Thanks to some serious weight loss - up to 120kg in some cases - and that new chassis, driving this new A4 is a more rewarding experience than it was before. It certainly feels lighter on its wheels than the old car and more eager to change direction, but let's be clear, those who put handling first should still be heading for a BMW or Jaguar dealer.
The A4's steering remains its biggest frustration. The lack of feedback shouldn't be criticised too heavily (the majority of electronic systems offer very little), and nor should its low-speed lightness, but there just isn't the precision or urgency found in the 3 Series or XE. The A4 rolls further than its rivals when attacking bends, too, but grip levels are high and those more concerned with motorway behaviour might prefer the Audi’s less twitchy high-speed set-up.
Its motorway ride will also please, with bumps and crests being nicely damped and the body never wandering too far vertically. Four suspension set-ups are possible: a Comfort setting, a stiffer and 23mm-lower Sport set-up standard on S line cars, or adaptive versions of both. Confusingly, adaptive Comfort is 10mm lower than standard Comfort, and all Ultra models have the lower Sport chassis for better aerodynamics. Still with us?
Our Ultra model's ride began to unravel as the speed dropped, feeling unnecessarily firm over sharp-edged bumps and expansion joints, even when flicking through its drives mode and selecting Comfort. That said, at least there's a decent level of body control as these bumps are hit and the suspension always remains quiet.
Another area in which Audi has proved itself a class leader is cabin quality, which remains consistent from the very bottom of its range in the A1 through its core models to the flagship A8. No surprise, then, that the A4 leads its aforementioned rivals when it comes to perceived quality.
We sampled a Sport model with optional leather and a more basic SE (in 1.4 TSI guise) without, but in either case the A4's dashboard is very special. Its soft yet dense upper section is underlined by a classy silver band across the middle, and even the plastics lower down feel of good quality. Its new metallic climate control switches – with haptic feedback – also look and feel superb.
Our car was fitted with Audi's optional larger-screened MMI infotainment system, although a smaller 7.0in version comes as standard on Sport models. Both work the same way, with a slick rotary controller between the front seats to guide you through simple-to-follow menus. The bright screen and crisp graphics are impressive, too, especially in conjunction with our car's satellite navigation maps.
Also fitted to our car was Audi's 12.3in Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, first seen in the TT and then the R8. It is, of course, an option and we don't have prices just yet. If you can stretch to whatever it might be, though, you won't be disappointed.
It takes a while to learn, but you'll soon love how easy it is to sift through information using the multifunction wheel buttons, and the fact that you retain your dash-mounted screen means you can run your nav guidance directly in your eye line while you attend to other things on the larger central display. Visually, it's a stunning bit of tech, too.