The Audi A4 has always been the best-seller for the Ingolstadt based German manufacturer in India, alongside the Q3 compact SUV. So when Audi decided to replace the B8 version of the Audi A4 with the new B9 one, we were eagerly waiting for a product. Since Audi believes in evolution more than the revolution, we were a bit skeptical about the changes to the new A4.
So is the new Audi A4 the same car as the outgoing model, with a dash of change, or is a completely new car? We recently test drove the car on the picturesque roads from Bhubaneswar to Puri. Here's what we feel about the new Audi A4!
During the briefing for the product, Audi's top honchos said that nothing radical has been done as far as designing of the new A4 is concerned. What Audi wanted was a simple, sleeker and sharper looking A4 and that's what we have got. Surely it's no Mercedes C-Class when it comes to the looks, but the Audi A4 has its own charm. The premium styling, complemented by the changes done by Audi, makes the A4 rich and desirable.
The front is where all the action lies as it gets the new Matrix LED headlights that accentuates the sharp face. The classy side profile and the neat rear profile with LED tail lights, make the Audi A4 look as German as it can get. Overall, the new Audi A4 is longer and wider than the outgoing model and looks every bit premium.
When it comes to the cabin, Audi cars have always exuded classiness and the 2016 Audi A4 has taken the game to a whole new level. The dashboard, centre console, door pads, all are made with the premium feel soft-touch materials, including the high quality leather seats. There are a lot of elements carried from the bigger Audi cars like the big steering wheel which feels great to hold, gear selection knob from the Q7 and the Virtual Cockpit from the TT.
In terms of the features, there's a 7" MMI infotainment system which supports both for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen is not touch-based and you have to use the MMI rotary dial to control the functions and write the name or command. A neatly integrated reverse parking camera, a 3-zone automatic climate control with haptic knobs, and navigation system completes the car. You also get two convenience keys with the car (one each for the owner and chauffeur).
The Audi A4's cabin is designed keeping in mind both the driver and the rear passengers and so, there's a lot of space in the front as well as back. The driver seat is very comfortable and supportive and comes with memory function. The rear seats come with a wide arm rest, rear AC controls and are wide and spacious too. The boot can accommodate 480-litres of cargo without much fuss and has a nice shape.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
The 2016 Audi A4 is available with the petrol engine only for now. The Audi A4 is powered by a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine which is currently doing its duty on the Volkswagen Beetle and Jetta. The unit is turbocharged and can produce 150 bhp @ 5000-6000 RPM and 250 Nm torque @ 1500-3500 RPM. The 0-100 kmph figure is attained in 8.5 seconds.
Audi has downsized its 1.8-litre motor to make way for the 1.4-litre for increasing the efficiency, which now stands at 17.84 km/l, an impressive number by any means for a petrol motor. But for our 250km odd journey, the virtual cockpit was continuously showing 8-10 km/l, so expect an efficiency no more than this in the real world conditions.
The engine is mated to a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox which also comes with a tiptronic mode apart from the steering mounted controls. There's also a Drive Select Mode that lets you select from four different modes - Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual. We drove the car in the Dynamic mode most of the time, which made the A4 much more tighter and performance oriented.
As for the engine, once you get past the initial turbo-lag, a sweet and demanding acceleration awaits and you touch the three digits in no time. While the mid-range is strong, it's the upper rev limit which makes the 1.4 TFSI feel punchy. The gearbox is butter smooth and holds on to higher revs for the ease of overtaking. The auto gearbox is tuned such that you won't turn to paddle shifters for high revs.
Ride and Handling
When you are an Audi, it's hard to goof-up on the ride and handling front. The new Audi A4 is equipped with an electric-steering, which is crisp and precise. While driving in the city, the steering acts light and nimble and as the speed increases, it weighs up superbly. The A4's body acts the way you want it to do and this predictable handling makes it a pleasurable car to drive.
On the ride front, the brilliantly tuned suspension gives the car a very plush ride and the Audi A4 can take on any bump or broken road without much fuss, be it low speeds or be it the high speed ride.If you are someone who would be opting for chauffeur driven car, be assured, you can work on your laptop without facing much problem.
Audi has used a right amount of technology in the new A4 and added some dynamic features to it. The new downsized 1.4L engine is peppy and frugal as compared to the previous one. Spend some time with it, and you will realize its beauty. With the right mix of product and pricing, the A4 can carry the success story of the outgoing model and win the luxury sedan battle!