Although the car market is suffering during these recessionary times, Audi Ireland are certainly having a positive start to 2013. Globally, they have delivered approximately 110,000 units for the month of February, their highest figure for February in the history of Audi. Closer to home, Audi Ireland has seen its position as the premium market leader remain taking 5.8 per cent market share in February, with 617 units sold. This equates to a 22.7 per cent year-to-date growth, despite the total car market being down 14.9 per cent in Ireland. This year sees the introduction of a key seller for the German brand, the Audi A3 Sportback amongst other new models.
Prior to our test drive of the A3 Sportback on Irish roads, we traveled down under to drive the latest Audi A4. Traveling frequently is part and parcel of motoring journalism, with all main European launches taking place in Western Europe. As part of a holiday I managed to fit some work into the relaxing schedule with the kind assistance of Audi Centre Melbourne. They kindly facilitated the test drive of a new Audi A4 for a few weeks’ driving around Melbourne and further a field.
The Audi A4 we drove was the 2.0-litre TDI variant, it’s a competent diesel unit, delivering 177hp and a brawny 380Nm of torque. It was finished in SE specification with some choice extras. As standard it comes suitably equipped with climate control, cruise control, brake assist, leather upholstery, a multi function steering wheel and rain sensing wipers, just some of the standard items. In addition to these our car had two packages, the Assistance and Technik package. The Assistance package encompasses adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, parking sensors (front & rear) and a colour display for the driver information system. The active lane assist was beneficial for long periods of driving, if you veer out of your lane there’s an audible sound to alert you and the steering wheel will automatically correct itself to prevent you from changing lane inadvertently. It’s a clever piece of technology that’s sure to prevent many accidents. The Technik package includes satellite navigation and Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime driving lights. The new signature LEDs now surround the headlight shape to give the car a distinctive look.
The vast majority of our driving in Australia was for long periods of time, this is where the A4 excelled. The sound insulation is excellent, providing a tranquil comfortable ambience to spend time in. The 2.0-litre TDI unit is not only economical (4.8l/100km) it has plenty of power to satisfy the vast majority of requirements, the strong torque figure enables you to sit at motorway speeds with very low revs required from the engine. Although our car was the front-wheel-drive model, you can have your A4 equipped with Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, a sensible choice for Irish winters.
This latest Audi A4 will cause concern for its chief rivals, primarily the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Volvo S60. The A4 is a top-quality product both in terms of fit and finish, combined with an extremely proficient driving experience.[table “108” not found /]
* Price may vary slightly due to price differences between Ireland and Australia