A history lesson…
Audi has been playing around with the basic platform for what it wants the saloon A4 to be for years now. It’s unquestionable to say that there have been hits and misses, and while the latest variation of the A4 is very inconspicuous and, if we’re honest, a little boring, it’s still the best A4 Audi has ever made.
Audi introduced the A4 as a main rival to BMW’s 3-Series and Mercedes’ C-Class, and while it did take a few years for people to buy into the idea, Audi’s superior build-quality and class-leading feel managed to sway the aforementioned-faithful, and now Audi sells the A4 as easily as BMW sells the 3-Series.
Hot models like the RS4 have cemented the A4 as a bit of a Swiss army-knife; a car that can do the school-run then fondle your lower regions with the flick of your big toe. It’s become one of the most respected big saloons on the market.
Bang for your buck
Audi’s build quality is well publicised, and while it may have become a bit of a cliché for the dealers to sell, it still stands firm as the brand’s main selling point - that and its engines. Audi always builds superb engines. Just look at the R8 supercar; that car uses the same engine fitted in the RS4, which just goes to show how brilliant that V8 engine really is.
With the A4, you get legendary build-quality, knowledge that its been made with care and by Germans, the most up-to-date technology and engine innovations, and some serious class. It’s a car you don’t drive aggressively – unless you get the RS4. It’s a car that will soothe your brow after a hard day at the office – because only reps and business-types buy A4s.
Everything you’d expect to be there is present: air-con, airbags, the skin of dead cows, wood, climate control; you get the lot.
What you’ll pay
Prices for even 2004 A4s are very steep due to their popularity. You will have to dig very deep into your pockets if you want a newer A4, but if you can afford it then why not?
You’re looking at about £16,000 on a 57 plate. The 2.0-litre TFSI-engined models start on 08 plates at £18,500, which is pricy but you are getting German engineering.
What to check
There’s not too much to check on an A4 apart from the basic checks. They usually come fitted with big alloys, so ensure they’ve not been spending more time on the curb than the road. Just make sure the A4 you’re buying hasn’t been thrashed.
A clutch assembly kit will be around £250 and an exhaust system will set you back about £300. An alternator will be up to £150 and a radiator £170 – so not cheap, at all.
How it drives
Older A4s were always said to be too front-heavy, due to Audi’s love of putting the engine as far up front as possible to ensure there’s the maximum amount of space inside for people and things. Thankfully, though, Audi seem to have sorted this issue and now driving an A4 is as enjoyable as you’d have hoped for in your luxury saloon.
The engines are always excellent; whether it’s a diesel or petrol, you’ll have more than enough power to embarrass the hot-hatch boy racers of the UK. If you opt for the 440bhp RS4 super-saloon, expect to pay through the nose for fuel but have a continual smile on your face.