From £23,860
Eco tweaks work well on the motorway, but leave the A4 wanting in traffic

Our Verdict

Audi A4

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

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Mark Tisshaw
24 November 2009

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.

Join the debate

Comments
4

SDR

25 November 2009

Very nice car, though wouldn't bother with the 'e' version, would prefer the performance of the regular version with minimal economy impact. However would never buy either for three simple reasons - PEDALS PEDALS PEDALS!

Very glad to see Autocar giving this issue due prominence - it utterly ruins this platform (A4/A5) for me, nothing else about these cars is of even marginal appeal when I can't sit and drive comfortably in exchange for my 20-something thousand pounds.

Sort it out Audi - we've noticed. And it is not nearly good enough.

26 November 2009

Smart colour, nice to see something that is n't black or grey, shame about the driving position though, years ago use to drive an AX, when I got it thought the driving position did n't matter, but once you have had a poor driving postition you make sure never again.

27 November 2009

Thanks for the information about the pedals. I will look at this carefully when I next take a test drive. Be good to have a back to back test between this car, the BMW and the DRIVe Volvos.

27 November 2009

[quote SDR]PEDALS PEDALS PEDALS![/quote]

At least it was mentioned...

What of the #1 Audi bugbear? These tree-hugger models have non standard tyres, so it would have been nice to find out whether their impact on the TDIe's ride is the same as on rivals. But no, "excellent ergonomics" and "strong build quality" are trotted out for the umpteenth time - the same old flimflam describing the car's least quantifiable features. I was half expecting to hear how nice the headlining looked.

Sort it out Autocar - we've noticed. And it is not nearly good enough.

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