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buying advice

Audi used showdown: Should I go for an A4, or save up for the A5 or A6?

There are plenty of Audis on the second-hand market. But how to choose the right one?

SO YOU WANT to buy an Audi A4. But which one? Do you opt for the estate, or go all-out for the allroad or would you be better going for the A5 Sportback or even the A6? Time for an Audi showdown.

The Audi A4 has been around since 1994 and is the company’s rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Its current version has been on the market for just two years, so in the interest of appealing to more budgets, we’re going to focus on the previous ‘B8’ generation, which was sold between 2008 and 2016.

You won’t find much colour choice on the used market beyond ‘safe’ blacks, blues, greys and the occasional white. Of the specification grades, it is the sportier S line model that is usually the more sought-after. These models look good on larger alloy wheels, but you should also consider the trade-off in road noise and comfort that these come with, not to mention the risk of curb damage. Nobody likes that.

You’ll also struggle to find anything other than diesel on offer in the used A4 market from this period which was after the introduction of changes to motor tax favouring diesel engines.

On the practical front the A4 does have a 480-litre boot, capable of expanding to 962 litres. And if you need more than that, there’s an estate (or Avant in Audi-speak) offering 490 to 1,430 litres of cargo space.

The A4 Allroad takes the estate body and adds a wider track, quattro all-wheel, some ground clearance and a more rugged exterior. They’re a rare sight and don’t provide much additional benefit other than overall aesthetics.

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If space is that important, the A5 Sportback offers only a tiny bit more room than the A4 but has the benefit of being a hatchback. It has a boot capacity of 480 litres which can expand to 980 litres with the rear seats folded.

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Overall, you would be better served by either the A6 saloon or A6 Avant. There’s isn’t as much choice in the latter on the used market, with most A6 sales being the saloon model. The saloon model has a 530-litre boot that can swell to 995 litres with the rear seats folded.

DoneDeal DoneDeal

A useful hatchback opening isn’t the A5 Sportback’s only redeeming feature. It might not deviate from the A4’s size all that much, but its sleeker design has aged well. We’re not going to include the A5 Coupe in this as its two-seat design is more limiting, but that’s not to say we aren’t a fan of the Walter de Silva designed car.

The interiors of both the A4 and A5 are very similar. The A6 not only gets more space, but it also features a nicer cabin. It’s differentiated by a swooping design that curves around the dashboard from each door. The infotainment system gets a free-standing screen, adding a more modern look to it, while the rear is more spacious.

If it were our money, as good as the A4 is, if you can stretch your budget we think it’s best to look past the A5 Sportback and consider the A6. Not only does it have more presence on the road, it’s better inside and more refined to drive as well as offering more cabin space and bigger boot space compared to the A4 and A5 Sportback. However, if boot space is your main priority, then the A4 Avant is the way to go.

More: I want a beautiful Mercedes-Benz. Do I go for a C-Class or upgrade to the E-Class?>

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