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Audi A4: Affordable style, potent engines

By Roger St. Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Way back in the 1960s a friend of our family was given a big promotion at work. The keys to a brand new Audi 100 came as part of the package but his wife would not allow him to park it outside their house because the neighbours might think he was showing off!

Audi’s at the time were rare, exotic and considered rather posh.

Times change. The brand is far less exclusive these days and while a fully loaded, top of the range A4 will set you back a not inconsiderable £40,685 you can get behind the wheel of the entry level version for only just over half of that – or £25,685 to be precise – not quite motoring for the masses but certainly accessible to a far wider market than were the first four-ring bonnet vehicles to arrive on our roads.

Available in Avant estate and tough Allroad versions, as welll as an executive saloon, the A4 is now in ts second decade, with more than five million sold.

Built on the same platform as the sister A5 coupé and convertible, the current car is a seven-year-old model, though it did have a largely cosmetic facelift in 2011 but critics argue that it needs as complete re-vamp if it wants to stay competitive with its hot rival, the BMW 3-Series – which handles better.

But the A4 is extremely well equipped, offers a selection of powerfully, highly efficient engines, is relatively inexpensive to run and boasts very strong residual values.

It’s a nice looker too thanks to the re-worked ’brand image’ grille, headlamps and LED running lights.

Petrol engine choices range from a 1.8 TFS to a three-litre V6 and a high performance 4.2-litre V8 while the oil burners include the frugal 2.0 Ultra version that can achieve an admirable 67.3-mpg in the combined cycle. There are also three different two-litre diesels and a 3.0 V6 diesel too.

Don’t part with your readies too quickly though for a completely revised A4 – that’s ‘All New’ in current car industry parlance – is set to arrive later this year, which means that re-sale prices for the outgoing version will drop considerably.

The new car will take its styling cues from the recently launched new rendition of the TT sports coupé.

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