Such is the same-again design approach to the all-new A4, it’s tricky to spot the difference between it and the old car from the outside.

That’s a shame because this is a vastly improved executive saloon coming just as Jaguar is making all the noise with the launch of the new XE.

This 150hp diesel is the 99g/km car, at least on the standard 17-inch wheels of the SE and Sport trim levels, which matches the best of the diesel Jaguar XE or BMW 3-series. The top-spec S-line rises to 106g/km due to larger wheels.

Cabin quality and design, always an Audi strength, is once again best in class. The company is claiming levels of technology and driver assistance systems unrivalled in the class, too, as well as refinement levels to match the A8 luxury saloon, helped by a claimed lowest aerodynamic drag coefficient in its class.

On the road, those claims really stack up, and the A4 is impressive for its lack of cabin noise, being significantly more refined than its main BMW and Jaguar rivals. It’s still probably behind both for driver interaction; however, there’s no complaint when you push it hard on bendier roads, and ride quality certainly outpoints either.

It’s pretty tight for whole-life costs, certainly between the Audi and the Jaguar at the top of the table, although the equivalent 3-series falls away as it can’t match the RV of either rival.

A 41.2% RV for the Jag swings the costs decision its way, beating the Audi by 0.6p per mile. The A4 is cheaper, but its still very impressive RV is 39.4%, which gives the Jag enough of an edge.

It’s fair to say executive saloon drivers have never had it so good, with the Mercedes C-class also well worthy of consideration. It’s a real shame Audi has gone so very conservative with the looks of the new A4, because it deserves as much to shout about on the outside as it has inside and under the skin.

Audi A4 2.0 TDI Ultra 150 SE

Model price range £25,900-£38,950
Residual value 39.4%
Depreciation £17,645
Fuel £4051
Service, maintenance and repair £2610
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £2048
Cost per mile 56.3p
Fuel consumption 74.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 99g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month £82/£165
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 480/965 litres
Engine size/power 1968cc/150hp