Audi has updated its A4 sedan series with new solutions for efficiency, dynamics and infotainment. As the brand’s bestseller for 39 years, and in its eighth generation, Audi has sold ten million A4 models in total. Therefore, each update brings greater significance to the company.
The new look for the A4 is said to further accentuates the horizontal lines at the front-end. The hood is more arched, the upper corners of the grille are tapered, while the grille and its rings are highlighted three-dimensionally.
The grille will be painted grey, or gloss-black on the six-cylinder models or in combination with the S line exterior package.
The redesigned bumpers have angular ducts and flat foglights. The A4 allroad quattro, which hasn’t been sold in the US in the past, is distinguished by its grille’s horizontal chrome and by round foglights.
The headlights have also changed, with a wave at the bottom edges, while Xenon plus headlights are available as optional equipment. The LED daytime running lights form a narrow band.
The tail lights reflect the shape of the headlights, and when fitted in combination with Xenon plus have homogeneous strips of LEDs.
The bumper’s diffuser insert has been redesigned, with the exhaust terminating in two tailpipes on all models.
The modifications have changed the dimensions only slightly. The A4 Sedan and Avant each have a length of 15.42 ft, while the A4 allroad quattro and the S4 are 15.49 ft long. The wheelbase for all models is 9.22 ft, and the width is 6.0 and 6.04 ft respectively. The height varies between 4.63 and 4.92 ft depending on the body version.
The interior has also been refined with a selection of new steering wheels with chrome and gloss inlays plus a flat bottom.
The MMI navigation plus system now features four instead of eight buttons, with a shift function integrated in the volume control dial.
Other improvements involve operation of the automatic transmission, the air conditioning, Audi drive select and multifunction steering wheel. The seat heating and air conditioning are now directly operated at the respective buttons.
All interior colors – 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 changed to the interior color, while the inlays are available in Aluminium Trigon, walnut dark brown and fine grain ash natural. There’s also a Beaufort oak plywood inlay.
The interior of the S line sport package comes in black. It’s fitted with 18-inch wheels or the optional 19-inch, and Sport suspension that lowers the body 20mm. S line sport suspension, which lowers the body by a further 10mm is also available as a no-cost option on S line models in some markets.
In Europe, all engines are supercharged direct-injection systems; with start-stop and recuperation system as standard throughout.
For the TDI engines a new centrifugal pendulum-type absorber in the dual-mass flywheel makes engine running more refined at low revs, for earlier upshifting and better fuel efficiency.
The most economical variant in the family is the Audi A4 2.0 TDI with 136hp. In the Sedan, this engine helps the car achieve 56mpg US on the combined cycle. The A4 series also presents the new 1.8-liter TFSI engine in the Sedan and Avant. The four-cylinder delivers 170hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, with economy figures of 42mpg. That is an efficiency improvement of 19 percent compared to its predecessor.
The new 1.8 TFSI features new valve control and lift as well as a thermal management system, fuel injection, turbocharger and the integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head. The engine weighs 7.7 lb less, and its internal friction has decreased.
The wide range of drivetrains is available in Europe, with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, while most variants offer continuously variable multitronic as an option.
The quattro versions have either the manual transmission or the seven-speed S tronic.
The innovative thermal management system shortens the warm-up phase of the manual transmission, among other things, and so reduces friction loss.
The quattro all-wheel drive is available in the Sedan and Avant using a self-locking center differential. In regular driving operation it primarily transmits the engine torque to the rear wheels in the ratio of 40:60. If necessary, redistribution occurs through a torque vectoring function to supplement the work of the center diff, with small brake applications to make handling more precise and safer.
In the V6 quattro variants Audi offers the sport differential as a supplement, lending precision and traction to the A4 when cornering at the limits. It actively distributes the power between the rear wheels as required.
The mounts of the rear suspension control arms and the characteristics of the shock absorbers have been fine tuned.
The electromechanical power steering is new in all models, with small brake applications counteracting pulling to the side on uneven or slippery surfaces. The electromechanical steering requires no energy for straight-ahead motion, thereby reducing fuel consumption. This is equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 7g/km.
Another high-end feature on the A4 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 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, 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 under- or oversteer.
All front-wheel-drive versions of the A4 feature electronic stability program (ESP) with electronic limited slip differential. In dynamic driving the system further improves handling and safety by initiating brake interventions to the front wheel that is subject to a reduced load on the inside of the curve.
All A4 variants roll off the assembly line on 16”- or larger aluminium wheels. The line of options ranges up to 19” with 255/35 tires.
The adaptive cruise control assistance system keeps the A4 at a constant distance from the preceding vehicle at speeds between 19 and 124mph. If the threat of a rear-end collision becomes imminent at speeds below 18mph, 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.
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, color monitor, 3D graphics and DVD player forms the top of the line.
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 in some markets), 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, available in the Sedan and Avant versions, employs the most powerful engine in the line – the 3.0 TFSI with 333hp and 324 lb-ft torque.
The Sedan can achieve 29mpg with acceleration of 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds and an electronically-limited maximum speed of 155mph.
The S4 is identifiable from the changes to the headlights, bumpers, air inlets and colors. The interior also contains subtle changes in appearance. The S sport suspension and 18-inch wheels on the S4 deliver outstanding grip.