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
Autocar
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.

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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

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Comments
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Fidji 26 December 2011

Re: Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE

The Special One wrote:

320d EfficientDynamics 109g/km 68.9mpg 163bhp 0-62: 8.0sec 143mph

Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE 112g/km 65.7mpg 134bhp 0-62: 9.3sec 134mph

That says it all, really. The Audi trails in efficiency, and significantly in performance.

ronmcdonald 26 December 2011

Re: Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE

The Special One wrote:

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

320d EfficientDynamics 109g/km 68.9mpg 163bhp 0-62: 8.0sec 143mph

Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE 112g/km 65.7mpg 134bhp 0-62: 9.3sec 134mph

If you're comparing engines you'd obviously chose the 160bhp version for the Audi which brings other performance figures much closer. The more powerful Audi 'ONLY' returns 64mpg and 115g/km Co2 but remember, the A4 is a larger and heavier car than the 320d. In a like-4-like test I reckon you'd be splitting hairs trying to differentiate performance between these engines.

The Special One 25 December 2011

Re: Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE

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

320d EfficientDynamics 109g/km 68.9mpg 163bhp 0-62: 8.0sec 143mph

Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE 112g/km 65.7mpg 134bhp 0-62: 9.3sec 134mph

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