The old order of things is gone. Owning a Mercedes is no longer the epitome of wealth.
BMW is not the default choice for speed hunters. And, neither are the two brand names the best way to flaunt your millions anymore.
That privilege is now shared out between a number of brands and one of them is Audi, one of the few European brands that have managed to delicately juggle the fine trot of luxury, athleticism and the ability to command top dollar for its craftsmanship.
In terms of desire, the Audi A4 is undoubtedly the car to have today, just as the Mercedes 190E and the BMW E30 were the most desirable cars back then.
Even today, both cars still have an entire generation of men lusting over them. Judging by how the A4 has managed to retain its price in the used car market, it will probably be sticking around for newer generations to lust over.
Furthermore, Audi has gone on to conquer almost every race circuit in Europe, just as how Mercedes and BMW have done so in the past, testament to the new order of things in the European automotive business.
Today, Audi is undoubtedly the car to own for anyone looking for a step up, and with a strong model line-up that includes the ballistic R8, the stylish A7 and the very impressive A4, certainly there's an Audi for almost everyone.
The A4, however, is due for a replacement and as such, it was only fitting that the entry-level Audi gets a final facelift.
A redesigned grille, new headlights and other visual cues distinguish the new A4 from the older models, but the biggest change is the design of the headlights and the daytime running lights.
Gone are the iconic dotted LEDs of the A4, and in its place are a love-it-or-hate-it LED light strip which has a design that may not appeal to everyone. But in times where almost every other car features daytime running lights, a trend that was first introduced by Audi, the light strip easily distinguishes the A4 in a crowd of impressionists.
Other than that, the new A4 is still a brilliant car like its predecessor.
The design of the car itself wins full points and the interior feels top notch.
However, there are too many switches at the centre, which means you need to spend some time getting used to the controls. No complaints about build-quality though as the interior oozes class.
Personally, I think it's a little cramped for space. Put a driver who's over six-feet up front and suddenly there's hardly enough knee-room for the rear passenger.
But if space is not a consideration then the A4 is a pretty solid proposition for your ringgit. It looks good, has the "money well spent" feel to it, and drives incredibly well.
There has been talk that the 1.8-litre engine is a little sluggish and "underpowered", but my time spent with this car proved otherwise.
While the humble 170bhp that the engine churns out isn't quite sports car-like performance, this Audi relies instead on an abundance of torque.
An incredible 320Nm propels this car to 100km/h in an impressive 8.3 seconds and tops out at 225kph.
While that is a decent performance, the small displacement engine truly excels at impressive fuel economy.
With technologies like a stop/start function, an 8-speed gearbox and the ability to run on RON 95 alone, Audi states that the A4 consumes a mere 5.8-litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle.
If Audi's figures are correct, that would mean that it costs just RM11($S4.42) to travel a distance of 100km.
But an Audi isn't complete without a dash of sportiness to it, and covering that aspect of the A4 is the Audi Drive Select button.
The button is located at the centre console and the system features three individual modes - Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic - with each mode doing a special something to the throttle response, the steering wheel and the shock absorbers, to improve the way the car drives.
The Comfort mode is good for town driving as there was a little too much body roll on the highway on this mode.
Dynamic mode sharpens and stiffens the whole car in preparation for an onslaught of steering and braking input.
It also stiffens the absorbers so as to minimise body roll. Change the transmission to S while in this mode and you have a car that is able to provide hours of driving fun.
The Dynamic mode was a little too edgy for my preference; it's great for spirited driving but not for the urban duel.
Most of the time, I left the car in "Auto" mode as it provided the ideal balance of comfort and performance whenever the situation permitted.
It also means one less button to deal with whenever the driver feels like exploring the car's potential.
At RM235,479.20(S$94,759), the new A4 is probably the one car that gives the most bang for your buck.
It may not be the most powerful, and neither is it the most spacious, but with brilliant drivability and an equipment list that spans two pages, this mid-sized Audi is probably the best value for money mid-sized car out in the market today.