Fleet News

Audi A4 2.5 TDI quattro Sport - 30,256 miles

Audi

Review

I'VE been spoilt: the loan from Audi of a new A4 Cabriolet has given our long-term A4 2.5 TDI quattro Sport a bit of a breather, and the comparisons are interesting.

The styling is subtly different from the A4 saloon, and swings towards the TT with an aggressive front end, restyled boot area and rear light treatment, and a totally restyled dashboard.

Of course, the roof lends a completely new profile to the Cabriolet: with the top in place it drew great approval from the massed crowds at Fleet Towers, and gasps of admiration when the roof was folded away.

On the road, the Cabriolet feels heavier than the saloon, and the suspension is softer. The key difference from our car is the Cabriolet's 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine which combines silken performance with a prodigious thirst: the trip computer showed about 23mpg on average – a far cry from the 2.5 TDI's easy 40mpg-plus.

And though the Cabrio feels taut and nimble, it cannot match the virtually roll-free cornering and phenomenal grip of the 2.5 TDI's quattro suspension.

Interestingly, the A4 Cabriolet was also fitted with Audi's Multitronic automatic transmission which makes the most of the 3.0 V6's torque: it is just as well as the petrol engine lacks anything like the mid-range urge of the diesel.

While it's clear few people will buy the Cabriolet for its dynamics, there's every reason to specify Multitronic.

It's a gem of a gearbox, with seamless power delivery and with the big advantage that it does not send fuel consumption or carbon dioxide emissions into a terminal nosedive, as is the case with conventional automatic gearboxes.

It is also more responsive than any automatic I can remember, with a delightfully fast 'Tip' action that enables you to select lower gears manually without any discernible driveline shunt.

It bodes well for the future because after more than a year and 30,000 miles with us, our long-term A4 is to be replaced with an A6 Avant 2.5 TDI Multitronic. During its time at Fleet News, the A4 has been virtually trouble-free and has needed just one service, costing about £250.

We've also replaced two tyres at £125 each and two windscreens at £260 apiece.

That's a pretty impressive tally.

With average consumption working out at about 40mpg, it is clear the A4 has been cost-effective company car motoring.

At one-year-old, CAP Black Book estimates a CAP 'Clean' valuation at £17,550, with retail expectation of £19,150, representing cash lost from the on-the-road price of £25,595 of £7,745, or a retention of almost 70% of cost new, despite the higher than average mileage.

Overall, it's been a great companion - a driver's car that has confounded most diesel critics and impressed everyone with its build, style and integrity.

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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