If you're after a prestige motor in the compact executive car market then four shiny silver rings should do it. Tim Barnes-Clay takes the Audi A4 saloon for a spin.
The Audi emblem of four linked circles will elevate your standing in the hierarchical world of business in an instant.
The logo denotes one of Germany's oldest automobile manufacturers and it has represented quality for generations.
It symbolises the merger in 1932 of four previously independent motor vehicle producers: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer.
Get in to any diesel or petrol powered Audi and you'll soon see that the Bavarian-based company's focus is on craftsmanship, fine quality and cutting edge technology.
Audi A4 'elegant and sporty'
The Audi A4 2.0 TDI S line Saloon - diesel, with a sporty S line trim - that I drove for a week was no different.
The A4, with its elegance, sportiness and emotional appeal, forms the centrepiece of the Audi make, and the car became even more defined with an update rolled out in early 2012.
The horizontal lines at the front end are accentuated: the bonnet is more arched, the upper corners of the grille are tapered, and the Audi rings are highlighted three-dimensionally.
The redesigned bumpers are striking with their angular air inlets, their revised grilles and the flat front fog lights.
The headlights have also changed, with a slight wave at the bottom edges, and a rearranged interior.
Xenon plus headlights are available as an optional extra, but come as standard on the sportier S line model I tested.
The tail lights reflect the shape of the headlights, and have harmonised strips of LEDs.
The bumper, with its diffuser insert, hints at the car's athleticism, as does the exhaust system, with its twin tailpipes.
Large boot a 'practical touch' on executive Audi A4
Inside, the Audi A4 Saloon has smart touches of chrome and high-gloss inlays.
Operation of the controls is simple and intuitive, and the black leather seating with the S line sport package is the icing on the cake.
The Saloon's luggage compartment has a large 480-litre capacity – 962 litres with the rear seats folded down.
So driving a nice compact executive car doesn't have to come at the expense of practicality.
Audi A4 Saloon: Spec
The chassis of the Audi A4 is striking with its sporty precision, high ride comfort and safety.
The 175bhp turbo diesel engine in the 2.0 TDI S line Saloon combines pulling power with efficiency.
Top speed is 143mph, and 0-62mph is reached in a swift 8.2 seconds.
The car's electronic stability program system further improves handling, and its large brakes – with ventilated front and rear disks – offer supreme stopping strength.
What's more, CO2 emissions are only 120g/km and an average of up to 61.4mpg can be teased from the tank.
This means the Audi A4 is made for mile-munching and so, along with its tasteful image, will serve any senior manager who lives on the road very well indeed.
Audi A4 Saloon: Pros & cons
- Sophisticated √
- Sporty √
- Efficient √
- Safe √
- Comfortable √
- Costly X
Audi A4 Saloon: Fast facts
- Max speed: 143 mph
- 0-62 mph: 8.2 secs
- Combined mpg: 61.4
- Engine: 1968 cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel
- Max. power (bhp): 175 at 4200 rpm
- Max. torque (lb/ft): 280 at 1750-2500 rpm
- CO2: 120 g/km
- Price: £29,635 on the road
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