The Audi A4 has been a staple of the compact executive car class since its introduction in the 1990s, and for 2019 there’s a new model on sale.

Well, it’s not completely new – instead, think of it as a comprehensive update of the B9-generation A4 launched in 2016, with revisions to the interior and exterior styling, some drivetrain updates, and improved levels of technology and equipment.

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That the updates make the A4 more involving to drive isn’t as clear cut, though the big news with the 2019 A4 is that in performance S4 trim, the old petrol V6 makes way for a diesel alternative. A controversial decision perhaps, but one that actually suits the character of the car very well, and improves its long-distance, high-speed usability, as well as offering plentiful shove thanks to a hearty helping of torque.

There’s an RS4 on the way anyway for those still more interested in petrol power, while several of the new A4s (S4 and likely RS4 included) now get 48V mild-hybrid technology to help ease their emissions. There’s new tech inside too, taking some inspiration from the larger A6 and A7 models.

These changes don’t suddenly make the A4 a class-leading driver’s car, but detail changes behind the scenes do improve the A4’s road manners – and if ultimate handling and performance is less a concern than day-to-day usability, quality, or even just Audi’s badge appeal, the A4 still impresses. Antony Ingram