THE compact executive saloon market has never been so busy.
Jaguar rattled the German opposition when it launched the super XE and gave buyers an alternative to the new Mercedes C-Class and the revamped BMW 3 Series.
Now Audi has reacted strongly by introducing an all-new A4 to make sure they stay in the hunt.
Larger, lighter and in some cases more powerful than the outgoing version - the newcomer does not look dramatically different from its predecessor.
The usual Audi styling cues feature and the front is dominated by the large chrome grille while the neater rump features handsome scalloped tail lights. The new car manages to look sharper than the old model and certainly has more kerb appeal.
If you underwhelmed by the way the new car looks, you will certainly be impressed by the changes you can't see.
The A4 is new from the ground up with a host of technical changes to make the car better to drive, more economical and quicker.
A flat under-tray reduces its drag coefficient to the best in class and a move to a multi-link suspension set-up front and rear means it is more agile and fun to drive.
The engineers have also improved ride quality and the A4 is more refined than ever and quieter thanks to better sound insulation.
If you're not wowed by the exterior, the interior will do the trick. The cabin of the A4 feels and looks more premium than its rivals.
The materials are soft and everything feels plush and well put together. There's isn't a cheap or nasty piece of plastic to be found in the cabin and everything smacks of real quality.
The infotainment and navigation system in the A4 is superb and that's down to the brilliant virtual cockpit - a Â£240 option - and Audi's new touchscreen display, both of which combine to make the whole set up very simple and easy to use.
The A4 is also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.Both are excellent systems and essentially mirror your smartphone's functions and menus onto the 8.3-inch central display.
For the first time on the A4 this is now a touchscreen and it responds to functions very much like a smartphone would, so you can pinch to zoom in and out and swipe across the screen to move across the navigation map. You can also pin point exact locations on the sat nav by pressing and holding the screen rather then inputting the destination manually.
There is room for four adults to travel in real comfort (five at a push) and the legroom in the rear is better than in its close rivals, while the boot can hold 480 litres of luggage.
On the safety front the A4 gets impressive brakes, which offer good pedal feel and more stopping power. This is combined with pre-sense city braking that can automatically brake the car to lessen the force of a collision at under 53mph and even stop the car at less than 25mph.The A4 also gets adaptive cruise control, which is able to drive the car for you at crawling speeds or keep itself within its lane at higher speeds.
The 2.0-litre eco-efficient Ultra ngined A4 is the model that will really appeal to high-mileage and company car drivers for tax purposes.
It pumps out 150ps and as a six-speed manual costs £28,465 which comes with lots of standard equipment. Top speed is 130mph and it tackles the sprint to 62mph in 8.9 seconds with an emission figure of 95g/km.
Claimed combined economy is 74.3mpg and although you will be lucky to achieve that in real conditions you will still do very well.
As usual you will need to avoid ticking too many option boxes to keep the price to a respectable level but the SE will offer enough for most owners.