Audi is updating the A4 series for 2012. The German carmaker boasts that new solutions for efficiency, driving dynamics and infotainment, along with an even more attractive design, show the “Vorsprung durch Technik” achieved by the A4 Saloon, the A4 Avant, the A4 allroad quattro and the S4.
The A4 is Audi’s bestseller with ten million models produced. And with a lifeline of 39 years and in its eighth generation, the A4's elegance, sportiness and emotional appeal, forms the centrepiece of the marque. And Audi says, now the design has become even more clearly defined and striking in all models – the Saloon, the Avant (sports estate ), the allroad quattro and the S4.
The new look further accentuates the horizontal lines at the front end. The bonnet is more arched, the upper corners of the single frame grille are tapered, and the cross ribs and the Audi rings are highlighted three-dimensionally. The grille is painted grey, with high-gloss black on the six-cylinder models or in combination with the S line exterior package.
The redesigned bumpers are striking with their angular air inlets, their revised grilles and the flat front fog lights. The A4 allroad quattro is distinguished by its grille’s horizontal chrome applications and by the round fog lights.
The headlights have also changed, with a slight wave at the bottom edges, and a re-arranged interior. Xenon plus headlights are available as optional equipment or standard on S line models. The LED daytime running lights form a narrow, optically continuous band that remains open in the vicinity of the xenon lens. The adaptive light, together with dynamic and static cornering lights, are available as an option.
The tail lights reflect the shape of the headlights, and in combination with Xenon plus have homogeneous strips of LEDs. The bumper with its diffuser insert has been redesigned, with the exhaust system always terminating in two tailpipes.
The Saloon and the Avant offer the S line exterior package, while the Avant also includes a roof spoiler. The modifications have changed the dimensions only by a few millimetres.
The interior of the A4 models has also been refined. Audi offers a selection of new steering wheels with chrome and high-gloss inlays, with the leather sport steering wheel also featuring a flattened lower rim. The steering arm and the ignition key have been modified. High-gloss applications and the slender chrome trim at the controls add elegance to the interior.
Audi also says that it will offer a whole kit of state-of-the-art infotainment systems for its A4 series. The chorus CD radio with eight speakers is standard, while the MMI navigation plus system with large hard disk, colour monitor, 3D graphics and DVD player forms the top of the line. Voice control and the optional digital audio broadcasting (DAB ) are further improvements to the system.
While the engine line-up for Ireland has also to be finalised, Audi says that the new A4’s drive system sets new standards. The consumption levels have dropped by 11 percent on average, despite the increased power and torque of many of the engines. In Ireland, Audi will offer a choice of several diesel and petrol engines for both the Saloon and the Avant. All engines are expected to be supercharged direct-injection systems; the start-stop system and the recuperation system are standard throughout.
The TDI engines combine pulling power with pioneering efficiency, with the four-cylinder versions presenting extensive modifications. A new centrifugal pendulum-type absorber (in the 2.0 TDI with 136 bhp, 163 bhp or 177 bhp with quattro drive ) in the dual-mass flywheel makes engine running even more refined and quieter at low revs, for even earlier upshifting and better fuel efficiency.
Interestingly, the most economical variant in the model family is the Audi A4 2.0 TDI with 136 bhp. In the saloon, Audi tells us that this engine helps the car achieve 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle – a CO2 equivalent of just 112 grams per km. The new A4 2.0 TDI with 163 bhp, also optimised for maximum efficiency, achieves 64.2mpg. This equates to 115 grams CO2 per km. Both engines should be available for the Saloon and the Avant.
The wide range of drivetrains is typical of Audi. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Saloon and Avant models with front-wheel drive; most variants offer continuously variable multitronic as an option. The quattro versions have either the manual transmission or the seven-speed S tronic on board. The A4 allroad quattro employs a manual transmission or S tronic with all engine versions.
Audi says we will discover that the chassis of the A4 is striking with its sporty precision, high ride comfort and superior safety. The mounts of the rear suspension control arms and the characteristics of the shock absorbers have been even more finely tuned. Most of the components of the five-link front suspension and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminium. The electromechanical power steering is also new in all models of the series.
The Audi S4
The Audi S4, available in the Saloon and Avant versions, employs the most powerful engine in the line – the 3.0 TFSI with 333 bhp and 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft ) torque. Audi boasts that the Saloon can achieve 35.3 mpg despite impressive acceleration of 0 to 62mph in 5.0 seconds and an electronically-limited maximum speed of 155 mph.
The modified Audi S4 is identifiable from the changes to the headlights, the bumpers, the air inlets and colours. The interior also contains subtle changes in appearance. The S sport suspension and 18-inch wheels featured on the S4 deliver outstanding road grip.
Final Irish specification and prices will be confirmed in the next few weeks in advance of the launch here. However, hopefully it will follow the word from the UK, that that new generation A4 are expected to have a similar price-tag to the current A4 range. Bring it on!