We class our What Car? Car of the Year 2016, the Audi A4, as a compact executive model, which means it’s a premium-badged saloon shorter than 4.85 metres.
Its closest rivals include the ubiquitous BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes C-Class and the sharp-driving Jaguar XE. However, we reckon the A4 is a better buy than all of these because it does the important things – namely comfort, refinement and interior quality – better than its closest competitors.
Buy any BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar executive saloon and we’ll tell you to stick with a four-cylinder diesel engine. You’ll save a heap of cash and won’t sacrifice a huge amount of performance or refinement. However, we reckon the 3.0 TDI V6 218 is the pick of the A4 range. It’s only fractionally less efficient than the more popular 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra model (officially and in the real world), and delivers the sort of creamy performance and whisper-quiet driving manners that shames some luxury limos. Put simply, it feels more like a baby A8 than a 3 Series rival.
For most buyers that’s a jolly good thing because executive saloons aren’t sports cars. They’re bought by people who do lots of business miles, usually on the motorway, which is why comfort and hushed cruising manners are absolutely the priorities.
Factor in the 3.0 TDI 218’s class-leading interior and surprisingly low CO2 emissions and we reckon it’s the best model in the A4 range. However, whichever version you choose you won’t be disappointed.