The A4 is a stalwart of the Audi range and has been since the nameplate appeared to replace the Audi 80 in 1994. Since then Ingolstadt has produced over five million of them.
It’s easy to see why it’s popular. The latest generation looks great, goes well with a wide range of engines and handles better than any A4 before it.
It’s also roomy, especially in Avant form. With the seats up it has 490 litres of room, but with them popped down you get 1,430 litres. That’s not quite as good as the class leading Mercedes C-Class estate at 1,500 litres, but it’s a great second best if you’ve got your heart set on a prestige German brand.
So does the big car feel mean the Audi overwhelms the modest four cylinder 1.8 TFSI petrol engine fitted to this car? Well, this engine is available in two states of tune and the SE has 160bhp, up from 120bhp on the base model. Needless to say, you welcome that extra grunt, with a competitive 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 140mph. It will out sprint a similarly specced and priced BMW 318i Touring, which is as much as you could ask.
But will it keep that lead in the bends? There’s no denying this car handles a lot better than previous Audi A4s, but it’s still front wheel drive although this lighter engine doesn’t seem to cause anywhere near as much of the nose heavy understeer we associate with older models. Overall we found it to strike a great balance between ride comfort and agility, with it doing what you’d expect through the bends in a way that belies its load lugging capability. It didn’t feel much different to the highly competent saloon.
The interior has a quality feel to it and the switchgear is as gorgeous to operate as it is in any Audi. The steering is precise and the manual gear change provides a slick action with well spaced ratios.
The 1.8 TFSI engine is rated at 169g/km for CO2, which is a little higher than its rivals; and 39.2mpg makes it a little thirstier. But then it’s faster, so you pays your money and takes your choice…
And in the UK that price is a competitive £26,390. Compared to what BMW and Mercedes offer, you’ll struggle to get the same style, speed and space for the money.
The Audi A4 1.8 TFSI Avant SE is available from OSV on a 6+35 contract at £279 + VAT monthly. Call 0844 686 4000 for more information. Terms and conditions apply.