Audi has released first details about its new A4. There are big changes to the basic chassis design to ensure it drives in a more responsive way, and the 2.0 TDI will be capable of 51.4mpg with a 144g/km CO2 output.
The A4 will also become the first model range to be totally Euro5 compliant – making it eligible for expected benefit-in-kind tax breaks for greener company cars. All three diesel and two petrols meet the tough new emissions standards.
Audi has responded at last to many years of feedback from critics and made the car less nose-heavy. Its completely new suspension and steering configuration sites the front axle 154mm further forwards than in the existing car, reducing overhang and optimising weight distribution for better handling balance. Even the original quattro ended up suffering to newer competitors on rallies due to its engine being sited so far toward the nose of the car, and the majority of Audis ever since have inherited this design approach, generally making them second-best as a driver’s car compared to the balance of the 50:50 weight distribution of BMWs.
All new Audi dynamic steering and, for quattro models, the latest generation of the four-wheel-drive system with driver-focused 40:60 torque split, also helps to make the A4 into a better driver’s car, and further reduces the weaknesses inherent in its predominantly front-wheel drive handling characteristics.
The FSI direct petrol injection and common rail piezo TDI engine range at launch in the UK will include the 160PS 1.8 Turbo FSI four-cylinder, the 265PS 3.2-litre V6 FSI, the 143PS 2.0-litre TDI, the 190PS 2.7-litre TDI and the 240PS 3.0-litre TDI.
Depending on the engine chosen, there will be the option of either the latest six-speed manual gearbox, an extensively revised, faster-shifting six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission or an updated and smoother version of the efficient multitronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The new optional Audi Drive Select technology enables accelerator pedal response, transmission shift points, power steering assistance and shock absorber characteristics to be adjusted by the driver, who has a choice of three preset modes – comfort, auto and sport. An ‘Individual’ mode also enables preferred settings for all of these to be fine-tuned even further.
The A5 coupe’s influence is evident in the A4’s design, including with the optional LED strip daytime running lights around its headlamp units, and in its slippery coupe-like drag coefficient of just 0.27, which will no doubt assist its fuel efficiency.
Advanced features from the A6 Saloon have also been adopted by the new A4, including a space-saving electromechanical parking brake, the Multi Media Interface operating system (MMI) and the DVD satellite navigation option with TMC congestion avoidance system and 7-inch colour monitor. Luxuries such as ventilated ‘climatic comfort’ seats and a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system are also available at extra cost.
The A4 is scheduled to open for UK ordering on the Frankfurt Motor Show’s Press Day on Tuesday September 11th.