Our Fleet Test Drive: Audi A4 - Final Report
11 December 2008
After more than 10,000 miles with Audi's new A4, all I can find to complain about is that the speedo markings  are too small, the 'clever' key is anything but, the boot's sometimes reluctant to shut and the rear number plate is wonky.
That's it. My 2.0 TDI has been absolutely reliable, and despite ticking well into five figures on the mileage is nowhere near needing a service. And as the boot not shutting isn't serious enough to require a fix, I've no idea where my nearest Audi dealer even is.
We've averaged 40.2mpg from the strong 2.0-litre 143PS diesel that feels and sounds so much better than previous Audi units of equivalent power. It's a figure I'm pleased with, especially given a lack of driving economically. We managed a high of 45.3mpg heading back through France at the end of a 3000-mile round trip for a holiday in Portugal, but overall economy remained fairly flat with most tanks around the 40mpg mark, bar a couple of rare urban-only forays into 33mpg territory.
Inside, the main surfaces are well finished in expensive-feeling materials, but there are a couple of less visible spots where a few pounds look to have been saved. The very comfortable but horrendously expensive £1290 Milano leather seats  were well-tested on the two-day trip each way to Portugal.
The intuitive satellite navigation  and six-disc changer, driven by Audi's logical MMI system, was also well-used, but given that it costs just under £2000 and was tripped up by the mass of route choices through France, investing in a portable satnav and the £200 iPod connection option would save a massive wedge of cash.
The other options - including Bluetooth phone system and handy hill-hold assist that automatically engages the handbrake when you stop - are all recommended. We didn't have cruise control, a £190 extra, but given the A4's excellent mile-munching qualities it's a shame Audi doesn't offer it as standard, especially when volume models at significantly below this price bracket do exactly that.
Over the past six months, KwikCarcost has increased the new A4's cost per mile figure. The residual value prediction has dropped from 51.1% retained to 46.8, while fuel costs have risen. There have also been small increases in P11D and SMR costs.
The A4 is not a car to get the adrenaline pumping, but that premium badge combined with great build quality, classy looks, refinement and ability to carry passengers in comfort is almost unmatched at this price level. The new A4 is just like the previous generation model, but just a little bit better.