A more streamlined look and a more contemporary feel – today marks the launch of a comprehensively updated Audi A4 range that moves into step with the latest additions to the Audi family in terms of design and technology and anchors the broad spread of Saloon, Avant and allroad models even more firmly in the vanguard of the compact executive class.
The launch is also notable for including high performance S4 variants that travel under TDI power for the first time in the model’s history, and also do so with the benefit of the same independent electric compressor technology that brought the SQ7 so much critical acclaim.
Newly designed headlights contribute to a favourable first impression in the latest A4 models, and all now use LED technology as standard regardless of version. The lamps flank a broader, flatter Singleframe grille that is complemented by resculpted bumper elements with a more horizontal aspect that emphasises width.
The profile is defined by the distinctive new detailing above the wings and the lower- set shoulder line in between. They form strong contours above the wheels and make the quattro genes outwardly visible.
Inside, an emphasis on horizontal lines also helps to enhance the sense of space, and a new operating system based on the third-generation modular infotainment platform MIB 3 lends an air of even greater sophistication from a technological perspective. Its hub is the large, 10.1-inch high resolution MMI touch display tilted slightly towards the driver in the centre of the instrument panel. Responding to fingertip inputs with acoustic feedback and permitting free text input, it replaces the functions of the previous rotary/pushbutton control on the centre tunnel console. Its graphics are deliberately clean and reductive, and its menu structure with its tight hierarchies is tailored to user expectations and facilitates ease of use. Features such as navigation are now even more versatile and user-friendly as well, particularly when the driver takes advantage of another element of the new system – natural language voice control. The latest iteration of this technology is even more adept at understanding many of the phrases used in everyday speech.
Audi connect infotainment services are installed on an upgradable three-month subscription basis, bringing numerous web-based features such as up-to-the-minute news, Google Earth mapping and Street View and flight, weather, traffic and fuel pricing information. The Audi connect plus portfolio includes a host of additional Car-to-X services taking advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. They include online traffic sign and hazard information, an on-street parking search function and newly introduced traffic light information functionality. By networking with the urban infrastructure, the car receives information from the traffic light central computer via a server so that the driver can choose their speed to match the next green light. The instrument cluster displays a personal speed recommendation as well as the remaining time to the next green light whenever the driver is waiting at a red traffic light. As such, the system promotes an anticipatory, efficient driving style, along with a constant flow of traffic. The function is part of the Audi connect package and is being rolled out in stages in selected European cities.
The all-digital Audi virtual cockpit plus is another standard feature of the latest UK A4 models that underscores their impressive technological emphasis. The driver can operate the 12.3-inch display with full HD resolution using the multifunction steering wheel with a choice of three views.
Numerous driver assistance systems are available to apply high technology to the task of everyday driving. The systems are bundled into the “Tour,” “City” and “Park” packages. An important system in the “Tour” package is the adaptive cruise control including Stop&Go function for automatic distance control. In conjunction with the predictive efficiency assist it can brake and accelerate the A4 predictively even where there is no vehicle ahead. To do so it analyses Car-to-X messages, navigation data and traffic signs.
A broad spread of four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines power the first phase of launch models, all of which are at the top of their game, and undercut the limits of the Euro 6d-temp emission standard as proof of that fact. Their power outputs range from 150PS to 347PS – from the Audi A4 35 TFSI up to the Audi S4 TDI. Shortly afterwards, a further two turbocharged engines will be added to the range: the 30 TDI with a power output of 136PS and the 35 TDI with 163PS. The reassurance of quattro all-wheel-drive will be offered as standard for the most powerful TDI and TFSI engines.
For the market launch three engine variants will feature a mild-hybrid system (MHEV) based on 12 volts, which reduces fuel consumption while improving comfort. Another two units are set to follow shortly afterward. This broad-based electrification makes an important contribution to achieving the fleet targets for fuel consumption. In everyday use, the MHEV system reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.3 litres per 100 kilometres according to individual Audi measurements.
Available for UK ordering from June