Although the new one Audi A4 is only six months on the market, there is no thumbs up for its driver, hardly a head follows the elegant silhouette of the sedan. The reason is reasonably clear: Audi always changes the design of its mid-range very carefully, at least that is what it looks like at first glance. Only those who take a closer look, or immediately place the predecessor model next to it, will notice visual changes, such as the side line that looks more elongated thanks to a few centimeters in length, the more distinctive radiator grille or the rear, which is no longer as down-to-earth.
Nevertheless, the Audi A4 remains something like the custom-made dark blue business suit of the middle class - and differs here from its two main competitors: In comparison, the BMW 3 Series has a tighter, sporty combination, while the C-Class from Mercedes tends to sets a fashionable trend and is not afraid of a certain exaltation.
The visual restraint of the Audi is reflected in the cool, elegant design of the interior. In terms of quality, the Ingolstadt company is still top here. No switch, no button, no material that you would not like to touch. The operation is almost perfect, only the so-called "fully digital instrument cluster" overwhelms in the basic configuration with an overkill of additional information. But although there is hardly anything to complain about, the A4, in its cool perfection, hardly does anything at first. It is only after many kilometers that you learn to appreciate a vehicle that never imposes itself, never bothered the driver, but provided nothing less than a great workplace.
The chosen engine also fits this impression. The 2,0-liter diesel with 190 hp fits the vehicle's visual appearance exactly. Less would be too little, more would be superfluous. The diesel that runs a bit rough after the start is sufficiently economical and the driving performance is more than decent. In 7,7 seconds to 100 km / h, 240 km / h top - how much more should you need? Only when starting off does the diesel show a slight weakness. At first, little happens, from about 1.600 revolutions the turbocharger makes itself felt. Those who opt for the DSG automatic instead of the standard six-speed gearbox, which can be conveniently switched by hand, can compensate for this weakness. Most business customers will do this anyway.
And the A4 is made for such drivers, even if the combi version Avant is again much more popular. But the sedan looks more elegant and, of course, is quieter to the rear thanks to the locked trunk compartment. Logically, it cannot compete with the loading volume of the Avant, but 480 liters of luggage space, which can be expanded to up to 965 liters by folding the rear seat backrests, are sufficient for most of the tasks of the day - if it is not a big purchase in the hardware store.
Of course, a premium manufacturer like Audi can also pay for its excellent work. The current price list for the A39.850 with this engine in the “Sport” version shows 4 euros, which scores with larger wheels, among other things. That doesn't sound like much at first, but the configuration list thankfully provided by Audi shows all the extras at the end of a vehicle price of around 57.000 euros.
With all manufacturers, we have gotten used to the fact that various assistance systems, a navigation system, LED matrix light or metallic paint have to be paid extra. However, the Ingolstadt residents can pay for things that they involuntarily swallow: 80 euros for a start-up assistant, 300 euros for the cruise control, 125 euros for a light and rain sensor, or 380 euros for a folding rear seat backrest. And that the headrests can be variably adjusted at the front, even Audi is rewarded with 125 euros.
What the hell. The company car drivers will take advantage of their budget and make many crosses in the options list. Like every Audi, this makes the A4 expensive, but flushes a lot of simply earned money into the coffers. And the parent company can use money very well at the moment. (Peter Eck / SP-X)