Like any company car driver, I’m not going to snub an opportunity to upgrade the equipment on a new car (unless it’s going to cost me a lot more money).
So it was with our new long-term Audi A4 estate (ok, Avant).
I was expecting fleet base level 2.0 TDI 143bhp SE (P11D - £26,930); we got a 2.0-litre 170bhp S Line Quattro, effectively three upgrades, plus Audi parking system (a £320 option) taking the P11D to £31,830.
Emissions rise from 135g/km to 144g/km. For a 40% taxpayer – the likely fleet driver for this vehicle – it would bump the annual BIK up from £2,047 to £2,701, almost £55 a month.
OK, so that’s hardly likely to bankrupt someone earning £37,400-plus, but what do you get for that extra cost?
A more powerful engine, of course, which is noticeable under acceleration (it’s a second quicker from 0-62mph) but all-out speed is tempered by the extra weight of the Quattro all-wheel drive system.
But while the Quattro blunts the straight line thrills, it is a huge benefit on handling, particularly in the wet.
The A4 Avant is sure footed even on the twistiest roads.
S Line also adds 18-inch alloys, part leather on the seats and a few other features, such as three-spoke steering wheel and matt-brushed aluminium inlays.
Sports suspension is already 20mm lower; S Line brings that down a further 10mm.
This can be unpleasant on rough surfaces, producing a choppy ride.
It’s still early days with the Avant but overall impressions are positive.
As an estate it has an ample, though not class leading, boot and it is effortless to drive on long distances.
I have a couple of quibbles.
The seats are not the most supportive over long journeys despite having multiple adjustment options.
And Audi has still not created a sat-nav system that recognises a full postcode.
On a £30k premium car, this isn’t good enough.
Fuel efficiency so far is reasonable, averaging 44.1mpg against the official 51.4mpg figure.
A leisurely motorway stroll returned north of 46mpg; I expect to nudge 50mpg with a bit more effort.