Used car of the week: Audi A4

The current Audi A4 is our Car of the Year for 2016, but if your budget won't stretch to a new one, then the old A4 is still a solid choice

Words ByDarren Moss

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Audi a4

New cars don't come much better than the latest Audi A4. It's not only our small Executive Car of the Year for 2016, but at the most recent What Car? Awards we also named it as our overall Car of the Year.

Prices for a new Audi A4 saloon start from Β£26,350, and opting for more powerful engine options or higher trim levels can quickly add to that price. If your budget won't reach that high, then it's worth looking at the previous A4, which arrived in 2008 and remained on sale until late last year.

Even among rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, this A4 is still competitive. We praised it for its spacious and comfortable interior, good handling and big boot. The Audi badge is a very desirable one at the moment, too.

What budget do I need?

An Audi A4 from this era can cost as little as Β£3600, but for that money you'll be getting a high-mileage example. If you're willing to spend a little more, then Β£8500 will get you a 2.0 TDI model in SE specification with fewer than 45,000 miles on the clock.

We'd opt for a diesel A4 if at all possible, as they'll be cheaper to run and retain their values better than the petrol models. You'll also spend less time at the pumps with a diesel, as the most economical models average up to 55.4mpg. Servicing costs are also on par with those of rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but watch out for higher costs at official Audi dealers. It might be worth opting for an independent garage instead, or a dealer from another Volkswagen Group brand (VW, Seat or Skoda).

Which version should I go for?

When browsing through the classifieds you'll likely find that the vast majority of A4 models are diesels, and that's because these versions are both powerful and economical. You'll need a good reason not to consider them. Our recommendation is to go for the 2.0 TDI diesels, which come in either 118bhp or 168bhp forms.

If you are set on a petrol model, then the entry-level 1.8-litre turbocharged model is the one to go for, and it can be had in varying outputs from 118bhp to 158bhp.

Every A4 gets stability control, electric windows, climate control and remote central locking as standard, while our preferred SE specification adds alloy wheels, parking sensors, an upgraded stereo and multi-zone climate control.

Any problems to be aware of?

Complaints about the Audi A4 are few and far between – this is a premium saloon that doesn't seem to go wrong very often. There have been some complaints about noisy gearboxes, but these appear to be isolated.

Do bear in mind that most A4s of this age will likely have started their lives as company cars and in fleets, and that makes checking their history and condition even more important when going to view a car. In particular, watch out for kerbed alloy wheels – which could mean the steering alignment is out – and damage caused to the front and rear bumpers.

As always, make sure you check the car's service history thoroughly and that high-mileage cars have been well cared for.

What next?

Read our full Audi A4 review, or click here to read our new Audi A4 review.

Want to buy a used Audi A4? Click here to see the used cars for sale through What Car? Classifieds.

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