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Audi A4 2.0 SE



ONCE upon a time having a Mercedes-Benz C-class or BMW 3-series showed you had made it in the junior executive ranks and were on your way up the corporate ladder. Never mind that these models (generally the entry-level versions) were under-equipped and under-powered - at least they had the right badge on the key fob.

But company car drivers are becoming more educated and more particular about the type of car they want to drive. With choice lists getting wider, there is suddenly a whole host of excellent vehicles your drivers may want to consider. Take the Audi A4. Recently thoroughly revised and enlarged, the new model borrows its stylish looks from the larger A6 stablemate and offers solid build quality, a trendy image and keen pricing.

The last A4 model was a storming success for Audi (it sold 1.5 million models across Europe since 1994). With new engines and the option of quattro four-wheel-drive, plus an estate model arriving later this year, there is an A4 to suit most pockets and tastes. We opted to try out the entry-level 2.0-litre in SE guise, priced at รบ19,250 on-the-road. We have also tried out the excellent 2.5-litre V6 TDI unit, which pushes out 180bhp and channels its power through a quattro four-wheel drive system.

To rival the A4 2.0 SE we have chosen that staple diet of the junior executive, the BMW 318i SE, Mercedes-Benz's entry-level C180 Classic and a mid-spec Lexus IS200 in SE trim. The Audi is the cheapest to buy of our quartet and Audi boldly claims it has created 'the complete car for the 21st Century'.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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