We’re bucking trends by swapping our 2.0-litre four-pot Audi for a 3.0-litre V6
27 September 2016

Less is more, we’re told. And while it’s a hackneyed phrase, there’s no denying that when it comes to cars, tax pressures have led to the smallest engines selling in by far the biggest numbers.

Take executive saloons. Not long ago six-cylinder models accounted for a sizeable share of sales, whereas today most have been swept from the road by a torrent of 2.0-litre fours. The latest addition to our long-term fleet, however, seems to have been designed to reverse that trend.

The car in question is the red Audi A4 that you see above, and although it looks an awful lot like the white 2.0 TDI 190 that Andrew Frankel has been running for the past six months, it’s powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that makes 215bhp and 295lb ft.

It’s faster than Andrew’s car, then, and, thanks to two extra cylinders, a hell of a lot smoother. Yet the price difference is less than £2000, it’s only fractionally less efficient (at least officially) and the two sit in the same company car tax band.

If you’re worried that this renaissance of the big-capacity engine has been accompanied by a return to the days when prestige German cars were stingily equipped, don’t be. Our new A4 is in mid-level Sport spec, which comes with climate control, xenon headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, keyless start, DAB radio and sat-nav.

That said, it’s quite easy to blow a five-figure sum on options; on our car these include the advisable (such as its S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox), the desirable (leather and Alcantara upholstery and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display) and the ‘I can’t believe these are part of the same pack’ (lumbar adjustment and a Bang & Olufsen stereo upgrade).

Best of all, though, is the Technology Pack, which brings an 8.3in display along with highresolution Google Maps navigation, on-board audio storage, more system controls on the steering wheel and a ‘phone box’ that allows wireless charging of your smartphone.

Prior to the A4, I ran a Jaguar XE for a year. And while early impressions of the Audi suggest that in many respects it’s the better car, there is one key area where it’s off the pace, and that’s driving fun.

Put simply, it doesn’t flow from corner to corner in the oh-sosatisfying way that the XE does, mainly because of the steering. You find yourself sawing away at the A4’s wheel when you turn in, trying to find exactly how much lock is needed, whereas the Jag offers much greater involvement and precision.

I find this strange. After all, the R8 and the latest TT show that Audi can produce a proper driver’s car when it wants to, and yet it has chosen not to in this instance, despite its obvious desire to be seen as a sporty brand.

More positively, the A4’s V6 has an even bigger refinement and performance advantage over the XE’s Ingenium diesel than it does over Audi’s own 2.0 TDI. Plus, the A4 has a more comfortable ride, a classier cabin and an infotainment system that’s at least a couple of generations ahead, both in the speed of its responses and the layout of its menus.

Over the next few months we’ll see whether the one big sacrifice is worth all the positives. And of course, whether the 3.0 TDI really can get close to the economy of the 2.0, or if more cylinders still mean fewer miles to the gallon in the real world.

Steve Huntingford

Our Verdict

Aud A4

All-new Audi A4 zeroes in on efficiency, technology and quality but is it enough to drive buyers away from the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

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Comments
28

27 September 2016
Nice car how much will this sell for

27 September 2016
Nice car how much will this sell for

27 September 2016
With the road tax advantages of small low CO2 engines about to be lost - and with the continuing availability of cheap fuel, maybe big engines will be back. If you do the arithmetic, it's the depreciation cost and cost of any major failures that matter. Fuel economy has become less important - and in any event, it's real world fuel consumption that counts, not the cheat results achieved in the EU test.

27 September 2016
It's greedy that adaptive cruise control (great for safety & reducing tiredness on motorways) is standard on mid spec Golfs/Superbs but requires you to buy £3,000 worth of 'packs' on any A4!!?

 

 

 

27 September 2016
Just get the Golf/Superb then.

27 September 2016
Just get the Golf/Superb then.

27 September 2016
Well actually I got the Leon Cupra ST with adaptive cruise for £500. These packages will be even worse next year when any car over £40,000 incurs an extra £310 a year tax.

 

 

 

27 September 2016
What is it with Audi and rip off packages.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

27 September 2016
xxxx wrote:

What is it with Audi and rip off packages.

What you mean by rip-off? If you mean Audi customers are willing to pay a premium for extra non-essential creature comforts then problem lies with the daft customer, not Audi. There are other manufacturers you know, not sure there's any law saying you must by an Audi.

And why single out Audi? I'd have liked leather seats in my Honda but they wanted to charge me £3000 and throw in a free electric sunroof, reverse camera and keyless entry. If I'd bought an Audi I could just have paid for leather seats!

27 September 2016
scotty5 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

What is it with Audi and rip off packages.

What you mean by rip-off? If you mean Audi customers are willing to pay a premium for extra non-essential creature comforts then problem lies with the daft customer, not Audi. There are other manufacturers you know, not sure there's any law saying you must by an Audi.

And why single out Audi? I'd have liked leather seats in my Honda but they wanted to charge me £3000 and throw in a free electric sunroof, reverse camera and keyless entry. If I'd bought an Audi I could just have paid for leather seats!

Adaptive cruise control for £3000 is to much, regardless of what else comes with it. Next time compare like with like, Leather will always be more than the upgrade from normal cruise to adaptive! Also, We talking we're taking extras here not going up a model.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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