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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The A4 is spacious and handles well. It is a desirable car, too

Against Poor ride on rougher road surfaces and smaller petrol engines can become noisy when pushed.

Verdict The A4 is a very competent, classy compact executive, but overall it's just beaten by the competition from BMW and Mercedes

Go for… 2.0 TDI 140 SE

Avoid… 3.2 TFSI quattro models

Audi A4 Saloon
  • 1. Kerbed alloys could mean steering alignment is out
  • 2. Look for damage to the bumpers caused by careless reversing
  • 3. The boot is a good size and easy to load
  • 4. Cabin materials are high quality and feel solid
  • 5. The ride is a little on the firm side
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Audi A4 Saloon full review with expert trade views

This A4 was designed to beat the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, and almost manages to. It retains Audi's restrained styling, yet is entertaining to drive and spacious. If you're looking for understated elegance - this could be the car for you.

The handling is balanced, and there's plenty of grip through bends. The steering can feel rubbery, but it provides reasonable feedback. However, the ride is on the firm side and the A4 doesn't cope with bumps very well. Watch out for the off-set pedals in manual models.

The cabin is well laid out and spacious enough for four adults. Visibility is good, and the driver's seat is easily adjusted. The boot is bigger than both the 3 Series and the C-Class's. The A4 is no longer the class leader in terms of fit and finish, but the cabin is generally good, built with quality materials that have a solid feel.

Trade view

Most A4s start life as company or fleet cars so you need to check it has been cared for.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

You'll need a good reason not to consider the diesel models. The 2.0-litre TDI engines, with between 118bhp and 168bhp, are the best option - not only for availability, but for running costs and residual values, too. There's also a 2.7-litre with 187bhp and a CVT automatic gearbox and a quattro four-wheel-drive 237bhp 3.0-litre. There is no auto option on the 2.0-litre engines, but the 3.0 is also available with an S-tronic semi-auto gearbox.

The petrol versions start with the excellent 1.8-litre turbo, with between 118bhp and 158bhp, and a 2.0-litre version with 208bhp. Both are available with a CVT automatic gearbox. The four-wheel-drive 261bhp 3.2-litre is more of a car for keen drivers, but is rare on the used market.

Entry-level specification is good, with stability control, electric windows all round, climate control and remote central locking, while SE adds alloy wheels, parking sensors, upgraded stereo and cabin trim, plus multi-zone climate control. The S line version sits on lowered sports suspension, gets larger alloys, and sporty cabin trim and a body styling kit.

Trade view

Most A4s start life as company or fleet cars so you need to check it has been cared for.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Predictably the diesel A4s are cheapest to run, with stronger residual values and much better fuel economy than the petrols. The 2.0-litre diesels average between 55.4 and 47.9mpg, with the 2.7-litre does 44.1mpg and the 3.0-litre 42.8mpg. Compare that with the 1.8-litre petrol's 39.8mpg, the 2.0-litre with between 42.8mpg and 38.2, and the 3.2-litre with 31.7mpg.

Servicing costs are on a par with those of rivals, but Audi dealers tend to have higher labour rates. You'll save by switching to a reliable independent, or you could try a franchised dealer from one of the other Volkswagen group of companies (Skoda, Seat and VW). They share many of the same engine and gearboxes, so should be able to carry out any work.

So far there are few reported reliability issues, and no obvious weaknesses, but the previous A4 has a reputation for being less than perfect, so time will tell.

Trade view

Most A4s start life as company or fleet cars so you need to check it has been cared for.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

There's little to report on so far, with most owners happy with their cars.

There are some complaints about notchy or noisy gearboxes, but this doesn't appear to effect performance.

Most A4s start life as company or fleet cars. Have a thorough look at the car and check it's been cared for. Heavily kerbed alloys could mean the steering alignment is out, and tyres will wear faster than expected. Also look for damage to the bumpers caused by careless reversing.

Make sure the service history is complete, and that high-mileage cars have been serviced at the correct intervals.

Trade view

Most A4s start life as company or fleet cars so you need to check it has been cared for.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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