Audi A4

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The Audi A4 has been revised for 2012 with engine start/stop and recuperation standard across the range resulting in efficiency improvements of up to 21 per cent .

The most economical A4 2.0 TDIe (136 PS) variant becomes even more efficient with 65.7 mpg and 112 g/km CO 2
.

All A4 models benefit from revisions including the Saloon, Avant and allroad.

Due with UK customers in March 2012, the new generation A4 ranges will carry a premium of just £200 over their outgoing equivalents, with prices starting at under £24,000.

All nine of the turbocharged and directly injected engines feature start/stop and recuperation systems. These help to bring about economy improvements that average 11 per cent, but are as much as 21 per cent in some cases.

The petrol range starts with the 1.8-litre TFSI with 120 PS, which is due to open for orders in early 2012. Until then, the entry-level engine is a more powerful 1.8-litre TFSI which has been completely redesigned for the A4 including in the areas of the control of the valves and their lift, thermal management, fuel injection, turbocharging and the integration of the exhaust manifold. With power increased from the previous 160 PS to 170 PS, torque increased from 250 Nm to 320 Nm, it combines 49.6 mpg economy with CO 2
output down from 169 g/km to 134 g/km – a 21 per cent improvement. With the departure of the 3.2-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine from the latest range, the 2.0-litre TFSI unit with 211 PS now completes the petrol line-up.

The bulk of the engine range changes are reserved for the TDI units, which now offer a choice of six options with either four or six cylinders. Of the four 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, two power TDIe models. The 136 PS version which performed this role originally continues, and has been joined by a more powerful 163 PS version. CO 2
drops to 112 g/km from 120 g/km in the A4 2.0 TDIe 136 PS, and the 2.0 TDIe 163 PS has emissions almost as low, at 115 g/km. Combined cycle economy figures are 65.7 mpg and 64.2 mpg respectively.

The 143 PS version of the 2.0-litre TDI continues alongside a 177 PS unit – with power up from 170 PS – that heads the four-cylinder line-up. The 136 PS, 163 PS and 177 PS units have been further refined by a new pendulum type absorber in the dual mass flywheel which makes engine running even smoother and more refined at low revs.

There’s also a 204 PS 3.0-litre V6 unit first seen in the A6 Saloon and A7 Sportback which is adopted in place of the 2.7-litre TDI, delivering up to 57.6 mpg in front-wheel-drive models. A 245 PS version is linked exclusively to quattro all-wheel-drive in Saloon, Avant and allroad quattro variants.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard for Saloon and Avant models with front-wheel drive, and most variants offer the continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission as an option. The quattro versions feature either the manual transmission or the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch automatic. The A4 allroad quattro employs a manual transmission or S tronic with all engine versions.

An innovative new thermal management system shortens the warm-up phase of the manual transmission, and thereby reduces friction losses, and all transmissions are distinguished by high efficiency and a wide spread of gear ratios, with long ratios in the higher gears to boost fuel economy and short ratios in the lower gears to optimise response.

The quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system is standard for the A4 allroad quattro and 245 PS A4 3.0 TDI quattro models, and is available at extra cost for 211 PS 2.0-litre TFSI petrol and 177 PS 2.0-litre TDI variants. The A4 family uses the self-locking centre differential, which under normal driving conditions transmits torque to the rear wheels in the ratio of 40 to 60, but can rapidly vary this according to the situation. Torque vectoring supplements the work of the centre differential with intermittent brake applications to boost handling precision.

The quattro system works with a chassis incorporating five-link front suspension and a trapezoidal link at the rear, both featuring a high lightweight aluminium content.

In the V6 quattro variants Audi offers the sport differential as an option; the differential actively distributes the power between the rear wheels as required.

Electromechanical power steering is new to all A4 models. It draws no power from the engine when running in the straight-ahead position, thereby improving fuel economy and reducing CO 2
emissions by up to 7 g/km.

These features and more can be influenced by the optional Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system. In its standard form, it enables the driver to alter the throttle response, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the power steering feel and the automatic air conditioning between the four modes “comfort,” “auto,” “dynamic” and “efficiency.” The latter is new to the A4, and sets all the elements, plus the climate control system, to operate at their most fuel-efficient level.

If the optional navigation system is on board, Audi drive select also includes an “individual” mode which allows even more fine-tuning. And if options such as dynamic steering and damper control are also added, the ratio of the steering and the response of the shock absorbers are also governed by the drive select controls.

All front-wheel-drive versions of the A4 feature the electronic stability programme (ESP) with electronic limited slip differential. The system improves handling and safety by initiating minimum brake interventions at the front wheel that is subject to a reduced load on the inside of a bend.

There are also minor exterior and interior design changes. A new option available across the board is a high specification mobile phone interface offering online services, which not only brings a Google-powered Points of Interest search and navigation using Google Earth images, but also creates a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) hotspot within the A4 enabling occupants to connect phones and computers to the internet wirelessly.

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