Audi A4 Saloon 2.0

TDI S line S tronic

Audi A4 Side
Audi A4 Front
Audi A4 Front Action 2
Audi A4 Front Action
Audi A4 Rear Action
Audi A4, side
Audi A4 Interior 2
Audi A4, boot

AS is the way these days, the latest Audi A4 Saloon is bigger than the model it replaces.

Based on the new lightweight MLB Evo platform it is 25mm longer and 16mm wider than the previous generation with the extra space making the cabin spacious and airy.

The benefits on the long journey down to my in-laws were obvious as the miles slipped by effortlessly with four adults experiencing real comfort.

But a surprising downside emerged on arrival when my father-in-law insisted on the car taking pride of place in his garage.

Unfortunately, while more than capable of providing a comfortable home for his supermini, the structure struggled to accommodate what is now a big saloon. So while I could get the car in, the only route out would have involved the use of an ejector seat and a retractable garage roof.

It can't be long before the ever-expanding motors populating our highways require a massive rebuilding programme to bring the nation's garages into line.

But back to the A4 - Audi's super response to the latest Jaguar XE, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series models that have made the compact executive saloon market ultra competitive.

While exterior looks are not jaw-droppingly different to what went before - the A4 does look sharper and sleeker.

The chrome grille at the front leaves no doubt as to who makes this car while the LED lights can adjust their focus so oncoming drivers aren't dazzled.

The classy rear also features stylish tail-lights with clever ideas including door handles illuminated at night when you press the key fob.

Audi ensure the bodywork isn't a drag as the A4 boasts top figures for aerodynamics thanks to a flat under-tray and side mirrors mounted directly on the door panel which means more air can glide down the side of the car.

But it is the interior of the A4 that is the real star of the show.

Okay, you are paying north of £30,000 so everything should feel plush - but there's a quality about the A4's fit and finish that still impresses while external noise is banished from the cabin thanks to excellent soundproofing.

The highlight is an infotainment and navigation system that's a delight as it's a doddle to use - via a large touchscreen display - as well as being compatible with the latest smartphones. There are also controls on the steering wheel allowing the driver to scroll through the myriad of different displays.

The saloon features a roomy boot which can be opened off the key fob and is easy to load thanks to a wide opening and low floor. With the rear seats in place 480 litres are available while folding them flat raises this figure to 965 litres.

The A4 is a pleasure to drive with the inclusion of a multi-link suspension making it agile and responsive. The two-litre diesel engine - linked to a slick seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox - under the bonnet of the car I drove offers the heady combination of power and economy. The sprint from 0-62mph is completed in just 7.7 seconds - but the emission figure of 113g/km and average fuel economy in excess of 60mpg ensure running costs are reasonably low.

The A4's speed is mirrored by the ability to stop quickly as impressive brakes give plenty of stopping power. Safety equipment is also top notch with a plethora of airbags backed up by pre-sense city braking able to lessen the force of a collision under 53mph and even stop the car at less than 25mph.

FAST FACTS

Audi A4 Saloon 2.0 TDI S line S tronic

Price:£33,345

Mechanical:190ps, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:147mph

0-62mph:7.7 seconds

Combined MPG:67.3

Insurance Group:26

C02 emissions:113g/km

Bik rating:20%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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