A bestseller has become even more attractive, so the company hopes: Audi has updated the A4 series. New solutions for efficiency, driving dynamics and infotainment, along with an even more attractive design, show the “Vorsprung durch Technik” achieved by the A4 Saloon, the A4 Avant, the A4 allroad quattro and the S4.
The A4 is Audi’s bestseller – for 39 years now and in its eighth generation. The brand has sold ten million such models in total. The A4, with its elegance, sportiness and emotional appeal, forms the centrepiece of the Audi brand. And now the design has become even more clearly defined and striking in all models – the Saloon, the Avant, the allroad quattro and the S4.
The new look further accentuates the horizontal lines at the front end. The engine hood is more arched, the upper corners of the single frame grille are tapered, and the cross ribs and the Audi rings are highlighted three-dimensionally. The grille is painted grey, with high-gloss black on the six-cylinder models or in combination with the S line exterior package. The redesigned bumpers are striking with their angular air inlets, their revised grilles and the flat front fog lights. The A4 allroad quattro is distinguished by its grille’s horizontal chrome applications and by the round fog lights.
The headlights have also changed, with a slight wave at the bottom edges, and a re-arranged interior. Xenon plus headlights are available as optional equipment or standard on S line models. The LED daytime running lights form a narrow, optically continuous band that remains open in the vicinity of the xenon lens. The adaptive light, together with dynamic and static cornering lights, are available as an option.
The tail lights reflect the shape of the headlights, and in combination with Xenon plus have homogeneous strips of LEDs. The bumper with its diffuser insert has been redesigned, with the exhaust system always terminating in two tailpipes.
The Saloon and the Avant offer the S line exterior package, while the Avant also includes a roof spoiler.
The modifications have changed the dimensions only by a few millimetres. The A4 Saloon and the Avant each have a length of 4.70 metres (15.42 ft), while the A4 allroad quattro and the S4 are 4.72 metres (15.49 ft) long. The wheelbases for all models are 2.81 metres (9.22 ft), and the width is 1.83 and 1.84 metres, respectively (6.0 and 6.04 ft). The height varies between 1.41 and 1.50 metres (4.63 and 4.92 ft) depending on the body version.
The interior of the A4 models has also been refined. Audi offers a selection of new steering wheels with chrome and high-gloss inlays, with the leather sport steering wheel also featuring a flattened lower rim. The steering arm and the ignition key have been modified. High-gloss applications and the slender chrome trim at the controls add elegance to the interior.
The elaborate finish makes operation even simpler and more intuitive. The MMI navigation plus system now features four instead of eight buttons, with a shift function integrated in the volume control dial. Other improvements concern operation of the automatic transmission, the efficient air conditioning systems, Audi drive select and the multifunction steering wheel. The seat heating and air conditioning are now directly operated at the respective buttons.
The high level of workmanship is as much a matter of course for Audi as a sure touch in the range of colours. All interior colours – except black – have been re-coordinated. The upholstery range has also been revised, with Fine Nappa leather replacing Valcona leather. The new, single-part cluster trim has been adapted in colour to the interior, while the inlays are available in Aluminium Trigon, walnut dark brown and fine grain ash natural. Especially eye-catching is the Beaufort oak plywood inlay.
The interior of the S line sport package comes in black, and is refined with high-quality applications. 18-inch wheels or the optional 19-inch wheels and Sport suspension that lowers the body by 20 millimetres complete the package. S line sport suspension, which lowers the body by a further 10 millimetres, is also available as a no-cost option on S line models. Audi exclusive and Audi exclusive line offer further individualised options.
The A4 Saloon’s luggage compartment still has its 480-litre capacity – 962 litres with the rear seats folded down. The A4 Avant and the A4 allroad quattro have 490 and 1,430 litres, respectively, with Audi offering an optional electrically-operated tailgate for both models.
Engines –UK engine line-up details TBC
The new A4’s drive system sets new standards. The consumption levels have dropped by 11 percent on average, despite the increased power and torque of many of the engines. In the UK, Audi will offer a choice of five diesel and four petrol engines for both the Saloon and the Avant. All engines are supercharged direct-injection systems; the start-stop system and the recuperation system are standard throughout.
The TDI engines combine pulling power with pioneering efficiency, with the four-cylinder versions presenting extensive modifications. A new centrifugal pendulum-type absorber (in the 2.0 TDI with 136PS, 163PS or 177PS with quattro drive) in the dual-mass flywheel makes engine running even more refined and quieter at low revs, for even earlier upshifting and better fuel efficiency.
The most economical variant in the model family is the Audi A4 2.0 TDI with 136PS. In the Saloon, this engine helps the car achieve 67.3mpg on the combined cycle – a CO2 equivalent of just 112 grams per km. The new A4 2.0 TDI with 163PS, also optimised for maximum efficiency, achieves 64.2mpg. This equates to 115 grams CO2 per km. Both engines are available for the Saloon and the Avant.
In addition, two other four-cylinder diesel engines are available – with 143PS and 177PS. They can also be ordered for the allroad quattro, apart from the entry-level version. Three V6 TDI units complete the line. The 3.0 TDI with 204PS (not for the allroad quattro) is the most efficient six-cylinder engine in its class worldwide; in the A4 Saloon it helps the car achieve 57.6mpg on the combined cycle. The second variant, the 3.0 TDI, generates 245PS.
The A4 series also presents the latest state of the art in petrol engine technology. A new highlight of the TFSI family is the new 1.8-litre engine, available for the Saloon and the Avant. The four-cylinder engine delivers sporty thrust, with a power output of 170PS and 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque, and impressive economy figures of 50.4mpg and 134 grams CO2 per km. That is an efficiency improvement of 19 percent compared with the predecessor engine.
The new 1.8 TFSI engine features many innovations: in the control of its valves and their lift, in the novel thermal management system, in the fuel injection system, in the turbocharger and in the integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head. The engine weighs 3.5 kilograms less and its internal friction has sharply decreased.
The entry-level petrol engine is the 1.8 TFSI with 120PS. The 2.0 TFSI – as the only spark-ignition engine also available in the A4 allroad quattro – delivers 211PS. At the top of the line is the 3.0 TFSI in the sporty S4, which develops an impressive 333PS.
The wide range of drivetrains is typical of Audi. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Saloon and Avant models with front-wheel drive; most variants offer continuously variable multitronic as an option. The quattro versions have either the manual transmission or the seven-speed S tronic on board. The A4 allroad quattro employs a manual transmission or S tronic with all engine versions.
The innovative thermal management system shortens the warm-up phase of the manual transmission, among other things, and thereby reduces friction loss. All transmissions are distinguished by convenient and precise operation, high efficiency and a wide spread of gear ratios – the long ratios in the higher gears reduces fuel consumption, while the short ratios in the lower gears benefit the dynamics.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive is standard on the A4 allroad quattro, and available in the Saloon and Avant from the 2.0 TDI with 177PS. The A4 family uses the self-locking centre differential here. In regular driving operation it primarily transmits the engine torque to the rear wheels in the ratio of 40 to 60. If necessary, redistribution occurs within the shortest possible time. The torque vectoring function supplements the work of the centre differential with finely incremented brake applications, to make handling even more precise and safer.
In the V6 quattro variants Audi offers the sport differential as a supplement, lending maximum precision and high traction to the A4 when cornering at the handling limits. The high-end component actively distributes the power between the rear wheels as required.
The chassis of the A4 is striking with its sporty precision, high ride comfort and superior safety. The mounts of the rear suspension control arms and the characteristics of the shock absorbers have been even more finely tuned. Most of the components of the five-link front suspension and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminium.
The electromechanical power steering is new in all models of the series. The direct gear ratios convey precise road contact; slight brake applications counteract pulling to the side on unevenly slippery surfaces. The electromechanical power steering requires no energy for straight-ahead motion, thereby reducing fuel consumption. This is equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 7 g/km.
Another high-end feature that gives the A4 a special status in its class is Audi drive select. In the basic package, the driver can switch the characteristic of the accelerator, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the power steering and the automatic air conditioning between the four modes “comfort,” “auto,” “dynamic” and “efficiency.” If there is an onboard navigation system, the additional “individual” mode is also included.
Further modules are optional – adaptive cruise control or the cruise control system, the sport differential, the suspension with damper control and dynamic steering. By means of a superposition gear, the gear ratio is adjusted in a continuously variable manner depending on the driven speed; at the handling limits small interventions compensate for understeering and oversteering.
All front-wheel-drive versions of the A4 feature the electronic stability program (ESP) with electronic limited slip differential. In dynamic driving the system further improves handling and safety by initiating minimum brake interventions at the front wheel that is subject to a reduced load on the inside of the curve. The large wheel brakes – with ventilated front and rear disks in many variants – offer excellent stopping power and can be precisely modulated.
All A4 variants roll off the assembly line on elegant aluminium wheels, starting from 16 inches in size. The line of option tyres ranges to 19 inches with 255/35 series tyres. Four of the 18 available wheels are new designs. The A4 allroad quattro offers four independent designs.
Audi offers highly developed assistance systems for the A4 family, for making driving even more relaxed. Standard on all variants is the new driver information system with break recommendation – it detects and draws the driver’s attention to deviations from typical driving behavior on the basis of steering motions and other parameters.
The adaptive cruise control assistance system keeps the A4 at a constant distance from the preceding vehicle at speeds between 19 and 124 mph. If the threat of a rear-end collision becomes imminent at speeds below 18 mph, the system will execute a full brake application. Audi active lane assist helps the driver stay in lane. A camera detects the lane markings and the system makes slight corrections to the steering if necessary. Audi side assist monitors the space behind the A4 by radar and detects any vehicles in the blind spot, for example.
Audi offers a whole kit of state-of-the-art infotainment systems for its A4 series. The chorus CD radio with eight speakers is standard, while the MMI navigation plus system with large hard disk, colour monitor, 3D graphics and DVD player forms the top of the line. Voice control and the optional digital audio broadcasting (DAB) are further improvements to the system.
The high-end supplement to the MMI navigation plus system is the Bluetooth online car phone. Via Audi connect, the system provides special services in the car, such as voice-controlled Google searches for points of interest (POI) and navigation with Google Earth pictures, along with Google Street View. Audi online traffic information (available in 2012), another such service, gives the driver the latest news on congestion along the selected route. The WLAN hotspot, another feature of the Bluetooth online car phone, allows passengers in the A4 to surf the internet and send emails as they please with their mobile devices.
The Audi S4
The Audi S4, available in the Saloon and Avant versions, employs the most powerful engine in the line – the 3.0 TFSI with 333PS and 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft) torque. The Saloon can achieve 35.3mpg despite impressive acceleration of 0 to 62mph in 5.0 seconds and an electronically-limited maximum speed of 155 mph.
The modified Audi S4 is identifiable from the changes to the headlights, the bumpers, the air inlets and colours. The interior also contains subtle changes in appearance. The S sport suspension and 18-inch wheels featured on the S4 deliver outstanding road grip.
UK specification and prices will be confirmed in the next few weeks, but are expected to be similar to the current A4 range.