Road Test: Audi A4 1.4 TFSI Sport
Julian Kirk is impressed by the downsized petrol engine in this entry-level A4.
Sector: Compact executive Price: £27,300 Fuel: 53.3mpg CO2: 126g/km
If you read our initial thoughts after driving the A4 at its launch, you’ll know that we were impressed with Audi’s junior executive range – excellent driving performance, a great interior and wonderful hi-tech features make it a real challenger for best in class honours.
We’ve also spent time with an Avant model on long-term test and been left with the feeling that this really is one of the best Audis of recent times –handsome, economical, spacious and just so easy to live with.
But with Audi being Audi, there are always new additions to the range, or niches to be filled. Which brings us to the downsized petrol saloon on test, powered by a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine.
Once you get over the lack of displacement, you’ll soon be marvelling at the clever turbocharging technology which makes these small engines viable in such big cars. With 148bhp it matches the headline power output of the 2.0 TDI diesel and offers genuinely sparky performance, accelerating hard when asked and cruising at a relaxed gait on the motorway. You don’t even really miss the mid-range torque which the diesel has on tap.
So driving-wise, this entry-level A4 is on a par with its bigger engine stablemates, but how does it stack up against the diesel on paper? It’s certainly cheaper – £27,300 for the Sport-spec model on test compared to £30,550 for the diesel, while CO2 emissions are 126g/km (99g/km for the diesel). This gives the diesel a slight advantage in taxation terms, being £80 a year cheaper for a 40% tax-payer. Both fall into the 18% banding for writing down allowances.
Where the diesel obviously scores highly is in fuel economy – 74.3mpg vs 53.3mpg. For higher mileage drivers the diesel will be the obvious choice, but for those covering less miles in a year the TFSI option certainly should make them think.
The 1.4 TFSI A4 offers decent performance in a well-executed package. If your drivers don’t cover huge mileages they could be better served in one instead of the ubiquitous diesel.