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Can a petrol off-roader work as a company car?

  • Cut your BIK bills by choosing a petrol
  • The best models drive better than diesels
  • Petrol can be the wise choice, even for a 4x4

If you’re a company car driver and think the only way to cut your BIK bills is with a diesel, think again. Diesel cars might be under attack currently – as the government questions their impact on air pollution – but they could be costing you more in company car tax, too. And that’s as true for off-roaders as well as ordinary hatchbacks.

This is partly down to higher prices for diesel models over petrol equivalents and thanks to the 3% BIK surcharge for models that drink from the black pump. So if you’re considering one of Audi’s mid-sized 4x4s – the A4 Allroad or the Q5 – petrol engines could provide greater power and reduced tax bills.

Should I choose a petrol or diesel Audi A4 Allroad as my company car?

Audi offers its jacked up off-road A4 – the Allroad – with the choice of petrol and diesel power. With plenty of muscle from low engine speeds, a price in line with the less powerful 3.0-litre 218hp diesel and only slightly higher emissions than that model, the 2.0-litre 252hp petrol makes a lot of sense for company car drivers after a high-riding estate.

Higher-rate taxpayers will have to pay £370 per month in BIK compared with £383 for the less powerful diesel – with matching specification and in all-wheel drive, automatic form. Meanwhile, the slightly faster 272hp diesel is even pricier, setting back 40% taxpayers an additional £30 per month at £400.

More than this, the petrol motor suits the car well, providing a surprising amount of punch for a car of this size, while proving very smooth and refined; especially compared with the diesel alternatives.

BIK charges for the Audi A4 Allroad:

Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI 252 Quattro: £185 (20% taxpayer) £370 (40% taxpayer)
Audi A4 Allroad 3.0 TDI 218 Quattro: £191 (20% taxpayer) £383 (40% taxpayer)
Audi A4 Allroad 3.0 TDI 272 Quattro: £200 (20% taxpayer) £400 (40% taxpayer)

Audi Q5 company car: petrol vs diesel

Company drivers after a more conventional off-roader will be pleased to find that the 252hp petrol Q5 2.0 TFSI Sport is similarly affordable to tax at £389 per month (for 40% taxpayers).

There might not be any similarly powerful diesel versions currently, but the much slower, less refined 190hp 2.0-litre diesel only saves you £34 per month; not much considering the gulf in power and refinement.

More tellingly, this Q5 would cost higher-rate taxpayers just £6 more per month than the less powerful A4 Allroad 3.0 TDI 218. Consequently, should 3.0-litre diesel models be added to the Q5 range at a later date, you can expect these to prove pricier to tax than the 2.0-litre petrol.

On the road, meanwhile, the petrol engine is strong enough in the Q5 offering good pull from low engine speeds, though its performance is dulled somewhat by the car’s heft. From our drive, this petrol Q5 looks likely to 30mpg with normal driving – compared with closer to 40mpg from the A4 Allroad with the same engine – so if you chalk up many tens of thousands of miles each year on business, your fleet manager may dissuade you from getting the Q5 in petrol form.

BIK charges for the Audi Q5:

Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 252 Quattro Sport: £194 (20% taxpayer) £389 (40% taxpayer)
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 190 Quattro Sport: £178 (20% taxpayer) £355 (40% taxpayer)