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Audi A4 facelift: Test Drive Review

Date: 09 December 2011   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £26,500
Key rival: BMW 320d

You could be forgiven for not noticing the differences but the picture above is definitely of the new Audi A4.

The firm's fleet favourite has received a moderate restyle, new equipment and upgraded engines, which it claims are up to 21% more efficient per model and 11% cleaner across the board.

Blink-and-you'll-miss-it revisions include new head and tail lights, redesigned bumpers and grilles, and continuous LED daytime running lights on models with Xenon headlamps. There are also a number of changes to the interior such as new steering wheel designs and upholstery.

The most noteworthy update for fleets is the addition of a 136hp variant of the 2.0-litre TDI engine, which drops CO2 to a new low of 112g/km, where its predecessor mustered 120g/km. Unlike many a clean diesel, the 136hp A4 is equally as hushed as the larger and more powerful units in the line-up, and while it isn't the most potent, it's powerful enough for most and the performance is commendable given the CO2 levels.

Three more variants of the 2.0-litre TDI engine are available, along with a pair of 3.0-litre V6 TDI units. Petrol options consist of two 1.8-litre TFSIs and a 2.0-litre TFSI. All are claimed to be more powerful and cleaner than their forebears.

Refinement is the Audi's trump card. The cabin is truly serene and free from wind and road noise intrusion at all times. Ride comfort has also been improved over that of the outgoing model, but the somewhat numb handling limits its appeal to keen drivers.

It's possible to alter the car's behaviour by toggling the settings on the Drive Select feature. Automatic, comfort and dynamic are now joined by a new Efficiency mode, which blunts the performance but maximises economy. A further fuel-saving measure is auto start/stop, which is now standard across the A4 range.

Those fond of their gadgets are well catered for. The options list now contains the likes of Wi-Fi with the ability to connect eight devices to the internet simultaneously, Google Earth satnav maps and an adaptive cruise control system that can automatically apply full braking power at up to 18mph if it picks up on an impending collision. A so-called Break Recommendation function keeps an eye on the driver's reactions and warns the driver that it may be time to stop if he or she appears to be tired.

The A4's appeal lies in its solid, classy quality, exceptional comfort and refinement, and the allure of the badge. Lower running costs also bump up the new version's appeal. It's still a hugely desirable upper medium contender, but it falls short of its chief rival, the BMW 3-series, in terms of benchmark emissions, power and driveability.

Audi A4 2.0 TDI 136 SE
P11D price£26,500
Model price range£23,625-£38,405
Residual value 36.7%
Depreciation £16,750
Vehicle Excise Duty£115
National Insurance£1682
Cost per mile56.23
Fuel consumption67.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 112g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month£57/£114
Service intervalvariable
Insurance (1-50)group 27 (est)
Boot space480/962 litres
Engine size/power1968cc/136hp
Top speed/0-62mph128mph/9.2secs
On sale March 2012
VerdictSupremely refined, classy
and cleaner than ever, but
overshadowed by
BMW 3-Series


Supremely refined, classy and cleaner than ever, but overshadowed by BMW 3-Series