Dynamic and modern, the all-new A4 is about to break cover – and it could be Audi’s trump card in this fiercely competitive segment.
The all-new Audi A4 is ready for its world debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show before it lands at showrooms by the end of the year. This model has been one of Audi’s bestsellers, and the new car could even be considered the ‘A4 of fulfilment’ – the most mature expression of their current stylistic trend.
The innovation is definitely more in its soul than in its looks though. The platform, indeed, has been redesigned. It still has a longitudinally mounted engine, as in the current model, but it’s been reset. It’s the same MLB platform, which is being launched with the Q7, and will thereafter be used on other new models as well – first on the A4, and then the A5.
Audi has been reluctant to reveal information about the new car, so whatever we know has come from confidential sources. Technically, it’s the fifth generation – even though it could well be the third, considering the makeovers the previous models have received.
Aesthetically, it features a more horizontal grille with sharp corners and innovatively styled headlights. The shape of the headlights is quite unique, as they’re not rectangular – and they have a jagged edge below the main beam. The shoulder line is well formed, following a trend that was previously seen on the A3 – as well as other models from the Group, such as the Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb. At the rear, the spoiler is more rounded than in the current model.
PLEASURE TO DRIVE
If the design is basically evolutionary in nature, the same cannot be said for its dynamic performance. Audi’s technical development head, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, recently declared that there would be a big step forward in the car’s drivability. The benefits will be felt mainly on the agility and feedback of the steering.
According to Hackenberg, the greater refinement due to the adoption of the new MLB architecture will be comparable to the gains made by the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 when, with their last generation, they adopted the MQB platform. With the new A4, the MLB platform will reduce the car’s weight, thanks to the combination of aluminium and high strength steel. We can expect the new A4 to weigh at least 100kgs less.
The multi-link suspension is still present, even if revised in its geometry. Depending on which variant, the driver will be able to select between several driving programmes – with a different response from the steering, engine, gearbox and dampers.
The diesel and petrol engines will come with a six-speed manual gearbox and the automatic S-tronic will have a nine-speed gearbox. The survival of the Multi-tronic CVT gearbox is currently uncertain.
Faithful to its promise to introduce a plug-in hybrid variant for each model, Audi will add an e-tron version for the first time. A petrol engine - electric motor plug-in is also currently under development.
A considerable change compared to the current generation is expected in the cockpit as well – pushing it a step ahead in terms of control simplification and linearity of surfaces.
The task of making the car more driver-friendly is carried out by Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) – which will be far more interactive thanks to the adoption of the so-called virtual cockpit, launched on the TT and also adopted on the new Q7.
The instrument panel changes to suit the required functions. Typically, it simulates two analogue counters. But it can also be made to display the navigation map on the majority of the screen while the speedo and tachometer are shrunk and relegated to both ends of the cluster.
For connectivity, you can count on both Android Auto from Google and CarPlay from Apple. The A4 will also provide a whole host of driver assistance programmes and electronic aids, such as the ones introduced on the new Q7. Turn the page to see our review of the Q7 for more.
CALL IT RIGHTSIZING
It’s better than downsizing – in short, the right volume in relation to the car’s size. At Audi, they call it rightsizing – and for the A4 it comes in the shape of a 2-litre engine. And this four-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol engine, which makes its debut on this sedan, produces a mileage of 20km/l. This is part of Audi’s push for improved economy. It generates 190bhp and a torque of 320Nm, available at just 1,450rpm. The engine manages to achieve these figures thanks to a combustion system that is referred to as the Miller cycle – with a shorter aspiration phase, a variable valve lift management system, and an added injection phase.
In this reconstruction of the interiors, we see the linear, neat and hi-tech dashboard. The virtual cockpit is impressive, particularly the instrument panel that is customisable. Above, it’s set to display the navigation map in the full screen with the two dials at their respective ends of the cluster.
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