Solid and reliable, but very dull to drive
Impressive reliability - has needed servicing and tyres only.
It's a beautifully engineered car which feels the same at 62,000 miles as it did at 2,500. Typical Audi reliability too.
No fun at all to drive. EVO magazine once described the VAG 1.8T 20v engine as "the most charisma-free internal combustion engine ever designed", and they're right. It's torquey thanks to the turbo, but the delivery is linear and uninteresting in a way that the exotic 5-valve, turbocharged spec doesn't even hint at. Can be made to guzzle fuel (as little as 22 mpg) without trying too hard as well.
This is one type of car where you wouldn't be missing out on anything by going for the diesel version. Handling is like the engine - competent and inoffensive, but it doesn't exactly encourage or reward exploration of its upper limits. For pounding motorways, and for making easy progress, both of which this car excels at, one of VAG's excellent TDI engines would be punchier where it counts, far more effortless and significantly more economical.
On the whole, the A4 does exactly what you would expect a premium saloon to do, in that it gets you from A to B in a comfortable and refined way, and with better build quality than the mainstream manufacturers (although do not disregard the strides they have made recently). It's not a better car than the 3-series, but on the plus side, it enjoys a far better image, not to be underestimated when it comes to other drivers letting you out of junctions or generally behaving courteously.
What it doesn't do is tug at the heart strings though, or invoke any emotion in the driver apart from respect. How much of an enthusiast you are dictates how much of a problem this will be for you.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 18th May, 2005