35: Audi A4 – quietly impressive and now with subtle improvements

Top cars for 2018: Handsome premium saloon that delivers on its promise


The quiet one. While the BMW 3 Series hogs the handling headlines, the Mercedes C-Class takes the image plaudits, and the Jaguar XE, Alfa Giulia, and Lexus IS jockey for the ‘alternative’ position, the A4 keeps its head down and just gets on with being roundly very good.

Audi took, essentially, no risks at all when creating the current A4. You can imagine the conversation at Audi HQ running along the lines of “let’s make it about ten per cent better in every respect than the old one. And that’s lunch…” Thus is proves.

The A4 is very subtly handsome, with lights, grille, and bumper chiselled but not overly showy. The cabin looks all but identical to that of the the old A4, but its levels of touchy-feely quality have been raised, and comfort and refinement are simply excellent. Just beware the central infotainment screen that looks like a touchscreen but isn’t.

Catches us out every time, that one. 2.0-litre TDI diesels in either 150hp or 190hp forms are the obvious choices, but don’t ignore the excellent 150hp 1.4 TSI. S4 and RS4 hot-rod versions are alarmingly fast and subtly steroidal. Avant estate is the one to have.

Best model: 2.0 TDI 150hp S-Line Avant Prices start from: €39,440 Finance package from: €359 Co2 emissions: 99-199g/km Sum-up: You’re not going to stand out from the crowd, but the A4 is quietly impressive.