Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190

S line

Audi A4 Side
Audi A4 Front
Audi A4 Front Action 2
Audi A4 Front Action
Audi A4 Rear Action
Audi A4 Interior 2
Audi A4, side
Audi A4, rear seats

IMPROVEMENT, refinement and gentle evolution... those are the keys to Audi's strategy to overwhelm the competition in the company car park.

And nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the introduction of the latest A4 - a cornerstone for user-chooser middle managers around the country.

I've been driving one of the most popular versions of the huge model range, the 2.0 TDI, powered by a beefy 187bhp, four cylinder diesel engine.

It's bigger than the old model, but not so large to cause parking problems at your local supermarket, just a couple of centimetres here and there to make it feel a tad more comfortable.

Particular beneficiaries are front headroom and rear legroom. The boot is about the same size at 480 litres which is about average for the class.

On the move, the first thing you notice is how quiet it is. There's a distant grumble from the diesel engine at tickover, but little else. This really is a refined saloon, with about as much wind or road noise as a Roller.

The extra girth has improved its proportions and the A4 now looks the part of an executive's wheels.

Visually, it's the match for Mercedes elegant C-Class and more appealing than the rather dumpy 3 Series BMW. Inside, the usual Audi template is observed with uncluttered classy furnishings that appear both tough and timeless.

Following its debut in the racy TT, a ‘virtual cockpit' digital display with the full sat nav screen forming a backcloth to the binnacle directly in front of the driver is an option. Expect this helpful feature to spread across the range before too long.

When it comes to driving, the A4's new lightweight platform has noticeably benefited dynamics. There wasn't much wrong with the previous model - a bit solid and lacking feel perhaps, but nothing that worried most owners. The latest car, however, has a spring in its step and an athleticism that was previously absent.

Steering is still on the light side and doesn't weight-up in the way a Jaguar or a Ford does, but this is an Audi trait, and a characteristic with which buyers are clearly quite comfortable.

Performance is strong with acceleration to 62mph in just over seven seconds and a top speed of 149mph.

Response to the throttle is swift, making the 2.0 TDI feel even quicker than the figures suggest. Ample torque allows plenty of high gear grunt and also benefits economy.

Audi has done well to keep CO2 emissions to just over 100g/km which tallies with an excellent combined economy of 72.4mpg. Real life driving is likely to result in economy of around the 50mpg mark.

Standard kit on the S line includes 18-inch wheels, three-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, LED headlights and sports seats.

This car was fitted with Audi's slick seven-speed S tronic dual clutch automatic gearbox which is actually marginally more accelerative than the six-speed manual version.

FAST FACTS

Audi A4 2.0 TDI 190 S line

Price: £35,460

Mechanical:187bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 102g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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