Audi A4 (2015) Review

Audi A4 (2015) At A Glance

4/5
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 £34,345, brokers can source from £23,571
Insurance Groups are between 19–36
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 a trio of 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 either Technik, Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorspung trim levels. It's a polished all-rounder that has few flaws.

The Audi A4 is a premium car that demands few compromises from its owners. Now in its fifth iteration, it has been 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 V60, Jaguar XE, and Lexus IS 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 three states of tune. All of the engines are smooth, flexible performers with competitive running costs, and the more powerful cars come 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 five trim levels: Technik, Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung. Even the standard Technik 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.

Ask Honest John

Is the dealer liable to pay for engine repairs on my two year old Audi A4?
"I bought an Audi A4 from an Audi dealer two years ago. It's been serviced by them since purchase, with the last service in December 2017. It recently broke down and had to be towed to the Audi garage. They're asking for £1500 just to take lid off the engine and look inside for some sort of compression problem. The car is worth about £7000 and they can't give me an idea of the final repair cost. I don't think it's worth paying for what looks to be a never-ending bill. Can I resort to litigation?"
They aren't liable. Take it elsewhere to an independent Volkswagen specialist. It reads as if the timing belt might have snapped and if that has happened there could be untold damage inside the engine.
Answered by Honest John
Why have I lost my no claims bonus while I've been living abroad?
"I've been living in Australia for the last three and half years. I'm 48 years old and have had eight years no claims bonus, but I've spoken to an insurance company and they have advised me that my no claims bonus is not valid anymore. I have been quoted over £2000 pounds for insuring an Audi A4. Please can you advise me if this is true and can I get help to get cheaper insurance?"
Unfortunately so, if you let your no claims lapse for more than three years, it reverts to zero. There are insurers who will take you being out of the country into consideration, if you can prove you had no claims in Australia whilst over there and show proof of no claims over here as well, they may credit you with them. Ring insurers directly rather than price comparison sites and also speak to brokers. They should be able to advise of more helpful insurers that should be able to assist you.
Answered by Tim Kelly
Does chipping a car give it better economy and power?
"Are chips any good at giving more economy and power?"
I think you must mean plug-ins like Superchips Bluefin. The benefit is that in the event of an insurance or a warranty claim they can be removed and leave no 'ghosting' in the ECU. Varies from car to car, but I have driven an Audi A4 and a Focus ST that had been Bluefinned and the improvement in torque at low speeds was particularly pronounced in the Audi. This meant it could be upshifted earlier so used less fuel.
Answered by Honest John
What should we replace our Audi A4 TDI with?
"After 80,000 miles we are considering a replacement for the Audi A4 2.0 TDI. We were covering 19,000 miles per year but are now down to about 10,000 mostly trips of less than 25 miles. We drive into London maybe 8 times each month from Maidenhead and do occasional continental trips sometimes covering 400/500 miles in a day. The key comfort factors would be automatic transmission, electrically adjustable driving positions, handsfree phone and a great sound system. I have been seriously unhappy with the Audi transmission since we acquired the car. Audi have never succeeded in making it better for more than a few weeks at a time. But I am still not inclined to move to a manual. Our budget is £15k on top of the A4’s value? "
If you want to continue driving into London from April 2019 you need at least an EU6 diesel or an EU4 petrol. With your reduced mileage I wouldn't stay with diesel because of the cost of maintaining the car's emissions equipment. You should get about £7,500 - £8,000 for the Audi. The most obvious answers is an upgrade to the new model A4 2.0 TFSI 7-speed 190, a 2015 example of which should come within budget. The S tronic is the longitudinal dual shaft transmission shared with the A5, Q5, A7, etc.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Audi A4 (2015) cost?

Buy new from £23,571 (list price from £30,835)