Twenty first birthdays are cause for big celebrations. In Audi’s case, it’s the arrival of an all-new A4 mid-sized sedan.
It is the first new A4 in eight years and the fifth-generation car to wear this badge since the original was launched in 1995. It is also the most technically advanced Audi ever sold here, with prices starting at $55,500 (+ on-road costs).
The Audi A4 1.4 TFSI S tronic is the entry car of the four model lineup and gets a smaller heart: a 1.4 litre turbo petrol replacing the 1.8 litre turbo petrol, however despite similar performance levels, it feels livelier and uses less fuel.
There are two, 2.0 litre turbo-petrol four cylinder engines in two power configurations, 140 or 185 kilowatts depending on the model and a 2.0 litre 140 kilowatt turbo-diesel, that sips just 4.6L/100km combined. All have a seven-speed dual clutch auto that replaces the CVT of its predecessor. Drive is choice of front-wheel, or Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel drive layout, which is still the best in the business.
The lighter, wider, longer, safer, stronger, more aerodynamic and greener A4 uses Audi’s MLB chassis architecture, which underpins the brilliant new Q7 SUV we drove in the snow last year. It also gets new multi-link suspension, bigger and lighter brakes, fluid-like speed-sensitive electrical power steering and a roomier, quieter cabin. The extensive use of lightweight materials means a weight loss of up to 65 kilograms and a 21 percent fuel saving.
Outside, the all-new Audi A4 is an evolution of the previous model, (also a visual stunner) and retains a familiar chiseled look, this time with a more pronounced etched body line, a bigger grille, new lights front and back and 17 to 19-inch alloy wheels, depending on the grade. Inside, the sumptuous all-new interior, raises refinement levels for the brand and the class.
All grades build off the entry car; itself generously equipped with electric powered, leather trimmed seats, three-zone climate control, ambient lighting, multi-function flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with shift paddles, in-car Wi-Fi, DVD and CD players, music interface with Apple and Android capability, an 8.3-inch infotainment screen with navigation, that’s voice or button controlled and a powerful eight-speaker stereo.
One option that’s a must for music lovers is the 19-speaker/755-watt 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system. To call it a new sound experience is an understatement.
While its looks are familiar, this new A4 is a technology tour-de-force, with an astonishing number of safety, infotainment and driver assist systems, with many coming directly from the A8 limousine and Q7 SUV and placed into this five-star ANCAP safety-rated, mid-sized model.
Of the many safety systems built into the A4, one is sure to win favour with cyclists. Its called ‘Exit Warning’ and it scans the road or footpath for up to 80 metres behind the car, detecting cyclists and pedestrians and warning occupants via their door handle surround flashing, not to open the door.
Another is the ‘pre sense city’ system, which scans the road up to 100 metres at speeds up to 85km/h, looking for other vehicles, pedestrians and potential hazards using a windshield-mounted front camera. Audi claim it can prevent accidents at up to 40km/h and help reduce impact velocity at speeds up to 85km/h.
Audi ‘pre sense’, detects unstable driving conditions and initiates occupant protection measures like tightening the seatbelts, closing the windows and sunroof and activating the hazard lights. Attention assist is another and detects when the driver is becoming inattentive.
Prices (plus on-road costs) range from $55,500 for the 1.4 TFSI S tronic sport front-wheel drive turbo-petrol
2.0 TFSI S tronic sport at $60,990
2.0 TDI (diesel) Quattro S tronic sport at $66,900
2.0 TFSI Quattro S tronic sport at $69,900.
Check back later for drive impressions of the all-new Audi A4 range.