Pull a punch here on tax-defining CO2 emissions or with what influences residual value and the whole show comes crashing down. But the A4 looks typically impressive on paper, being competitive on price and equipment, and like most of its rivals, the diesel range is underpinned by a sub-100g/km offering, in saloon format at least.

Audi will feel rightly confident that its headline fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg combined – a rival for BMW’s most frugal 320d – will put it in good stead on the company car balance sheet.

A4’s residual values are predictably strong, particularly over a longer lease period

That is a key goal of the higher-powered diesel model we’ve tested, too. Buyers have to be somewhat careful, working their way through the small maze of tyre options, the crux being that on 17in wheels the A4 proves marginally superior to the similarly powerful XE at 103g/km and still very impressive at 111g/km on 18s and 113g/km on 19s.

Real-world economy looks promising, with 68.9mpg quoted on the smallest wheels and 65.7mpg at worst. But the A4 struggled to reproduce anything close to either figure in our hands, clocking up a 44.8mpg average for our True MPG testers, whereas we’ve seen much closer to 50mpg from the 320d. Here, Audi’s 19in S line rims were at work, don’t forget, taking the edge off cruising efficiency. But we can’t help thinking that they shouldn’t have taken that much of an edge off.

Our advice would be to avoid the sports-sprung Ultra models and opt for the 2.0-litre TDI 150 S line, with a manual box and passive comfort suspension. The addition of metallic paint, twin-leather upholstery, acoustic glazing, Virtual Cockpit and the technology pack (consisting of MMI navigation plus, 3-year subscription to Audi Connect and wireless phone charging pod) would add the finishing touches to the car.

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