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Audi A4: Test Drive Review

Date: 24 December 2009   |   Author:

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £24,230
Key rival: BMW 3-series

Despite all BMW's market-leading progress with its Efficient Dynamics programme, it is German premium brand rival Audi that is first to get an upper medium saloon below 121g/km and therefore into the 13% benefit-in-kind tax brand.

Although BMW and Audi sibling VW will respectively launch a 320d Efficient Dynamics model at an incredible 109g/km - which has additional capital allowance implications - and a Passat Bluemotion at 114g/km next year, Audi is first below this crucial boundary with the 120g/km A4 2.0 TDIe. The CO2 figure alone will save a 40% tax payer £40 per month on BIK bills compared with if the car had been 1g/km less efficient, while the 136PS saloon also has a 61.4mpg combined fuel economy figure from its 136PS 2.0-litre diesel engine.

The biggest compliment to pay the A4 is that it's pretty much impossible to tell from behind the wheel that this is a low-CO2 version. It's neither as rapid nor as good to drive as the equivalently powered BMW 318d, but the tax savings of £25 per month for a lower-rate tax payer make the A4 a new company car favourite. The very decent 48.8p per mile figure is a result of residual values that come up a tiny bit short of 40% and lower fuel costs from this more efficient package.

The only drawback, apart from the looming low-CO2 Passat and 3-series models, is that the A4 isn't a car for the driving enthusiast, thanks mainly to unpleasantly electric and artificial steering. But it's otherwise a premium package of elegant styling and good interior quality and comfort.

The A4e is available in standard or SE trims, ensuring that drivers plumping for the most environmentally friendly model in the range don't have to put up with a sparse cabin stripped of pleasantry.

It's a major landmark for Audi to get the A4 down to below 121g/km, and worthy of praise as it's not simply been achieved by bunging in an ultra low-power engine. The lowest-emitting model is actually more powerful than the entry 2.0-litre diesel, which packs 120PS. It will be interesting to see if the brand can keep pace when BMW takes its turn to lower the bar next spring.

Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE 136 saloon
P11D price£24,230
Model price range£20,490-£35,600
Fuel consumption61.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 120g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month£52/£105
Service intervalvariable mls
Insurancegroup 12
Boot space (min/max)480/962 litres
Engine size/power1968cc/136PS
Top speed/0-62mph134mph/9.5secs
On sale October 2009
VerdictExcellent achievement that
makes this A4 the lowest-emitting
premium brand saloon – for now.


Excellent achievement that makes this A4 the lowest-emitting premium brand saloon – for now.