The arrival of the new A4 marked a much-needed change for Audi. With the last-generation car getting long in the tooth, and the competition intensifying in the segment, a new version of the car was necessary – and the latest generation delivers just that.
Stylistically, the A4 firmly remains an evolution from the last-gen car – with this one featuring updated front and rear end styling, such as new headlights and taillights. However, the basic design direction remains similar to the older car, and is very much in line with Audi’s understated design philosophy. While the A4 is clearly identifiable as an Audi product, it also means that it looks too similar to its siblings – like the A3 for instance.
Things have been kicked up a notch though in the cabin, with the car taking a big step up in terms of cabin quality. In fact, in terms of space and quality, the new A4 definitely leads the 3 Series from BMW and the C-Class from Mercedes. Plus, Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit greatly enhances the experience of driving this car. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay also increases the functionality of the car’s multimedia system.
In this test, we tried the TDI version of the A4 – which was launched in the past year. It’s powered by a 2-litre diesel engine producing 188bhp, which is paired to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The refinement levels too have gone up compared to the older car, and the A4 is now audibly quieter and smoother in the cabin. Offered only in front-wheel drive trim – no Quattro on this model as yet in India – transmitting the 400Nm of torque that the engine produces can at times be an issue as the front wheels squirm under hard acceleration. However, the rest of the package works well – and the suspension setup is actually quite good for our road conditions. And given its overall size, it does remain a very practical car to use in our traffic.
The new A4 is an extremely good car that flies under the radar somewhat. It does everything very well indeed, but doesn’t shout about it. More distinctive styling, and the inclusion of Quattro, would go a long way – but, as is, the A4 is an extremely capable, refined and comfortable machine.