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Awards 2009 - Business Car of the Year: Audi A4

Date: 27 January 2009

Audi describes the A4 as the 'cornerstone' of the brand, so it should be delighted the new version of its premium upper medium challenger has found such fleet favour it's grabbed the top title as 2009's Business Car of the Year.

Grabbing the biggest award continues a trend for the A4, as it also scooped the big prize back in 2002 when the previous generation A4 was launched.

The new version was launched last spring, and instantly recorded a cost-per-mile victory over its prestige rivals in all-important 2.0-litre diesel form. Audi has been adding to the range throughout 2008 with the Avant estate bodystyle, popular S-Line trim and several new engines joining the line-up.

We drove the original launch model back in 2007, and found a new A4 that built on the previous car's qualities by improving slightly in every area. Nothing radical was necessary but little steps forward almost across the board increased its desirability in an increasingly competitive sector. Indeed, despite the changeover from old to new in 2008, the A4 outsold its BMW 3-series nemesis into the fleet market by a couple of thousand units.

And it's not going to be a relaxing 2009 for the A4 product team, with the addition of a faux-off-road Allroad edition to build on the A6 Allroad's success, as well as a new technology option pack and a final run-out edition of the A4 Cabriolet before it's replaced by the A5 Cabrio in May. There's the performance S4 version coming this spring, too, offering huge CO2 reductions over the previous S4. And that's not to mention the low-CO2 A4e that could hit the market during 2009, potentially offering sub-120g/km CO2 emissions.

An honourable mention also goes to the Highly Commended new Vauxhall Insignia, clearly voted into second place. The new Ford Mondeo rival is starting to drip-feed onto UK roads after a launch late last year and is a massive step forward from its Vectra predecessor, especially with the interior quality that can pretty much match any of its rivals.

Highly commended: Vauxhall Insignia