The mid-size A4 luxury sedan ticks all the boxes for those wanting the best of a practical car with refined comfort and an economically responsive engine. But there is still room to grow. So what makes this car stand out? When most see the Audi brand the little kid in us comes out about what we expect in such a car. Perhaps a little too eager some may be disappointed that a car such as the A4 is a little more serious, maybe a little too German. But when you put that mindset aside and look at this car as an adult you will see that the little things matter and the refinements make this car such a joy.
Underneath the signature Audi saloon design and the legendary German reliability you don’t really get an appreciation for this car until you drive it. For something that looks so reserved it drives as such when in normal mode. The ride is relaxed yet firm and gripped to the road, the steering is very light yet perceptive and adapts at higher speeds. The cabin is a pleasant place to be with the practical layout well thought out. Finally the engine is economical, smooth and says I am to be driven with pride, the 8 speed CVT helps achieve this harmony with the engine. Overall you will think this is a nice car.
Things start to get a bit more interesting when we change it into sport mode and the car comes to life. The engine response is inconceivable, even on the base model the turbo on the 1.8TFSI will have you firm in the back of your seat with a cheesy grin from ear to ear. The CVT transmission is sharp but not as virtuous as the DSG gearbox, however it still delivers the engines punch. This is the real surprise of the A4 that really catches you out, it truly does leave you craving for more. For a front wheel drive car, the power is delivered in such a way that it does not affect the handling, in fact it is very well managed with no torque steer. Putting this car into a corner at speed you would expect some body roll but the suspension keeps it firm on the ground. This is an improvement over the previous series which suffered from understeer due to having such a heavy front, the weight distribution on the B8 series is a noticeable improvement.
I enjoy the little details of this car such as the boot that opens automatically, winding the windows down with the remote, the holders in the doors that can hold wine bottles. The automatic wipers and headlights, the MMI interface are all well thought of features standard on the A4. Delving into the technical/mechanical side of the car the basic maintenance is straightforward such as changing a headlight globe. Even basic repairs like changing spark plugs and ignition coils are simple enough to be carried out in your own garage. The use of the VCDS Scan tool makes diagnostics simple and will pinpoint the problem.
Now to address the elephant in the room around what can be improved. With so many sensors and onboard computers outside of manufactures warranty this car can be quite expensive to repair as these sensors are common to fail. The interior for a luxury car feels a little cheap with the use of too much plastic though there is the expensive option to get wooden trim. There are some common known issues so it is best to check the car history and plug in a scan tool before buying to see what problems may be prevalent.
The price of this car brand new is around $60,000 brand new and on the second hand market they start around $23,000 making it a cheap luxury car to own. Service costs are not as bad as you think and only required every 15,000 km. Parts costs will vary on what is needed you will either be in for a shock or a present surprise pending what you need.
Overall the Audi A4 is a great mid-size sedan and stands up well to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C Class. The accomplished package the A4 offers is very competitive in its price range especially in the second hand market. It is a pleasurable car to own, drive and enjoy albeit its small problems. You will not be disappointed with this car.