The new Audi A4 plays to the Ingolstadt-based brand’s strengths and raises the bar for rivals in the closely fought premium midsize segment.
By Ghaith Madadha
The new A4 boasts a sophisticated suite of next generation semi-automated driver assistance and infotainment systems. Classy, discrete, and reassuringly grippy as expected, it features significant weight saving measures and new chassis design, and proved a rewarding and eager drive on snaking Italian hillside roads in 2.0 TFSI Quattro four-wheel-drive guise at its global press launch.
The A4 is built using a combination of materials, including high strength steel and lightweight aluminum, which helps it achieve a weight saving of up to 120kg over its predecessor. The new A4 also achieves class-leading CD0.23 (CD0.27 as tested) aerodynamic efficiency, utilizing lighter components including unsprung weight-reducing aluminum suspension for ride comfort and dynamic handling benefits.
Athletic and assertive, the A4 features sculpted surfaces and sills, ridged character lines, smoothly arcing roofline and with level waistline, has an airy cabin ambiance and good visibility. It replaces its predecessor’s tall trapezoidal grille with a broader and more complex hexagonal shape, flanked by squinting tightly angled and browed LED front lights.
Sporty even in standard trim, it features lower and front side intakes, shortened front overhang and at the rear, a pertly up-tilted bumper and sheet metal-integrated spoiler. The A4 features sleek, uncluttered, sophisticated, and user-friendly cabin design and layout with rich textures, leathers, metals, and open pore woods.
Powered by a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine honed for efficiency and power, the A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro develops 248 BHP at 5000-6000 rpm and 273 lb/ft. It accelerates through 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds and tops 250 km/h. Powering all four wheels through a slick and snappy 7-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox with manual and economy shift modes, the A4’s sporty default 60 percent rear power bias Quattro system can when needed divert 85 percent of the engine’s power rearward, or 70 percent frontward for sure-footed road-holding.
Its new five-link front and rear suspension provide fluent comfort over imperfections and poised, flat body control through winding corners. With quick and precise electric-assisted steering and rear-biased Quattro drive, the slightly nose-heavy A4 nonetheless feels balanced and agile, with selective inside wheel braking torque vectoring further enhancing cornering agility and finesse. An optional limited-slip rear differential can be specified to actively re-allocate power sideways for sportier and safer driving through corners.
The A4 is comprehensively well-equipped with convenience, infotainment, and safety features. Its advanced semi-autonomous systems include standard pre-sense city safety that prevents and mitigates collisions to 40 km/h and 85 km/h, respectively. An optional Tour package features radar-based adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist system, which anticipates and prepares for corners, and can assume steering control on well-developed roads to 65 km/h.
Sophisticated infotainment systems available include Audi’s configurable Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster screen. In addition to safety and assistance system-collaborative satellite navigation, infotainment features include voice control, smart phone integration, rear seat tablets, and Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Engine: 2-liter, in-line turbocharged 4-cylinders
Gearbox: 7-speed automated dual clutch, four-wheel-drive
Power distribution, F/R: 40%:60%
Power, HP (kW): 252 (185) @5000-6000 rpm
Specific power: 127 HP/liter
Power-to-weight: 167 HP/ton
Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 273 (370) @1600-450 rpm
0-100 km/h: 5.8 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Fuel consumption, combined: 6.3-liters/100 km*
CO2 emissions: 144 g/km*
Length, width, height: 4726, 1842, 1417 mm
Suspension: Five-link, adaptive dampers
Brakes: Ventilated discs