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In-depth reviews

Audi A4 saloon (2008-2011)

"No wonder Audi’s A4 is such a popular choice for company car drivers. Put simply, it’s a great all-rounder that holds its value well"

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Spacious, practical cabin
  • Build quality
  • Fuel economy from TDIe model

Cons

  • Not as fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series
  • Suspension too firm for UK roads
  • LED driving lights not to all tastes

Thanks to its impressive build quality and carefully designed interior, the A4 feels every bit as special as rivals from BMW and Mercedes. With light, accurate steering, plus excellent performance from all of the engines, the Audi A4 is a comfortable, unfussy car to drive. Four-wheel drive is standard with the A4’s more powerful engines, while front-wheel-drive versions are best for low running costs. Economy-minded drivers should go for the 2.0 TDIe diesel.

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This generation of A4 has now been replaced. Read our full review of the latest Audi A4 saloon.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Turbo petrol engines provide performance

You’ll pay more to buy an A4 than mainstream models like Ford’s Mondeo, but you’ll get more money back when you come to sell it, as the Audi holds its value well. Diesel engines deliver the best economy, but the 1.8 and 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol engines provide performance and decent running costs. To sweeten the ownership experience, Audi regularly offers discount servicing deals, and cheap MoT tests, too.

Engines, drive & performance

Comfortable and simple to drive

The Audi A4 is comfortable and simple to drive – particularly if you opt for the automatic seven-speed gearbox. Front-wheel-drive models are just as competent as quattro four-wheel-drive cars, and are no less enjoyable to drive. We’d recommend looking at these models if value for money is at the top of the agenda, while the quattro system is only really worth it if you spend time towing or driving on slippery roads. Tyre, wind and engine noise are all well suppressed, particularly at motorway cruising speeds.

Interior & comfort

The seats are great for long distance driving

Thanks to the spacious high-quality interior, the A4 saloon has the most appealing cabin of any compact executive saloon. Comfort is good, too, while the seats provide plenty of support and are great to sit in for long periods of time. If we’ve one complaint, it’s with the suspension. The Audi’s sporty set-up feels firm, so the A4 doesn’t ride over bumps and lumps in the road as well as the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Practicality & boot space

Passenger room in the rear is impressive

Practicality is where the Audi A4 really scores, with passenger room in the back proving particularly impressive. The rear seats have plenty of headroom, which means it’s a great choice for those regularly transporting adults. Those with long legs will appreciate the A4’s generous legroom, too. The boot is huge and can be easily accessed via the remote-opening bootlid, while a split-fold rear bench is standard on all models and a ski-hatch is available on the options list.

Reliability & safety

The A4 is extremely well built

We’ve already described in detail how well we think the Audi’s cockpit is screwed together, and owners agree. The Audi A4 scored 91.07% for build quality in the 2010 Driver Power satisfaction survey, which is very respectable. What’s more, the new A4’s overall position in the Driver Power top 100 at 39 is a significant improvement on its predecessor, which found itself in 78th place.

Price, value for money & options

The A4 undercuts rivals on price

Like for like, the Audi A4 tends to undercut premium rivals like the BMW 3 Series on price. Equipment levels are good too, as even the standard version comes with alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and air-conditioning. Spend a little extra on SE specification, and the equipment list comes up to the level we’d expect on an executive car.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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