- Our guide through the Audi A4 range
- Numerous engine, gearbox and kit choices on offer
- Find out which version we'd pick
The current Audi A4 has been a stalwart in the company car game since 2008. It’s refined, comfortable and loaded with equipment – but which one’s best for fleet drivers?
In this article we take you through the A4 range and show you how we’d decide which version to go for.
What sort of Audi A4?
There are several body styles to choose from here. The default choice is the saloon, which boasts a slightly smaller boot than the Avant (or estate) model. Since there’s just 10 litres between them, we’re not sure it’s worth the extra cash to get the Avant.
You could also consider the A4 Allroad Quattro, which is a very high-spec version of the Avant featuring a higher driving position and a four-wheel drive system for ultimate traction. The latter feature also makes it far more expensive to run, though. You can only have 2.0-litre engines (either petrol or diesel) and since CO2 emissions only go as low as 153g/km it’s simply no good as a company car.
Ditto the S4 and RS4 models – they’re seriously quick but also seriously expensive to run if you’re paying company car tax.
So that leaves us with the A4 Saloon.
Which engine and gearbox?
What we’re looking for here is the lowest CO2 emissions, since that’s what makes for the lowest monthly tax bills. That calls for Audi’s 2.0-litre diesel engine. It’s available in a number of power out-puts and with a selection of three gearboxes – a six-speed manual, a ‘Multitronic’ automatic and a seriously fast S Tronic twin-clutch automatic.
The latter ‘box can only be ordered with Audi’s four-wheel drive Quattro system, and that means a hike in CO2 and thus we can rule it out of this article.
Unfortunately due to an older type of design, the Multitronic also means an increase in emissions. While both 148bhp and 175bhp versions pump out 127g/km of CO2, we’re looking for much lower than that. These engines aren’t great to drive, either, so we’re going to forget about them as an option.
So that leaves us with the six-speed manual gearbox, which is no bad thing at all. It’s a lovely thing to drive, the shifts reassuringly solid yet the clutch not too heavy.
There’s an obvious version of the 2.0-litre to go for; the Ultra is a special edition aimed at the lowest possible emissions. It does this thanks to the installation of a stop/start system along with a set of aerodynamic tweaks to make the car more slippery through the air.
The upshot of this work is CO2 emissions of 109g/km, meaning Benefit-in-Kind taxation is payable at 17 percent after the budget on April 6.
It’s got a useful 161bhp, which means 0-62mph takes 8.2 seconds, so it’s not exactly slow either.
Which trim level?
While there’s a quartet of trim levels to choose from, the A4 range is simpler than you think. It starts with SE, which means you get 17-inch alloys, DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, an automatically opening boot lid, automatic wipers and lights, and dual-zone climate control.
So SE cars are well-equipped, but we would suggest a company car driver moves up a level to SE Technik. Such cars are the same as SE, but add sat-nav along with bigger 18-inch alloys and leather upholstery. For an extra £1,000 on the P11d value we reckon it’s more than worthwhile, and it’ll keep your fleet manager happy too thanks to better residual values.
As with many premium saloons, there’s a huge list of optional extras on offer to personalise your car and bump up your monthly tax bills.
We’ve picked an equipment level with a lot of kit as standard, however, so whether or not you want to indulge in extras is simply a matter of personal taste. Some interior finishes and paint schemes will cost more, while adaptive headlights are available and might be worth choosing if you do a lot of countryside driving.
Since you’re buying an Audi it stands to reason that you may be concerned about image as well as running costs. In this case you’ll be pleased to note than the firm will delete any badging from the rear of the A4 at no extra cost, so your neighbours and colleagues don’t need to know you’ve gone for the version which is cheapest to run.
The car we’ve picked has a list price of £29,320. That translates to company car tax bills of £83 on the 20 percent pay scale for the 2014/15 tax year.
Our pick: Audi A4 Saloon 2.0 TDI Ultra SE Technik 6 speed