If you want an Audi A4 2.0 TDI there’s no way I’m going to be able to talk you into buying a Ford Mondeo, even though it’s cheaper and much more engaging to drive. If you want an Audi, you’re set on the badge, the image, the perceived quality, maybe the technology, the fuel economy and emissions. How does it drive? You don’t care.
Are you going to tell me about the Audi A4 2.0 TDI anyway?
Of course I am – this is CAR Online, after all. But it’s not great news. Audi’s made big claims about its latest front-wheel drive platform yet, while it’s a marginal improvement on what went before, this is still resolutely an Audi A4, new or not. And that means it’s got a thumpy ride, mute steering and dim reactions.
You’d forgive its unengaging feel if the Audi cosseted over corrugated surfaces, but the sad fact is that it never settles down. It’s insistently firm over low-speed bumps and lacking in body control over long-wave stuff, so it feels like a tug boat caught in a rough harbour.
The steering is over-light at low speeds but feels reluctant to turn once you’ve gathered pace, and corners show the A4 up as leaden. Put simply, it just ain’t no fun.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our Audi A4 2.0 TDI first drive
Does it have any good points?
Well, it’s an Audi, so of course it does. This is where the Mondeo comparison works the other way. You’ll bask in a smug glow when you tell people what you own, it will look prestigious as it crouches on your drive, and it genuinely looks and feels well-finished. There’s plenty of room inside (the A4 is nearly 8in longer than a 3-series), even if there are signs here and there that Audi is spending less on cabin trim. It’s also competitive in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions.
The new common-rail diesel engine is impressive too, far more refined than the hammery old pumpe duse unit, it’s brisk, and it’s linear in its power delivery.
Come on, Audi. Decide whether you want to sell cars that handle really well or cars that ride well – the C-class can do both, you know. Sadly, the A4 can do neither and it seriously undermines what is otherwise an excellent car.
You’ll want to love it but, if you’re at all interested in the driving experience, then you just won’t.