In our third update Tristan Young has fallen in love with our long-termer’s SE trim.

10 JANUARY 2007
Mileage 3129
Forecast CPM 33.8p
Actual CPM 36.8p
Loving the fact we ordered the A4 in SE trim. The suspension is so much more comfy than the S-line versions, even if it means you miss out on the sporty-looking bodykit and wheels.
20 DECEMBER 2006
Mileage 2986
Forecast CPM 33.8p
Actual CPM 36.8p
It’s not as big as the car it replaced (the huge A6 Avant), but our A4 has been proving its worth of late, hauling baby-related gear and presents to friends’ houses in the run up to Christmas. While 442 litres is average for the class, it’s all usable space. The floor’s flat, with the bumper making for easy loading, and the sides are square, so you can use every inch.

Mileage 2583
Forecast CPM 33.8p
Actual CPM 36.8p
We're continuing to rack up the miles in our favourite motorway car. Recent runs include Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes. Some think the engine is getting quieter too.

Initial Report

We only have our A4 Avant for a short time, so it’s been dropped in at the deep end. In its first month we’ve put more than 2000 miles on the prestige estate.

This reflects two things: firstly, that it’s our preferred mode of transport for long journeys, and secondly, that we’ve been doing a lot of travelling talking to people about our change from Fleet Week and Fleet Management. Our Audi A4 Avant SE 2.0 TDI 170 (to give it its full name) falls into the blossoming category of ‘higher-power diesel’. The ‘170’ on the end signifies the power output – up 30PS on the standard 2.0 TDI’s 140PS.

The extra power is welcome from a user-chooser driver’s perspective, and the cost implications are negligible. Fuel consumption actually improves for the more powerful engine, rising to 48.7mpg from 46.3, while CO2 output falls from 162g/km, equating to 22% BIK, to 154g/km (20% BIK). This 2% difference confirms that the 170 version is the better bet, despite a P11D price hike of £935. Add in the fact that the overall business costs of running the car are identical at 33.2p a mile, according to Topcalc, then the 170 has to be the logical choice.


But as with most things in life, you don’t get something for nothing, and there are two negatives to the more powerful engine.

The first is insurance – the more powerful car jumps three groups to 15.

The second point is the engine’s power delivery. Not only is the 170PS TDI more peaky and not as easy to drive smoothly as the 140PS version, it produces enough noise and vibration for us to be concerned that something was wrong.

To put our minds at ease we booked the car into Camberley Audi dealership to be given the once over. After a quick phone call the dealer was able to offer a collect and deliver service later the same week. On the car’s return, Camberley Audi called to say the car was fine and behaving normally (it had been cleaned too). It’s good to know nothing was wrong, but less good to know that that level of noise is standard.

We’ll now see if even more miles on the clock help smooth out the engine.