Executive saloons are popular with company car drivers, so CO2 emissions are just as important as list prices. The most efficient A4 (the 2.0 TDI 150 Ultra) emits just 99g/km, which is exactly the same as the cleanest versions of the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE. Emissions do rise slightly if you opt for an automatic gearbox, but even the more powerful 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra pumps out less than 105g/km.
Perhaps most remarkable of all, though, is the 3.0 TDI 218. This V6 diesel emits just 109g/km if you stick with front-wheel drive, which is considerably less than an equivalent 3 Series. The average real-world fuel economy of this, our favourite engine, is also very impressive – only fractionally worse than the 2.0 TDI 190’s.
The A4 is predicted to hold on to its value well by executive saloon standards, and insurance premiums are also reasonable. List prices are a close match for the 3 Series although it’s worth noting that, if you’re a private buyer, you could have the larger BMW 5 Series or Audi A6 without spending much more money.
Audi A4 Saloon equipment
All A4s come with climate control, xenon headlights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, keyless start and a DAB radio. However, we’d recommend going for Sport trim because this gets you all-important sat-nav and a pair of more supportive sports seats in the front. S line trim brings some styling upgrades but you still have to pay extra for full-leather seats – as you do on every other trim level apart from S4. Don’t forget to deselect the Sports suspension option and go for the no-cost option of Comfort Dynamic suspension if you want the best ride and handling balance.
The S4 also gets different styling, 'S' Sports suspension and brakes, quad exhausts, S4 badging and an infotainment upgrade.
The Comfort and Sound Pack is worth considering; it adds keyless entry, electrically adjustable front seats, an upgraded stereo and adjustable lumbar support (if you’re buying a version that doesn’t come with this anyway).
Meanwhile, the optional Vision Pack gets you the excellent and highly recommended Virtual Cockpit, along with a head-up display and high-beam assist. Unfortunately, this pack is only available if you also buy the Technology Pack – both options together push up the price significantly.
Individual options include heated front seats, privacy glass, a heated windscreen and a panoramic glass roof.
Audi A4 Saloon reliability
This generation of Audi A4 was too new to feature in our most recent reliability survey, although Audi as a brand didn’t fair well at all in our last What Car? reliability survey – the German manufacturer finished in the bottom five.
Still, it’s reassuring that the A4 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty as standard, and for an additional fee Audi will allow you to extend the warranty to up to five years or 90,000 miles.
Audi A4 Saloon safety & security
The A4 received five stars from Euro NCAP for its ability to protect occupants in an accident. Study the results in more detail, though, and you’ll see the Audi scored slightly lower marks than the Jaguar XE for protecting adults and pedestrians, but did a better job of keeping children safe.
All versions come with city emergency braking as standard to help prevent low-speed shunts, and if you choose you add the Driving Assistance Pack you’ll get lots more preemptive safety features, including automatic braking at higher speeds, road sign recognition and lane-keep assist.
The A4 comes with six airbags as standard, although you can choose to add rear side airbag, and we’d advise doing so if you plan to carry rear passengers on a regular basis.
Thatcham awarded the A4 five stars (out of five) for resisting being stolen and four stars for guarding against being broken into.
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The entry-level SE still comes with luxuries including three-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a 7.0in infotainment screen, cruise control, rear parking sensors, 40:20:40 spilt-folding rear seats, 17in alloy wheels and xenon headlights. You do miss out on sat-nav, though.
Our pick Sport
Our favourite trim comes with all the features of the SE, but adds sat-nav, a punchier 10-speaker stereo and front sports seats. We’d still recommend adding at least adjustable lumbar support and the excellent Virtual Cockpit, though.
This range-topping trim gets more aggressive-looking S line bumpers and side skirts, 18in alloys and S line detailing inside, too. You also get LED headlights and electric lumbar adjustment for the front seats, but this trim is fairly pricey and you’ll still need to fork out extra if you want leather seats, as many buyers will.
This sporting flagship of the range gets everything S line models do plus 'S' sports suspension and brakes, quad exhausts, S4 badging and an infotainment upgrade. The styling is also changed slightly but you'll need a keen eye to spot one.