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Audi A4 review

9 / 10
6 November 2023

There’s almost nothing the Audi A4 doesn’t excel at.

This posh saloon and its Avant estate counterpart are very nearly all things to all drivers.

What we like:
  • Superb ride and handling
  • Well-made, spacious cabin
  • Smooth, efficient engines
What we don't like:
  • BMW 3 Series still the driver’s choice
  • Mercedes C-Class a hair more comfortable
  • Far from the cheapest option

Should I buy an Audi A4?

Some cars are sporty, some cars are comfy, some are affordable and some wrap you in luxury. The Audi A4 doesn’t stand out in any one area. Instead, this posh German cruiser earns such a broad range of high scores, all across the spectrum, that it’s hard to think of a car buyer who wouldn’t benefit from its talents.

Already, the car impresses before you’ve even started the engine. There’s a solid and reassuring ‘clunk’ when you close the door, and absolutely no squeaks or rattles to speak of once you start prodding parts of the dashboard. Your passengers, too, will be delighted to spend time in the A4, with lots of space in the outer seats and plush materials covering most major surfaces to soften the atmosphere.

With such a nice cabin, the A4 could’ve left it there and still be a compelling choice. However, get it out on the open road and you discover this Audi is far more athletic than you might’ve expected. It’s not sporty like its cross-country rival, the BMW 3 Series, but it’s effortless and confidence inspiring in a way that makes covering long distances a piece of cake.

Interior and technology

Sitting behind the wheel in the A4, you immediately appreciate the sense of quality on board. All the cabin trim pieces remain securely fastened and rattle free, even after an aggressive prod from an over-eager road tester. Material choices are excellent and Audi has been careful to cover every surface you usually touch in leather, wood, piano black or aluminium-effect panelling, which helps the interior look as nice as it feels.

The infotainment system is now touchscreen only, where the pre-facelift cars built up to early 2019 also included a multi-function wheel in the centre console to control the screen. We don’t like the touchscreen-only setup quite as much because you usually have to take your eyes off the road for a little longer to adjust settings, but it’s still generally easy to use and responsive to the touch, so most drivers will get used to it quickly.

There’s more to the A4’s high-tech cabin than just the screen, however. The driver’s information screen that replaces the traditional gauges helps place the car firmly in the 21st century, as do the heater and A/C controls, which incorporate little temperature screens directly into the knobs used for adjusting the system. All this helps the A4 feel truly cutting-edge inside.


The premium saloon class is stocked with cars that closely copy each other’s homework. As a result, it’s no surprise that passenger space in the Audi A4 is broadly the same as you’ll find in a BMW 3 Series or a Mercedes C-Class.

Adult passengers get lots of room up front, and seating a six-footer in the back behind another in the front is easy thanks to the generous rear legroom. Headroom back there won’t be a complaint either – especially if you select the practical Audi A4 Avant estate – but you’ll find that carrying three side-by-side on the rear row will quickly lead to bumped elbows, so is only an option for shorter drives.

There’s 480 litres of load space in the boot – a generous figure that closely tracks its rivals from BMW and Mercedes. There’s a little compromise around the boot opening because the saloon roofline means a smaller space through which to load items. Again, however, buyers concerned about outright carrying capacity are much better served by the A4 Avant estate.

Engines and performance

There isn’t a weak link in the Audi A4’s engine lineup. All cars include a turbocharged engine for better performance and you’ll find many are also equipped with the S Tronic automatic gearbox and Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system. While the latter isn’t necessary for most buyers, we would recommend searching out the automatic gearbox if you can – it better suits the car’s effortless driving experience.

Entry-level petrol cars make do with around 150hp – coming from a 1.4-litre engine in pre-facelift cars and a 2.0-litre engine in cars made from late-2019 onwards. In day-to-day driving, these options are smooth and powerful enough to keep up with traffic, but you’ll notice them running out of puff if you decide to perform a fast motorway overtake. Entry-level diesel cars have 163hp and don’t suffer from the same underpowered sensation thanks to their generous slug of low-down power.

Move higher up the engine range, however, and there’s a world of performance available to you. Upgraded 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines make between 190 and 204hp, giving the A4 much more insistent performance when you floor it. Or you can step up to the ultra-sporty S4 or RS4, which get much more power and limpet-like grip around corners.

Driving and comfort

In the past, we would’ve complimented the A4 on its overall comfort but would have little of note to say about its handling – older cars were known for numb steering and a front-heavy feel. The latest generation model doesn’t just address those complaints, it goes above and beyond to be one of the best-driving cars in its class. It has a wonderful sense of balance, with agile, grippy handling and a keen resistance to body roll.

There’s almost no compromise demanded in terms of ride quality either. The A4 glides over bigger bumps and the suspension does stellar work in tuning out the minor surface imperfections that can make long journeys a chore. It’s not roly-poly, nor floaty like the C-Class when equipped with optional air suspension – instead, simply being very well judged over poor surfaces without softening things to the point you start sacrificing handling.

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