This year Audi passed the 10 million Audi A4 sales mark. The current model (eighth generation ) A4 has become the class leader here since it was launched in early 2008.
Audi bullishly believes the mid-life facelift which is arriving in mid-February will continue its domination of this segment into 2012. It will carry broadly similar price tags as its outgoing equivalents, despite significant styling enhancements, equipment upgrades, and efficiency gains of up to 21 per cent. Prices will start at €33,040 on-the-road.
Audi claims the fuel consumption levels have dropped by 11 per cent on average, despite the increased power and torque of many of the engines. In the saloon and avant, Audi offers any of six TDI and four TFSI petrol engines, with 23 possible engine-transmission combinations. All engines are supercharged direct-injection systems; the start-stop system and the recuperation system are standard throughout.
For Irish customers, Audi says the good news is that the ever popular 2.0TDI 120 variant now sips even less diesel, thanks to a more intelligent thermal management system and a new redesigned, more efficient climate control system. It now emits 119g leading to the lower annual road tax band and fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100km. That is 63mpg in old measure.
The changes under the bonnet have been matched by a number of exterior and interior enhancements. Audi says that specification levels have been significantly enhanced versus the outgoing model.
All versions gain Audi’s intuitive Bluetooth interface, rear park assist, multifunction leather steering wheel and 17” alloy wheels. SE versions add cruise control, upgraded 17” alloys, light and rain sensor, colour driver information system, three zone climate control, anti-glare interior mirror, and advanced key with easy access for just €1,700 extra.
S Line specification is a new line addition for the A4 in Ireland and is, as usual, the choice for more performance-oriented drivers, and includes larger 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, S line exterior and interior styling enhancements and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and rear LED lights. Sport seats in leather/sprint cloth finish with lumbar support finish the look. S Line also contains all of the equipment contained in SE and is available for a premium of €3,750 above the SE version (and €5,450 above the entry level model ).
To minimise the risk of unintentional manoeuvres caused by fatigue, all A4 models are also equipped with a 'break recommendation' function built into the 'driver’s information system'. It uses a steering angle sensor to monitor steering movements and also assesses use of the pedals and gear lever. If the sensors detect irregular or overly sudden driver inputs, the driver is alerted to the possible need to take a break by audible and visual cues in the cockpit.