Used Audi A4 long-term test: report 1

The Audi A4 is suave and sophisticated, not to mention a former What Car? Car of the Year, but how well will a nearly new example stack up to long-term use? We’re finding out...

Audi A4 LT

The car 2020 Audi A4 35 TDI Black Edition Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here We want to find out if a nearly new version of this premium executive saloon makes good sense

Needs to Prove that it can match a number of its rivals for dynamic ability, everyday usability and comfort and opulence, as well as cope with the daily grind of family life and work

Mileage 4503 List price new (2020) £39,770 Price new with options £44,140 Value now £33,000 Options fitted Comfort and sound pack (£1395), Electric slide and tilt sunroof (£1250), Black fine Nappa leather front seats (£995), Quantum grey paint (£675), AdBlue tank (£60) Test economy 47.3mpg Official economy 53.3mpg

19 June 2021 – Welcome to the black parade

Fashion, according to Coco Chanel, is whatever goes out of fashion.

Now, I’ve never actually been very fashionable, so it’s perhaps not surprising that just as the world is going crazy for smooth-riding, jacked-up SUVs with either petrol or electric power (or a combination of both), I’ve gone and got myself a four-door, diesel-powered executive saloon with a racy-looking body kit and firmed-up sports suspension.

I admit that, on paper, my Audi A4 looks a little old-fashioned, but as it happens I like a saloon shape and it suits my family’s needs more than adequately. Consider, too, that the centre of gravity of a car like this is always going to be lower than an SUV, with concomitant gains in handling prowess, which is important to me.

Lt Audi A4 rear cornering

As for the diesel engine, it's one that meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standards and is ULEZ-friendly. Plus, its driving characteristics are a world away from those of old diesels, with their grumbly soundtracks, small power bands and erratic performance.

And the sports setup? Well, this generation of A4 has been on sale since 2015, with just one styling refresh in 2020. Admittedly, from some angles, and in lesser trims, it's a little sober-sided and not at all what Coco Chanel would have considered fashionable. My car, though, is lower than most A4s and is finished in this bang-on-trend Farrow and Ball-style Quantum Grey paint, and I think it looks positively handsome. 

So what exactly have I got? Well, it's a 2020 A4 35 TDI Black Edition. Under the bonnet is a 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which sits in true Goldilocks style in the middle of the A4’s diesel line-up. It’s a punchy unit that will push this executive express from 0 to 60mph in a respectable 8.2sec and go on to a top speed of 142mph, while still returning 53.3mpg, according to the official WLTP tests.

LT Audi A4 - using touchscreen

It's an S line, which means I’ve got leather and Alcantara seats, privacy glass and some lovely 19in alloys, on top of power-folding door mirrors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated front seats, front and rear climate control, cruise control and keyless entry and start. This A4 is further enhanced in the looks department by the addition of the black exterior design detailing that comes as part of the Black Edition package.

Then there are the optional extras specified by its first owner, which include an electric sunroof and a Comfort and Sound Pack that adds such luxuries as electric hands-free boot opening, a 755w Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system complete with 19 loudspeakers, a 360-degree bird’s-eye camera and an LED interior lighting pack.

In total, my A4 cost £39,770 in its basic form when new, and £44,140 with all the extras attached. But hold on. I am a man, if not of fashion, then certainly of principle, and as the Used Cars Editor my car is indeed used, not new. What I have is a nearly new car, a six-month-old one with 4500 miles on the clock, and as such it has a sticker price of £33,000, which I think you’ll agree is a pretty useful saving over the cost of a new one.

Audi A4 LT

Cast an eye or a hand over this A4, and you’d be hard pushed to tell it from something fresh out of the factory, and the interior's upmarket materials and general fit and finish are a premium delight. That continues out on the road, too, where my first impressions of this car are the ease with which one can find just the right driving position, thanks to a multi-adjustable and electrically operated driver’s seat.

What is already clear to me, even at this early stage, is that even if I've never been in the front line for fashion, I’m now certainly central stage when it comes to executive cars. Bring on the next few months.

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