The new A4 scores high in style, build quality, handling and comfort. Last but not least its drivetrain is also state of the art, with an array of powerful and immensely frugal engines to match. We drove for you the 150 HP economical diesel version, coupled to the six speed manual box. Putting down some ultra-low consumption figures, together with more than sufficient pulling power and liveliness.
Our test car certainly looked the part. The A4 body styling is quite harmonious with good proportioned volumes and very refined contours. The A4 looks good from any angle, and what's even more important, will continue to do so for years to come.
Inside the cabin one encounters the same Audi "savoir faire" with excellent quality of the used materials and an immaculate finish. The volumes are well balanced, the instrumentation is quite pleasing and unmistakable "Audi", where we appreciated again the “classic” lay-out of the dials, with the so typical lettering which we have come to love over the years. It is indeed an example of clarity and readability, at the same time suggesting precision and excellent workmanship.
The same goes of course for the knobs and handles your hands may touch, twist, push or pull. They are a delight to feel and use. It reminds us of the specialist “haptic” team we encountered at an Audi factory visit in Ingolstadt, where we met indeed with a group of experts who honed and perfected the way knobs and handles do touch and feel. A science in its own right, and this shows the degree of attention to detail the Audi men and women are putting into their cars.
As we described in earlier reports, seating and cabin comfort is excellent, with ample adjustment provided and excellent back and lumbar support of these seats. Cabin waistline is rather high, so for smaller drivers, it is advisable to heighten the seat to get a decent overview of traffic and car contours.
Infotainment is well cared for. With our manual transmission A4, the MMI control terminal is located behind the gear lever.
The volume control and a storage tray are located on the right of the MMI control terminal.
This arrangement makes the philosophy of the new A4 family clear. For example, although the interior is focused on the driver, the MMI monitor can be used equally well by the front-seat passenger.
The monitor is also an element in which Audi’s design expertise is reflected – with its black display glass with rounded corners, it looks like an exclusive tablet computer. It is just 13 millimeters thick (0.5 in).
State of the art diesel power.
The Inline four-cylinder diesel engine has a VTG turbocharger, DOHC and TDI direct injection. In its “ultra” guise, it is trimmed for maximum economy, yet it is smooth and delivers ample pulling power. 110 kW or 150 HP is available at the flywheel between 3250 and 4200 rpm, with maximum torque of 320 Nm present between 1500 rpm and 3250 rpm. Keep in mind that this engine needs indeed some minimum revs to develop its power. With the very high geared second gear, there is always a risk of stalling the engine when one wants to accelerate briskly from crawling speeds.
The engine is well belanced in all circumstances, and vibrations are well filtered indeed. The engine itself also sports a balancing shaft to eliminate any roughness at low revs.
With all this available power, the A4 is by no means sluggish, and will accelerate briskly from 0 to 100 in 8,9 seconds, reaching a top speed of 210 km/h. With the ample torque, this Audi will pull nicely in any gear, at any revs.
All this leads to a very relaxed driving style, which of course will get you an excellent mileage for your fuel. The combined fuel consumption is quoted at 3,8 liters/100 km, which boiled down in practice to a good 4,8 to 5,5 liters achieved during our test.
The 6 speed gearbox is slick and precise, with the ratios being ideally spaced to suit the engine’s characteristics and the wide speed range of the A4.
Top in class handling and comfort…
We already told many good things about the suspension and chassis of this new A4. This excellent handling performance is based on the redeveloped five-link axles and the electromechanical power steering – they are exceptionally light. They lead indeed to dynamic handling and first-class ride comfort.
Our test car came with the drive select feature, where one can choose between different modes. We mostly left it either in auto or comfort mode. If you want to try out the consumption of this A4, go for the efficiency mode, it will set the car up accordingly, and also it will indicate you when to shift gears...
The A4 can be driven with verve over curvy roads, and one instantly feels that the chassis can handle the power of this 110 kW engine easily.
Neutral in virtually all circumstances, and displaying an excellent straight line stability, this Audi holds no surprises for its driver. The A4 is therefore not only at home on curvy mountain roads, it is also a true “Autobahnmeister”. Add to this the excellent insulation from any road noise and no wind turbulences at any speed, and you will agree that this A4 is a very restful car to drive on long distances in true Gran Turismo manner.
On aerodynamics, no effort is spared. The The A4 TDI ultra models work with another kind of new aerodynamic technology: the so called controllable cool-air inlet. This is a frame installed behind the radiator grille which houses two blinds that can be activated independently. They are closed as the car starts so that air resistance stays as low as possible, and when air is needed to cool the engine, first the lower and then the upper blind opens.
No need to leave any luggage at home either: the luggage compartment of the new A4 Avant offers basic storage space of 505 liters, which is the most of any premium model in this class. With the rear seat backrests folded down and loaded to the roof, a volume of 1,510 liters is available. The electric luggage compartment cover and electric tailgate are standard equipment…
No small wonder that this new A4 will earn very high marks as a true “business machine”.
The Audi A4 is even in its “base” equipment level is a very desirable car. It has excellent performance and economy, superb handling and comfort, boasts excellent workmanship, and just breathes quality all over. It is sure to stay up to date for years to come, and will not only depreciate slowly, but also give you excellent service for as long as you wish to keep it. Indeed, the joy of driving behind four rings is (almost) forever…
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