Interior and tech
Architecturally not much has changed with the S4’s recent facelift. The A4’s interior has always been handsome and felt well built, and those qualities remain here. It lacks the driver focus of a 3-series, the smooth curves and more organic feel of a C-class, and the racy character of an Alfa Giulia, but it also gives off the impression it’d be marginally less irritating to operate day-to-day than any of its competitors.
Likewise, it’s quiet and comfortable in here. There’s good adjustment in the seats and steering wheel, visibility is pretty good as far as modern cars go, and there’s decent space in the back seats. The Avant also gets a usefully sized boot at 495 litres (the saloon offers 460) – five litres down on a 3-series Touring, but 35 litres more than a C-class estate.
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Where the new car differs is in its features. You now get Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument display as standard even in the entry-level Technik, and it remains one of the better digital instrument clusters out there. The configuration options might be confusing and it’s easy to hit the wrong button on the steering wheel and bring up a page you aren’t interested in, but once you’ve settled on a format, it’s clear and informative.
The other big change is to the display screen in the centre of the dashboard. Well, perched on top of the dash at any rate. The screen has now grown to 10.1 inches, occupying most of the real estate above the central vents, and is now touchscreen rather than using the old Audi click-wheel between the seats.
This will be seen as a backward step for some, as you now need to concentrate a little harder to bring up certain menus, but Audi’s app-based format at least makes those random prods more successful and of course, the larger screen means features are easier to see than before.