The new Audi A4 driven on Irish roads
Pros: Refined drive, sleek styling, economical
Cons: Less practical than A-Class saloon, expensive options list
The Audi A4 is one of Ireland's best-selling executive saloons, and indeed one of the most searched models on Carzone. Audi’s model range has changed significantly for 2020, and so has the A4, with sleek new exterior styling, an interior overhaul and mild-hybrid technology as standard with its petrol engines. The A4 goes up against the newly updated BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, both proven performers. We spent a week with the new A4 Saloon on Irish roads to see how it has changed for 2020.
Styling has evolved subtly with new front end tweaks and revised LED headlights
It is better to think of the new A4 as an evolution rather than a revolution in the styling stakes. Everything other than the A4’s boot lid, bonnet and roof has changed under the latest update, with new LED headlights, new wheels, reshaped bumpers and wider wheel arches among the most notable changes. We tested the S-Line specification model which benefits from 19-inch alloy wheels, S Line front and rear bumpers and sports suspension. Audi’s Navarra Blue paint scheme is a great match, although we're still undecided on the new chrome tailpipe trims. Buyers can also consider the larger Audi A4 Avant which offers additional space and practicality in estate guise.
Mild-hybrid technology is now included as standard across the petrol engine range
The A4 majors on finish, with excellent build quality and a fabulous driver’s area. It feels roomier inside than the BMW 3 Series, and offers enough space for four adults with slightly more leg room than the previous model. The most notable change inside is a new 10.1-inch touch screen media system which is standard across the range, and it represents quite a shift away from the previous model. Digital dials are also now featured as standard in the driver’s display. Our test car features with Audi’s 12.3 inch Virtual Cockpit system, and it's an excellent if somwhat expensive optional extra.
The cabin features a new 10.1-inch touch screen system and is finished in high-grade materials
The A4’s boot offers 480 litres of room which is incidentally the same as both the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The A4’s rear seats are split folding as standard however, which is helpful for lugging larger items. There are plenty of storage areas throughout the cabin including reasonably-sized door bins and other storage under the driver’s armrest, although there is limited space in the centre console itself. There is also a pair of ISOFIX mounts in the rear seats for family buyers with child seats.
The optional Virtual Cockpit Plus system presents driving information in vibrant fashion
Engines and Driving:
The A4 is offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines now named in similar fashion to the Audi A6 range. The petrol range includes a 2.0-litre TFSI engine in three states of tune (35 TFSI, 40 TFSI or 45 TFSI), while the diesel range is a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine also in three states of tune (30 TDI, 35 TDI and 40 TDI). Our test car is the mid-range 35 TDI diesel engine, and it offers 163 horsepower with a smooth shifting S-Tronic Automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive. It’s well-suited to the A4 with smooth power delivery, minimal noise at speed and excellent economy over long distance drives. The 35 TDI can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds, while it offers strong low down grunt at motorway speeds. A new 12-volt mild-hybrid system is included with the TFSI petrol engines and helps to return improved economy in urban driving conditions. The A4 is ultimately composed from the driver's seat, offering lots of assurance, refinement and comfort, albeit it's less engaging than the BMW 3 Series.
Our '35 TDI' test car is equipped with a 163 horsepower 2.0-litre diesel engine, front wheel drive and an S-Tronic transmission
Prices and features:
Prices for the new Audi A4 Saloon start at €40,579 for the entry SE model, which is on par with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The entry specification SE model boasts front and rear leather seats, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, Audi drive select, cruise control and speed limiter, Audi’s Smartphone Interface, LED interior lighting and electric heated mirrors. Stepping up to S-Line specification adds 19-inch alloy wheels, S Line front and rear bumpers, black cloth headlining, decorative inserts in the cabin, sports suspension, leather and Alcantara sports seats and various other sporty upgrades. Our test car features a suite of optional upgrades including MMI Navigation Plus, Virtual Cockpit Plus and a Parking Assistance package.
The A4 includes 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear leather seats and parking sensors as standard
Carzone verdict: 4/5
In the tightly-contested executive saloon class, the A4 edges its competition with a superb interior, driving refinement and excellent engines. The new model is roomier and ultimately more refined. While its styling has only evolved subtly, it remains one of the best-looking saloons in the class too. The BMW 3 Series is ultimately more engaging to drive, while the level of standard equipment with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is very competitive. As an all round executive package, it's hard to look beyond the new A4 however, one to shortlist for 2020 and beyond.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Audi A4 35TDI S Line
Prices from: €40,570
Price as tested: €57,784
Annual Motor Tax: €190
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
0-100km/h: 8.7 seconds
Transmission: S-Tronic Automatic
Body style: Saloon
Boot Space: 480 litres
BMW 3 Series