The new Audi A4 definitely gets the A+ grade
AUDI A4 2.0TDI SE
THE best footballer in the world debate rages on, and even though we dream of a team of Gary Breens, and Jonathan Walters is Ireland’s answer to Pelé, no Irish man has made the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
The usual suspects top the list. Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar have made the final three, and yearon-year it seems to be down to the mercurial Messi and remarkable Ronaldo to see who can add to their trophy haul.
It’s much like the prestige car market, especially the mid-size family saloons.
Germany has a monopoly with Audi’s A4, BMW’s 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class swatting away rivals with ease.
An English contender joined the fight this year in the shape of Jaguar’s XE, and while it may be a future star, the usual suspects lead the way.
Our latest test of a premium saloon from Germany came in the form of the new Audi A4.
Now in the metal, there isn’t much difference, think Messi with his hair cut.
It’s still stylish, beautiful to drive and loaded with toys, but the updates make it even better.
It’s more evolution than revolution – but that’s ok, the A4 was always a looker and with an even more luxurious interior and tweaks to the mechanicals, Audi has polished their diamond.
You need to take a closer look at the Audi to see the difference to the outgoing model.
To us, it looks sleeker than before with a new light design front and rear and a bigger, more aggressive grille.
The biggest improvement, and one you can’t see, is the weight loss.
We may need to give Audi a call, as they’ve managed to shed 120kg compared to the old model – this despite the MK5 growing in all areas except height.
They’ve done this by using a high-tech MLB platform that uses highstrength steel and aluminium.
The biggest improvement we found is the cabin quality, which is stupendously good and, yet again, Audi has outdone themselves with fit and finish.
Audi is the benchmark for interior, and they just keep raising the bar.
The new cabin in the TT is simple, yet beautiful, and they have followed that with a top-notch finish in the A4.
The look, feel and layout can’t be touched by any rival, and when you consider you spent most of your time looking at the inside, rather than the outside, it the main reason why Audi tops the list.
There is an array of tech goodies in the cabin and even though there’s a lot going on, the controls are user-friendly and everything looks high-end.
Our test car was the SE spec and it has plenty of toys as standard.
The top-of-the-range sat nav, which is displayed on the large infotainment screen and on the instrument dash, gives the A4 a really high-end look.
I’m not quite sure why Audi has decided to ditch the retractable screen, going with a fixed one much like Mercedes.
It has a feel of a mini iPad being stuck on the dash instead of a sleek screen that folds into the dash like the previous A4.
It’s hard to think that Audi could have improved the ride and performance of the new A4 – but like everything else about the car, they have.
It cruises along like it’s floating on air, and it makes the weather-beat roads seem much more smooth.
The S-Line model, which would probably be the one I would go for, adding a sporty finish, would be a little stiffer, but you know where you money goes with top-end engineering.
The 2.0-litre diesel in our test car produces 150bhp and 320Nm of torque.
This gives the A4 a really nice power delivery through the gears and it effortlessly moves passed slow traffic without messing with the gears.
Again, our choice would be the auto box in the A4 – don’t get us wrong, Audi’s manual is slick and precise – but the auto gives it a more smooth drive.
When we test cars we always look for that little thing that annoys you or something that just doesn’t fit, but I’m at pains to think of anything wrong with the new A4, apart from the dash-mounted screen.
If it was our own money and I was in the market for a prestigious mid-size motor, on interior alone we'd spend it all on the new Audi A4.
It’s a car you want to drive, and a car you’ll still love and appreciate.
MODEL: Audi A4 2.0TDi SE
PRICE: from €40,700 (test car €57,291)
TAX BAND: Band A2 €180
FUEL ECONOMY: 3.8l per 100kms(claimed)
TOP SPEED: 210kph
BOOT SPACE: 480 litres