Whenever Audi comes out with a new A4, its target rivals are always two cars: the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Those two are always the unquestioned kings of the segment, dominating in both sales and comparison tests. However, now, the Audi A4 isn’t the only one trying to dethrone the two German kings of the segment. There are two very strong newcomers, the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia. So it’s not just the 3 Series and C-Class that Audi has to worry about. So how does the Audi A4 take on the newcomers? Auto Express finds out.
In this comparison test, each car is fitted with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, an automatic gearbox and two-wheel drive. So for the Alfa, that means a 197 hp, an eight-speed ZF-automatic and rear-wheel drive. The Jag also gets 197 hp, an eight-speed ZF-auto and rear-wheel drive. The Audi A4 is the only outlier, with 187 hp, a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and front-wheel drive.
Unfortunately for the Audi A4, it comes in third place in this test. Its relative lack of power isn’t the issue, though, as it was actually faster than the Jag to 60 mph, doing it in 7.2 seconds, though slower than the Alfa. However, it gets from 30 – 70 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is only a tenth behind the Italian. What does the Audi in is its relative lack of handling or dynamics. While it’s not a bad handling car, as it has good steering and a responsive chassis, it isn’t as good as the other two.
In second place is the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The Alfa is the sharpest car of the bunch, with the best steering and most responsive chassis. But its ride isn’t as comfortable as the Jag or the Audi and its interior quality suffers a bit compared to the other two. So while it’s a great first effort from Alfa, it lacks a bit compared to the veteran brands in the segment.
First place goes to the Jaguar XE. While it wasn’t quite as sharp as the Giulia, nor as fast as either other car, it was the best compromise between the two. It was still very sharp and fun to drive, while also being reasonably quick, but it was more comfortable than both. The Jag has a ride quality that’s hard to match. So it’s the best combination of fun and comfort.