The insulation is so effective that it makes the turbocharged V6 diesel almost imperceptible. Audi says the new A4 is the quietest car in its class, and our first impression leaves no room to doubt that claim. This sedan also clearly benefits from improved dynamic capabilities.
The first impression that you get from the cabin of the new A4 is that it has beautifully crafted seats, glossy and great quality materials, and a wealth of information on the dashboard that elevates the driving experience. This particular pre-production test car was obviously loaded to the brim with cutting-edge technology and a spectacular virtual cockpit that makes quite an impression.
A FEELING OF SPACE
The styling provides the impression of greater width, but in reality the increase in size is a matter of mere millimeters. That said, it is still more spacious than its rivals.
The Audi engineers also had to deal with the considerable heft of the central tunnel, which is well finished and equally well equipped. It also serves to highlight the unique shape of the stubby lever for the automatic transmission.
Needless to say, the eight-speed transmission mated to this 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel motor that produces 272bhp is notable for its extraordinary smoothness of operation – not to mention fuel efficiency.
At 90km/h in 8th gear, the engine is barely turning over at 1,000rpm with no fuss at all. And despite the relaxed nature of the motor, it responds very well to any input from the accelerator pedal. The revs rise quickly, and torque peaks as early as 1,500rpm.
The engine is so refined that it runs in an almost unnatural silence for diesel cars. And the only noticeable noise, a minor jolt when the start-stop system is operational, is less noticeable than in its competitors.
The A4 is not only a very quiet car to travel in, but Audi has also ensured that it’s extremely comfortable by developing variable stiffness dampers (which have three levels) to accompany the various driving modes offered by Audi Drive Select.
And so the brand new A4 proves to be very reactive to any change of direction. Body roll is contained, and the understeer that often afflicts four-wheel drive vehicles is not a problem here. The steering is equally balanced. It is always remains progressive, direct, and sends plenty of feedback to the driver.
The second engine we tested was the 2.0-litre, 190bhp petrol, which also has plenty of torque and simply isn’t plagued by turbo lag. But the four-cylinder TFSI is unlikely to satisfy those who look for a little bit more thrust in a forced induction motor. That said, the well-known S-tronic dual clutch does a good job on the TFSI. And despite being front-wheel drive, it has remarkable balance to thrill those who seek precision motoring.
THE FORMULA CHANGES
The 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder petrol motor that sits under the hood of the A4 is a profoundly changed engine. It has a working cycle similar to the Atkinson cycle engine – shorter stroke, elongated expansion, earlier closure of the intake valves, high compression ratio (11.7:1 against 9.6:1). And all this amazing technology is aimed at optimising operation at partial load. Of course, it requires a special combustion chamber and dedicated pistons. This engine is expected to offer varied performance – right from 190bhp and 320Nm of torque to 252bhp and 370Nm. In each case, it’s features double injection, variable lift for the exhaust valves, and a turbocharger with electronic control of the wastegate. Also, the 1.8-litre motor will be replaced by a more compact 1.4 TFSI engine that will pump out 150bhp and weigh only 100 pounds.
Although the overall dimensions have changed very little, the A4 looks wider than before. The highlight at the front, however, are the double-arrow headlights that certainly make an impression
Typical Audi treatment of the rear. The most obvious difference is in the leading edge of the tail lamps. The arrangement of the exhaust changes based on the configuration of the engine
The controls for the MMI infotainment system are easier to operate without taking your eyes off the road. Above, you see the extremely clean lines for the dashboard – characterised by the full width air vents
- 3.0 TDI
ENGINE 2,967cc, turbocharged V6 diesel engine
MAX POWER 272bhp
TORQUE 600Nm at 1,500rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
0-100 km/h 5.3 Seconds
AVERAGE CONSUMPTION 20.4 km/l
DIMENSIONS Length: 4,730mm Width: 1,840mm Height: 1,430mm
WEIGHT 1,735 kg
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