Audi A4 (2015-2019) Review
The Audi A4 is comfortable, roomy and full of high-tech touches, but isn’t exactly exciting to look at and alternatives are more fun to drive
What's not so good
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The Audi A4 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a smart car with frugal engines, loads of equipment and a comfortable, practical cabin with room for five adults.
It’s not just more spacious than a BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class or Jaguar XE – it’s a class above in terms of build quality and high-tech features. Everything you’ll touch regularly feels as solid as a granite doorstop and the optional Virtual Cockpit digital driver’s display will make you feel like you’re driving a car from the future.
Sadly, it’s not all good news. Leather seats don’t come as standard on entry-level cars and adjustable lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long journeys is a £250 option on SE and Sport models.
Thankfully, there’s enough seat adjustment for you to stretch out – even if you’re very tall – and space in the back is excellent for a car this size. Three adults will fit without feeling too cramped and there’s plenty of room to fit a bulky child seat.
The Audi A4 boot is pretty practical, too. Its outright capacity is identical to the C-Class and 3 Series, and you can flip the back seats down in a three-way split if you need to carry up to three passengers and some very long luggage at once.
The Audi A4 is super comfortable, packed with high-tech gadgets and built like a nuclear bunker
You can get the Audi A4 with one of seven petrol and diesel engines. Pick the 1.4-litre petrol if you spend most time driving around town or one of the 2.0-litre diesels if you do lots of motorway miles. You can also get faster S4 and RS4 models with powerful turbocharged V6 petrol engines, but they cost a lot to buy and to run.
Stick to the standard Audi A4’s range of engines and you’ll have a frugal saloon car that’s comfortable and quiet over rough roads. You’ll hear less wind and tyre noise than in the BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar and its light controls and standard parking sensors make it a doddle to drive in town.
Another feather in the Audi A4’s cap is its reassuring five-star safety rating – awarded by Euro NCAP in 2015 helps make it a very safe family car and well worth considering if you prefer your saloons spacious rather than sporty.
There’s plenty of room for tall passengers to sit in the back behind equally lanky drivers but, annoyingly, you have to pay extra for some handy storage bins and cupholders
You might find yourself having to fork out a colossal £950 for electric seat adjustment, although this’ll depend on which specific model you go for
You won’t have any trouble getting comfortable in the Audi A4’s front seats – even if you’re very tall. There’s loads of head and leg room and plenty of seat adjustment as standard. Sadly, adjustable lumbar support – to help reduce back ache on long drives – will set you back £250 on SE and Sport models.
Electric seat adjustment costs between £200 and a whopping £950 depending on which model you pick, but it does come with a handy memory feature so you won’t have to fiddle around with the seat’s settings each time you lend your car to someone else.
Space in the back is very nearly as generous as up front. There’s enough room for a six-foot-tall passenger to stretch out behind an equally lanky driver and more headroom than in the C-Class and XE – even in models fitted with the optional £1,295 panoramic glass roof.
Your passengers will have plenty of space to tuck their feet under the front seats too, and the Audi A4’s wide cabin means there’s more shoulder room for three adults to sit side-by-side than in the C-Class, 3 Series or XE. Okay, the central seat’s not quite as comfortable as the outer two but it’s still reasonably soft and there’s only a slight lump in the floor to get in the way of your middle passenger’s feet.
The wide rear door openings make it pretty easy to lift in a child seat and the Isofix anchor points come with clearly marked plastic caps – just be careful not to lose them. The Audi A4’s relatively low roof means you’ll have to duck down slightly to strap in a child but it’s no more difficult than in the 3 Series, C-Class or XE.
All the Audi A4’s door bins are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle and there’s space for an equally large bottle in the glovebox. You get a pair of large cupholders in the centre console up by the dashboard and a roomy storage bin under the flip-up front armrest that’s perfect for hiding small valuables safely out of sight.
Sadly, you don’t get any cupholders in the back as standard – they’re only available as part of the £175 Storage Pack. This pack also comes with a lockable glovebox, some storage nets behind the front seats and a storage cubby beside the steering wheel for your sunglasses.
The Audi A4’s 480-litre boot is exactly the same size as in the C-Class and 3 Series and it’s easily big enough to carry a set of golf clubs or a large baby buggy. It’s slightly easier to load items in the Audi than the Mercedes or BMW thanks to its wider opening and lower boot lip, however.
You get a few handy fold-out shopping hooks to hold your groceries securely in place but you’ll have to pay £175 for the Storage Pack if you want some handy netted cubbies and a 12V socket.
Unfortunately, the Audi A4 doesn’t come with underfloor storage, but you do get three-way (40:20:40) split rear seats as standard so you can carry up to three passengers and some very long luggage at once.
Need to carry even more luggage? Flip all three back seats down and you’ll have access to a roomy 965-litre load bay – that’s exactly the same size as the Mercedes and 10 litres more than the BMW. The seats don’t fold completely flat so it’s a little tricky to push heavy boxes right up behind the front seats but there’s just enough space to lift in a bike with both its wheels attached.
The Audi A4 is comfortable, easy to drive and cheap to run but even the fastest 3.0-litre V6 models aren’t all that fun to drive
The Audi A4 feels more grown-up and relaxing than the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE. It’s not as much fun as either on a twisty country road, however
You can get the Audi A4 with four diesel and three petrol engines and with either front or four-wheel drive.
The entry-level 1.4-litre petrol might sound a little small for a car this size but it’s perfect for pottering around town or heading out onto the motorways. It’s slightly smoother and quieter than the 2.0-litre diesels at slow speeds and returns a claimed 53.3mpg – although you’ll probably see a figure in the low forties in real-world conditions.
If you do lots of miles you’ll want to consider one of the 2.0-litre diesels instead. These 150hp and 190hp cars are slightly more at home cruising along at motorway speeds and will return around 55mpg and 50mpg respectively in normal driving conditions.
You can also get a more powerful 252hp 2.0-litre petrol that’ll sprint from 0-62mpg in less than six seconds but it’s more expensive to buy and struggles to return more than 35mpg.
There’s also a 3.0-litre V6 diesel model with either 218hp or 272hp that’s perfect if you want a motorway cruiser that’s fast and relaxing to drive. The more powerful version is both quicker than the top-spec petrol (it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds) and cheaper to run. You can expect it to return around 45mpg in real-world conditions.
At the top of the performance tree you’ll find S4 and RS4 versions. These are both seriously rapid machines that’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in less than five seconds but you’ll have to set aside around £45,000 and £60,000 respectively to park one on your driveway – and that’s before you start adding options.
All 2.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel Audi A4 cars come with automatic gearboxes as standard. The former features a twin-clutch system that’s responsive but a little jerky at slow speeds while the latter comes with a conventional auto that’s smoother but doesn’t feel quite as sporty.
Unfortunately, the DSG automatic costs an extra £1,530 on 1.4-litre petrol cars and £1,550 on 2.0-litre diesel models but it’s well worth paying for. It really helps take the stress out of long journeys and gives your left leg a rest in traffic jams.
You can get Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system fitted to all but the less powerful 1.4 and 2.0-litre petrol cars, but the standard front-wheel-drive models are easily grippy enough. Only consider forking out for a quattro model if you find yourself regularly stuck up slippery country lanes of live somewhere that suffers from particularly icy winter weather.
The Audi A4 might be larger than most family cars but it’s still relatively easy to drive around town. The pillars between the windscreen and the doors don’t create any particularly large blindspots at junctions and you get front and rear parking sensors as standard to help make parking a doddle.
The Audi A4’s suspension does a good job ironing out bumps around town – even with the larger 19-inch alloy wheels on top-spec Black Edition models. The optional £325 sports suspension can make it feel slightly unsettled at slow speeds, however.
The more expensive Adaptive Sports Suspension does a much better job – it’s soft and supple over bumpy roads yet stops the A4’s body leaning too much in tight corners so your passengers won’t feel car sick. Unfortunately, it’ll set you back £900 on SE and Sport models and £600 on S Line and Black Edition versions.
Even without the adaptive suspension, the Audi A4 is very relaxing to drive. Every Audi A4 comes with cruise control as standard and you’ll hear less wind and tyre noise at motorway speeds than in the Mercedes, BMW or Jaguar.
The Audi A4 earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP back in 2015. The tests have been made stricter since then but the Audi’s still one of the safest small saloons on sale thanks to its standard-fit active safety kit. All models come with automatic emergency braking – that’ll brake for you if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead – and a system that’ll make sure the brakes are applied after a crash to help prevent neck injuries in case of a second collision.
For even greater peace of mind you’ll want to pick the Driver Assistance Pack. It costs an extra £1,250 but comes with traffic sign recognition, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control that’ll maintain a safe distance to traffic ahead before returning to a preset speed when the road’s clear.
The Audi A4 interior is sensibly laid out and looks like it belongs in a much more expensive car, but many of its party-piece gadgets cost extra