Audi A4 Review 2023

Audi A4 At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Some buyers may find the Audi A4 a touch vanilla, but it's so competent and polished that it's very hard to overlook, and deserves a place on everyone's premium short list.

+Exceptional quality, packed with technology, impressive refinement and comfort, efficient and economical.

-Not quite as sporty to drive as a BMW 3 Series, while diesel engines use mild-hybrid technology there's no PHEV.

New prices start from £33,695, brokers can source from £30,769
Insurance Groups are between 19–40
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

The Audi A4 is a premium saloon that goes toe-to-toe with the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Jaguar XE. Exceptional cruising refinement, impressive interior build quality and a generous standard kit are all major pluses. The latter includes Audi's superb Virtual Cockpit digital driver's display, along with a slick 10.1-inch touchscreen for controlling infotainment. The relatively frugal engine line-up includes petrol and diesel models with a 2.0-litre capacity and varying power outputs, but as yet, no plug-in hybrid model. It's available with two- or four-wheel drive, although the quattro models are expensive, and is offered in Sport, S line, and Black Edition trim levels. It's a polished all-rounder that has few flaws. Read on for our full review of the Audi A4 saloon.

The Audi A4 is a premium car that demands few compromises from its owners. Now in its fifth iteration, the latest one is very much an evolution of the previous model's approach, which has seen the A4 locked in a fierce battle for control over company car parks and suburban driveways for 30 years.

This competition with its closest rivals - the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class - has turned all three cars into incredible all-rounders, with stunning interiors, low running costs, and impressive on-board technology.

Traditionally, the 3 Series was the driver's choice, the A4 had the nicest interiors and the all-weather security of four-wheel drive, while the Mercedes struck a nice middle ground. Now however, the differences are more subtle, with exterior design and brand image playing a bigger role.

The strangle hold these three models have on the premium company car market has made it very hard indeed for solid left field alternatives such as the Volvo S60 and Jaguar XE to get a look in, despite each having their own likeable qualities.

First launched in 2015, the current model was given a major facelift in 2019. The makeover included fresh styling that cribbed notes from the larger A6 and A8 saloons, and a paired back engine range.

Both the 3.0-litre V6 diesel models and entry-level 1.4-litre petrol were dropped, leaving buyers with a choice of four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol and diesels, each available in two states of tune. All of the engines are smooth, flexible performers with competitive running costs, and the more powerful diesel model comes with four-wheel drive.

The interior remains a real highlight, with a modern and minimalist design that features high quality materials throughout, seamlessly integrating the impressive array of new on-board technology.

Buyers can choose from three trim levels: Sport, S line, and Black Edition. Even the standard Sport comes amply equipped, with a spec-bump compared to the old SE that includes sat-nav, heated seats, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch set of digital dials that Audi calls its 'Virtual Cockpit'.

Add to this long list a set of front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, and satellite navigation, and it seems hard to understand why anyone would need to upgrade to the pricier models, apart from their increasingly sporty exterior styling kits.

For a four-door saloon, the A4 is pretty practical too, with a decent boot, folding rear seats that split 40/20/40 and room for four adults to travel many miles in relative comfort. However, family buyers and those who need to regularly carry more should opt for the A4 Avant estate, a roomier version that we've reviewed separately.

The A4 excels on the motorway, where its hushed engines, supple ride (as long as you avoid the stiff sport suspension) and excellent cabin refinement make it a relaxing companion on longer trips. It handles winding roads with strong grip and reassuring poise, but several rear-driven rivals are a bit more fun in this regard.

Its premium pricing (it's expensive compared to the mechanically similar Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat) is offset by decent residual values and low running costs, with the cleanest 2.0-litre diesel models capable of achieving well over 50mpg in real-world conditions.

Looking for a second opinion? Why not read heycar's Audi A4 review.

Ask Honest John

Can I claim for an oil leak on a car I bought in 2017?

"Back in 2017 I bought an Audi A4 1.4 Sport TFSI for £13.5k which had 48k on the clock. The dealer gave me a three year warranty and a fresh MoT (No advisories) A few weeks later, a tyre pressure sensor fault code popped up, I had also started noticing drips of oil on my driveway. I took the car in and told the service department about both these issues. They told me that the mechanic forgot to reset the tyre pressure sensor but they couldn't find any leaks. Now there is pretty big leak with a very noticeable stain on my driveaway and the rear underside tray under the spare wheel is completely soaked/stained. I took the car back in and they're saying that it will cost me out of my own pocket for this oil leak as It's not a mechanical/electrical failure, they're telling me that only mechanical/electrical failures are covered under warranty. Is there anything I can do to fight this?"
Although the car was sold with a clean MoT, this is not a guarantee that there are no problems with the car and is only a snapshot of the condition of the vehicle of the day of the test. If you bought the car in 2017 with a three year warranty this would suggest that the warranty has expired, so unless you took out an extended warranty this is unfortunately something you will have to pay for from your own pocket. However, if you do have an extended warranty we would argue that until the cause of the leak is determined they cannot say for certain that it is not a mechanical fault, which would be covered under warranty.
Answered by David Ross

What is the running-in period for an Audi 2.0-litre petrol engine?

"How many miles does it take to run in an Audi 2.0-litre petrol engine?"
Assuming your Audi is brand new, the recommended running-in period is 1500km (approximately 1000 miles). During this period you should avoid using full throttle or maximum engine revs, as well as avoid labouring the engine at low engine speeds, particularly when cold. You should also avoid towing during this period. Even after this period is past, waiting until the engine is fully warm before using all the available performance will help its longevity.
Answered by David Ross

Audi A4 clutch shudder - how do I fix it?

"I have a 2014 Audi A4 Technik which has an intermittent clutch shudder when taking off in first gear. Has anyone have any experience of this problem or found a reason/solution for it? There are no other clutch symptoms on the car during everyday driving. "
Either a sign of clutch wear or a symptom of something (oil or dirt) on the surface of the clutch plate. If it's minor or infrequent then you may be ok to leave it, but I'd suggest getting it checked by a qualified mechanic.
Answered by Dan Powell

Can you recommend an Audi A4 Avant replacement?

"I have a 2016 Audi A4 TDI Ultra that has cover 103,000 miles. I'm now looking to replace it, what age/version of a newer A4 would I need to upgrade to in order for it to feel like a "worthwhile" change? My budget would be up to £25,000. I currently average 10,0000 miles a year, 12-mile daily commute. "
The current generation of A4 (which yours would be) was updated a couple of years ago, but it wasn't a very significant one. You might not find it feels like a substantial enough upgrade over your current car. We'd either suggest waiting for the next-gen A4 to come out (expect that to be revealed later this year) and for used models to appear in your budget, or consider looking at the latest BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class. Both of those cars are a generation ahead of the A4 and feel it.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
More Questions

What does a Audi A4 cost?

Buy new from £30,769(list price from £36,965)