the king of diesels, at least in terms of performance. (Toyota beats it for reliability and maintenance costs, according to my mechanic.) Good luck to Audi with its revised A4 - but I fear it has a long way to go in catching the newly released BMW 3-series. Frankly, I would buy neither - even though I happen to like them. They cost a fortune to buy, a fortune in depreciation and another fortune to maintain. My most honourable and long-serving mechanic agrees with me. (He concedes that he has made a big lump of money out of fixing German cars. "Toyota is the best car for the owner's back pocket" is what he says.) E[/quote]

Although your mechanic is obviously making a tidy sum from the maintenance of German cars is it not just a representation of the German cars costing more anyway? The more expensive you go, the more expensive the running costs. In this circumstance with the A4 TDIe, I would agree it is about keeping those costs low but a Toyota offers very little else in terms of design, perceived quality by anyone under the age of 65 and forgive me if I am wrong but to my knowledge the majority or Toyota engines, petrol or diesel, are regularly less efficient and more polluting than their German counterparts.

3 December 2011

The first thing I had to do was look at the date of the test just to make sure this wasn't an old thread re-posted - that's how different the car looks.

Can only agree re:BMW engine. In fact not only does the latest efficient dynamics 3 series beat the Audi TDie in every way performance and economy wise, it does so carrying a tiny 15kg weight penalty. Although the car is slightly shorter, they both weigh the same.

Out of the junior execs it's BMW for me every time.

3 December 2011

Englebert bro, your favorite mechanic is far form a wise business man!

without servicing needs, for what hell of reason should he open`s door tent?

wait, rotating your tires? (laughing...)

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