What is it?
The best selling model in the new A4 range. The 143bhp 2.0TDi will take a shade under half of all A4 sales thanks to being the best all-rounder in the range, combining good performance and fuel economy with Audi's usual attributes of quality cabin, solid build and the in the new A4, a more spacious cabin.
As well as the new skin, the new A4 is substantially new underneath, featuring a new chassis platform, suspension and bodywork. Bigger in all three key dimensions, the new A4 has grown to be not far off the A6. Now the boot is a class-leading 480 litres.
Key tech highlights are a longer wheelbase thanks to a re-packaged engine/transmission that shifts the front axle forward 154mm. The new bodyshell is 10 per cent lighter and 5 per cent stiffer than the outgoing car according to Audi's figures.
In styling, the new A4 is handsome, combining the cool Bauhaus look of the last A4 with a few of the curves that helped make the first A4 a best-seller.
What's it like?
Excellent. The new A4 Is a step-up in refinement and driving dynamics over the old car. The new common-rail diesel is much quieter than the old pump-duse unit and the cabin is noticeably quieter, although the BMW 320d just outpoints it for ultimate refinement.
The new 2.0TDi delivers the typical rush of torque expected of a modern diesel engine, performance best enjoyed on a sweeping A-road or motorway. On the latter there's enough poke to haul the A4 into a faster stream of traffic without dropping down a gear; a relaxed driving feature that escaped some six-gear manual box diesels.
The well-judged gearing and responsive engine also mean that its rare to find the engine struggling to pull out of a slower corner. Audi has sharpened the A4's driving feel, too, with more precise steering and a more sophisticated ride. The steering rack is just two and a quarter turns lock-to-lock, whereas the old was closer to three and the helm is better-weighted, which all translates into a more responsive and enjoyable drive.
We tested on super smooth Portuguese tarmac on 18in-wheel equipped A4s and the few potholes and rough bits did upset the otherwise unruffled sense of quiet into the cabin, so we’d guess the 3-Series will be just ahead on ride comfort in the UK. But it’s a pretty close thing.