From £26,2658
Tech upgrades give the A4’s cabin a welcome lift. Dynamically much the same as before, but it remains a refined, smooth operator.

Our Verdict

Audi A4 review hero front

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

  • First Drive

    Audi A4 35 TFSI Sport S tronic 2019 UK review

    Entry-level petrol version of Audi’s refreshed A4 has the maturity, refinement and equipment-driven value to appeal loud and clear, albeit in very rational term
  • First Drive

    Audi A4 2019 review

    Tech upgrades give the A4’s cabin a welcome lift. Dynamically much the same as before, but it remains a refined, smooth operator.
Audi A4 2019

What is it?

Sometimes it can be easy to momentarily lose sight of the fact that cars such as the Audi A4 are still relevant. We’re constantly being told that SUVs are hell-bent on global domination; that these bulky, overinflated machines won’t rest until they’ve managed to morph themselves so preposterously they can occupy every model niche imaginable - or unimaginable. Compact crossover, anyone? How about an SUV coupe? They’re the next Big Thing, don’t you know.

Anyway, with all the hype surrounding these jacked up vehicles of various shapes and sizes, you might think regular three-box saloons and estates have been dropped from the starting team to instead play a supporting role from the bench. Truth is, that’s not quite the case for Audi - just yet, anyway.

You see, Ingolstadt remains adamant that the A4 is still its core model. One in every five Audis sold around the world is an A4, and when you combine the number of saloons and Avants sold in 2018, it’s still the best firm’s best seller. It hasn’t been eclipsed by the Q5 SUV just yet.

In a bid to keep its compact executive model as relevant and on trend as possible, it’s put the A4 under the knife and given it a modest nip-tuck. As is often the case with these sorts of mid-life refreshes, the changes to the A4’s design err on the subtler side. The headlights and tail lights have been redesigned, the front and rear bumpers have been modified - you get the picture. The fact remains that the A4 remains a handsome looking thing, even if it can look a touch plain in some of the more basic specifications.

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Speaking of, the model line has been shuffled slightly too. Technik now represents the entry level offering, and is followed by Sport, S-Line, Black Edition and new the new range-topping Vorsprung. Prices range from £30,750 for the entry-level saloon, and rise to around the £56,000 mark - though Audi is yet to confirm final pricing.

Power comes from a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines, with outputs ranging from 134bhp through to 246bhp. All engines aside from the 187bhp 40 TDI (the range-topping diesel) also come equipped with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system.

What's it like?

As with the exterior, the changes Audi has introduced to the cabin are also relatively minor. That said, it’s these small changes that seem to have the greatest effect on the A4’s overall desirability. 

There’s a new 10.1in touchscreen that runs the latest-generation MMI software, and a new digital cockpit to replace the previous car’s analogue dials too. Not only do they give the A4’s cabin a new lease of life, they instantly see it return to the sharp end of the class in terms of tech appeal as well. Admittedly, the touchscreen might be slightly tricky to use on the move, but it’s hard not to be impressed by its slick graphics and responsiveness. The fact that it retains all of its physical HVAC controls is a big tick in my book, too.Our test car’s 40 TFSI petrol engine was typically smooth and refined too. Mated to Audi’s seven-speed S-Tronic transmissions and sending its drive exclusively to the front wheels, it’s at its most willing from above 2000rpm. Below this point it can feel as if it hasn’t quite woken up, even though peak torque is technically accessible from as low as 1450rpm. Once it has, though, there’s a willing powertrain here. 

With 187bhp and 236lb ft to call on, it gets up to speed in tidy enough fashion, and will dispatch overtakes with little in the way of drama. It’s not blisteringly fast, but it’s quiet and unobtrusive - and that’s really what you want from a car like this, isn’t it? The transmission can seem a touch hesitant at times, though, preferring to hold on to a gear rather than kick down as you gradually use up the throttle pedal’s travel.

There’s not much in the way of feedback to be gleaned from the A4’s steering, but there’s a natural sense of weight here that inspires enough confidence in the car’s road-holding abilities. There’s a sense of tautness about its ride too, but this isn’t so pronounced as to compromise comfort. It makes for impressive body control through bends, too.

Should I buy one?

But while the A4s cornering ability is certainly commendable, it’s on the motorway that it really comes into its element. Road and wind noise aren’t in anyway problematic, its engine is hushed and demure, and its ride is confident and assertive without being exhausting or uncomfortable.Dynamically speaking, it’s not as plush as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and it certainly lacks the BMW 3 Series’ excellent athletic streak. But as a level-headed, mechanically refined and technologically intriguing contender in the class, you can certainly see its appeal. It doesn’t rewrite the playbook by any means, but it has its own unique sense of self that’s different to that of its immediate rivals. And I don’t think you could say the same about a lot of these identikit SUVs that keep showing up.

Audi A4 40 TFSI Sport

Where Bolzano, Italy Price £35,585 On sale now Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, petrol, turbocharged Power 187bhp between 4200-6000rpm Torque 236lb ft between 1450-4200rpm Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1455kg Top speed 131mph 0-62mph 7.3sec Fuel economy 42.2mpg CO2 TBC Rivals BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Alfa Romeo Giulia

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Comments
33

16 July 2019

That huge stuck-on screen is repugnant. And, of course, that screen can't be used without looking at it -- and therefore not looking at the road. Absolutely awful. Yes, the materials are (mostly) top-notch, but I'll be keeping my Giulia. Not only is it far better dynamically (it's superb), but I greatly prefer its interior. Physical gauges, nicely integrated screen (I'll take small and integrated over this stuck-on monstrosity every time), physical controls that can be used without looking at them -- so you can keep looking where you're going, leather covered dash and door tops that make up for some cheaper plastics, beautifully tactile alumin(i)um paddles that are in a league of their own (but a crying shame there's no manual 'box), etc. And it doesn't commit the unforgiveable automotive crime of faking its engine sound!

17 July 2019
Speedraser wrote:

That huge stuck-on screen is repugnant. And, of course, that screen can't be used without looking at it -- and therefore not looking at the road. Absolutely awful. Yes, the materials are (mostly) top-notch, but I'll be keeping my Giulia. Not only is it far better dynamically (it's superb), but I greatly prefer its interior. Physical gauges, nicely integrated screen (I'll take small and integrated over this stuck-on monstrosity every time), physical controls that can be used without looking at them -- so you can keep looking where you're going, leather covered dash and door tops that make up for some cheaper plastics, beautifully tactile alumin(i)um paddles that are in a league of their own (but a crying shame there's no manual 'box), etc. And it doesn't commit the unforgiveable automotive crime of faking its engine sound!

 

Blather on about physical gauges this and beautifully tactile that...those true to the Alfa cause would have the no manual gearbox as the deal breaker, even before turning all of the pages of the brochure, then you acquire one, read this article and then come the croc tears/crying shame baloney about your regret of the lack thereof...sigh.

 

Unforgiveable automotive crime...blind pick'n'mix word chooser?.

17 July 2019
Takeitslowly wrote:

Speedraser wrote:

That huge stuck-on screen is repugnant. And, of course, that screen can't be used without looking at it -- and therefore not looking at the road. Absolutely awful. Yes, the materials are (mostly) top-notch, but I'll be keeping my Giulia. Not only is it far better dynamically (it's superb), but I greatly prefer its interior. Physical gauges, nicely integrated screen (I'll take small and integrated over this stuck-on monstrosity every time), physical controls that can be used without looking at them -- so you can keep looking where you're going, leather covered dash and door tops that make up for some cheaper plastics, beautifully tactile alumin(i)um paddles that are in a league of their own (but a crying shame there's no manual 'box), etc. And it doesn't commit the unforgiveable automotive crime of faking its engine sound!

 

Blather on about physical gauges this and beautifully tactile that...those true to the Alfa cause would have the no manual gearbox as the deal breaker, even before turning all of the pages of the brochure, then you acquire one, read this article and then come the croc tears/crying shame baloney about your regret of the lack thereof...sigh.

 

Unforgiveable automotive crime...blind pick'n'mix word chooser?.

"Croc tears/crying shame baloney about your regret"??? What a complete idiot... 

17 July 2019
Speedraser wrote:

......physical controls that can be used without looking at them -- .....And it doesn't commit the unforgiveable automotive crime of faking its engine sound!

Out of interest what important physical controls can't be used without looking? and I don't think this car has fake engine sounds unless I missed it.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

17 July 2019

Changing the temperature with a knob.

 

Changing the radio station with a button.

 

Two of the most common things one actually does in a car.

 

And processes that are so much easier in my pickup than in my car.

17 July 2019
eseaton wrote:

Changing the temperature with a knob.

 

Changing the radio station with a button.

 

Two of the most common things one actually does in a car.

 

And processes that are so much easier in my pickup than in my car.

I hope I have not misunderstood your comments and in what context but the A4 has a very beautiful tactile analogue climate Control system with lovely knurled aluminium temp knobs. For modern folk the large screen is a bonus, just like a smart phone but with Apple car play/ android auto screens too. On the A6 I switch off haptic feedback its even faster that way. Just set up the menus as you like and you don't need to look most of the time
As for the radio/ multi media etc. I can control it verbally and via analogue buttons on steering wheel.
Most systems with rotory controls for infotainment etc still require a screen to be looked at since they contain so many sub menus etc. As for the comments from the Alpha owner glad he's enjoying his car but it's already dated I my view. My neighbour has a really nice looking giulia quadrifoglio but he is fighting a constant battle with the dealership over stupid faults and a water ingress into the cabin. It may be a nice handling car but its a one trick pony, although I do agree about the paddles it's just about the best thing about the Alpha interior which is rather ordinary in my view I like that the A4 is a great allrounder. The A6 is probably for me but this A4 is an excellent vehicle and deserves its 4 stars easily. Again just my opinion respect to all the others here.

17 July 2019

Several other website and magazine articles state that the engine sound is faked through the speakers. Most BMWs have done this for years now, as do many other cars, including those from VW and Audi. This is anathema to me. It offends every car-guy cell in me, and is an absolute deal-breaker. 

Most physical switchgear -- buttons and knobs -- can be used entirely by feel, without having to take your eyes off the road. A touchscreen requires you to look at it -- and NOT at the road. In a moving vehicle, that's just stupid.

17 July 2019

Glad you enjoy it, the sales and residuals show the market don't agree.

Interesting that the most driver focused cars - XE and Alfa - don't sell. I think that has given other manufacturers the confidence to not make more 3 series clones and hopefully we will see more comfortable user focused cars.

21 July 2019

hey !! I think 

it is a nice car

thanks, for my website you may click here

21 July 2019

hey !! I think 

it is a nice car

thanks, for my website you may click here

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