Only perfectionists will complain about the performance, everyone will notice it's just a little bit bumpy
Oozes style and is superbly comfortable, we'll forgive the dash buttons for being a bit fiddly
Six airbags and stability control are standard. Options include lane-departure and blind spot-warning systems
Not as good as we'd expect from a car of this calibre
Bigger inside than rivals from BMW and Mercedes. Colleagues will want you driving them to meetings/lunch/the pub
Most comes as standard, but you'll have to pay extra for cruise control and electric folding mirrors
The A4 is very much the sensible choice among its saloon rivals; it gets the job done, but lacks the flair that comes with some competitors. It's quiet on the move, and there are plenty of powerful engines to choose from.
Its Achilles heel is the ride quality - it is too firm to be truly relaxing, while the steering is not quite sharp enough to make it really good fun.
The pick of those engines is the 2.0-litre, 134bhp diesel. It's powerful enough to make progress when you need to overtake, but is still pleasingly economical.
There is more room for four adults plus their kit in the Audi than in most similar cars. The boot is not spectacularly large compared with rivals, but it is a sensible square shape that takes luggage well.
The cabin is not quite as plush up front as the A4's classy exterior may suggest, with a slightly cluttered dashboard that won't please everyone. However, the entertainment and navigation systems are all intuitive and easy to use.
There's plenty of seat- and steering wheel adjustment, so if it werent for the A4's offset driving position (the pedals are set too far over to the right) it would be easy to get comfortable.
There's no need to head high up the model range, either; basic SE trim comes with alloys, climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers.
The A4 was rated 'below average' for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
Safety is much more impressive, though. The standard kit list brings the expected six airbags and stability control, and lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems are both available on the options list. When tested by Euro NCAP, the A4 was awarded 93% for adult safety and 84% for child protection.
The BMW 3 Series is a better car, but the A4 is cheaper to buy, which might sway you. Choose the right engine (the 134bhp 2.0 diesel) and the Audi will reward you with very low running costs.