Fleet News

Audi A4 2.5 V6 TDI quattro Sport - 12,196 miles



I FOUND it hard to turn down an invitation to drive the new A4 Avant, particularly as Audi claims it is no different to drive from the saloon I am testing at present.

By my reckoning, and my experience with our A4 2.5 TDI quattro Sport, that must make it one of the best-driving estate cars on the market.

True to form, the Avant is a blinder and brings with it the kind of attention to detail that has made our saloon such a pleasure to own.

Things like the two-position tailgate, which means that, when open, shorter people can easily reach the open door to close it and taller people can push it open a few extra inches, so avoiding clouting their heads on the latch. That and the fully aerodynamic undertray, which improves fuel consumption and cuts down on under-car wind noise.

Inside, the Avant is as beautifully put together as the saloon, with solid build, beautiful quality and everything you really need for cosseted motoring fitted as standard.

Given the choice between the Avant and the Saloon, for me the Avant looks a better prospect. Although it is no out-and-out load lugger, there is a good-sized boot that's bigger by 52 litres compared with the previous model and a variety of rear seat folding options which enable long items to be carried with ease.

With prices starting at £18,770 on-the-road for the 1.6 SE, there is a differential of around £1,100 for the Avant over the Saloon - money well spent in my book as you get one of the best-looking 'lifestyle' estates on the market, and certainly one of the best to drive.

There are still over 10,000 miles to go before I have to surrender our car for its first service, thanks to Audi Variable Service. This must surely be one of the most convenient things about motoring Audi-style, as it means for many operators a whole year's driving is available before any service cost at all is due - surely the key to cost-effective motoring.

Since my last report, CAP Monitor's future residual value prediction has actually improved, too - from £10,200 a month ago, to £10,325 now over three-years/60,000-miles - a small increase admittedly but a refreshing change from the more usual downgrade after a few months on sale.

Putting that in perspective, that residual value compares well with a BMW 330d SE, which commands the same percentage of cost new - 41per cent - as the Audi, but more in money terms because of its £1,620 price premium.

Look at it another way, however, and compare the Audi with the 330d Sport - more of a rival for our Sport-specified A4 - and it becomes a veritable bargain: complete with quattro four-wheel drive, lowered and stiffened suspension, our Audi is a full £3,720 less to buy than the BMW. Now that must make serious sense in any company car tax calculation.

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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