The premium car sector is one of the most competitive for aspirational company car drivers.
Analysis of the latest generation of models – including our A4 35 TDI Technik – shows this remains true as far as cost to both employee and employer goes.
With CO2 emissions of 134g/km, our 163PS diesel A4 sits in the same 33% benefit-in-kind tax band as the 190PS BMW 320d SE, while the RDE2-compliant 194PS Mercedes-Benz C220 2.0d is subject to 31% BIK despite emitting 143g/km.
This means that in the 2020/21 tax year, a 20% taxpayer would face a monthly BIK bill of £192 for the A4, £1 less than the driver of the 320d and £3 more than an employee with the C220.
The cost to the employer is similarly close. They would pay monthly Class 1A national insurance contributions of £133 for both the A4 and the 320d, and £130 for the C-Class.
According to KeeResources calculations for wholelife costs – which covers depreciation, SMR, and fuel – the 320d does eke out an advantage over its rivals.
Over a four-year/80,000-mile cycle, it has running costs of 44.79ppm, compared to the A4’s 47.30ppm and the C220’s 50.29ppm.
On paper, the difference between the three cars is small, with no model having a significant advantage.
On the road? The coronavirus pandemic has meant that since the A4 arrived on our fleet in March, it has barely been used so our driving experiences have been too limited to form any meaningful view.
Early impressions have been very positive, though, and hopefully we’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future to find out more.
Audi A4 35 TDI joins our fleet
It’s time to say hello to the newest addition to the Fleet News long-term test fleet, and it’s a very handsome one at that.
Audi’s A4 is perennially popular with company car drivers and, after only a handful of miles in its latest iteration, there is no reason to feel this will not continue.
We’ve opted for the A4 35 TDI Technik model, which – with a P11D price of £34,975 in standard trim – offers WLTP combined fuel economy of 54.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 135g/km.
Standard equipment includes LED headlights, Audi parking system with rear view camera, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and Audi Virtual Cockpit, heated front seats and digital radio.
On top of this, we’ve added Navarra Blue metallic paint (£995), a larger, 24-litre Ad Blue tank (£60), black leather interior (£995) which also includes black carpets and grey headlining, and the comfort and sound pack (£1,395).
While the latest addition could appear slightly extravagant, the pack does add a lot of equipment for the outlay and further enhances the A4’s already premium feel.
This includes keyless entry and start, an electric hands-free boot opening system which allows you to open the boot through a kicking movement below a sensor in the rear bumper and a Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System which features 19 speakers.
Also featured in the pack are a 360-degree camera to give a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the car while manoeuvring and an extended LED interior lighting pack, which includes coloured ambient lighting in door trims, door storage areas, cupholder, centre console, and footwells front and rear.
First impressions of the A4 are overwhelmingly positive. It looks and feels classy while, riding on standard 17-inch alloy wheels, it’s really smooth and comfortable to drive.
Will it live up to its early promise over a longer period? We’ve got six months with the Audi to find out.