The A4 represents the core of the brand – after four years of development, Audi has made the successful midsize model even tauter and sportier. Its exterior is integrated into the brand’s new design language; the large MMI touch display offers the kind of operating experience customers will be familiar with from their smartphone. Many engine options now come with mild-hybrid systems (MHEV) – efficiency and comfort benefit from this broad-based electrification. This also applies to the Audi S4 TDI, with a V6 TDI under the bonnet for the first time, a 48-volt main electrical system and an electric powered compressor (EPC), which lends its beefy acceleration even more spontaneity. This combination of power, torque and efficiency makes it unique in the segment.
Sporty look: the exterior design ?
The midsize model looks even more dynamic and sophisticated thanks to the sportier design highlights. The Singleframe grille is now broader and flatter; horizontal lines emphasise the width at the front and rear and the side view is defined by distinctive muscular styling above the fenders and the lower set shoulder line in between. They form strong contours above the wheels and make the quattro genes outwardly visible. ?
LED headlights now come standard in the Audi A4, with the
top-of-the-line headlights featuring the Matrix LED technology with fully
automatic high beam. The equipment line concept is equally new: basic, advanced
and S line are now available for the exterior, as well as the independent look
of the S models and the A4 allroad quattro. Customers can choose from 12 paint
colours, including a new terra grey option.
In the newly styled interior of the Audi A4 the horizontal lines also convey the overall impression of calm. In the centre of the instrument panel, slightly tilted toward the driver, is the large MMI touch display, the control centre for the new operating system. The new interior packages: design selection and S line interior can be combined freely with the exterior lines and come with numerous colours and materials, while the contour/ambient lighting package adds highlights to the interior in the dark.
With its new MMI system the highly connected Audi A4 offers a user experience similar to a contemporary smartphone. An MMI touch display with acoustic feedback replaces the functions of the previous rotary/pushbutton control on the centre tunnel console. The high-resolution TFT display measures 10.1 inches, with graphics that are deliberately clean and cut-down and the menu structure with its tight hierarchies is tailored to user expectations and facilitates ease of use. The MMI search is based on free text input and returns hits rapidly, while natural-language voice control, another function of the new system, understands many of the phrases used in everyday speech.
The navigation in the Audi A4 is now even more versatile and more user-friendly, with Audi connect and Audi connect plus portfolio featuring a host of online services, such as Car-to-X services, which take advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. Apart from online traffic sign and hazard information, as well as the on-street parking service, traffic light information is a new addition to the lineup. 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 Audi connect services emergency call and service come standard; the free myAudi app connects the customer’s smartphone seamlessly to the car. The Audi connect key option lets the customer lock/unlock the vehicle, and start the engine using a compatible Android smartphone. The personalisation, another digital feature, allows up to 14 myAudi users to store their preferred settings in individual profiles.
The pioneering functions on demand are part of the many innovations set to accompany the launch of the Audi A4. They allow customers to add on three infotainment functions flexibly as required via the myAudi app, even after purchasing the vehicle.
If customers would like to get to know a function first before committing themselves, they can book a one-time, one-month test phase. Customers can extend the booking even during this phase, either for a further month, a year, or permanently. If they decide not to extend the term, the booking expires automatically and without requiring active termination at the end of the term.
The new MMI features a new main unit. The third-generation modular infotainment platform MIB 3 delivers phenomenal computing power, working with an equally new, spatially separate communication box that bundles all connectivity tasks – such as telephony or the Audi connect services – and incorporates the Wi-Fi hotspot. The optional hardware modules include the Audi phone box and the Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System in the front.
Three instrument cluster variants are available: two partially analog driver information systems and – in conjunction with the MMI plus – the all-digital Audi virtual cockpit plus. The driver can operate the 12.3-inch display with full HD resolution using the multifunction steering wheel with a choice of three views. A head-up display projects important information into the driver’s direct field of view.
The A4 models are available with a host of driver assist systems. The optional 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.
Broad-based electrification: the drive system
Audi will be offering the A4 model line with six turbocharged engines at sales launch in Europe. Their power outputs range from 110kW to 255kW – from the Audi A4?35 TFSI up to the Audi S4 TDI. All engines – whether four-cylinder diesel unit, V6 TDI or four-cylinder TFSI – undercut the limits of the Euro 6d-temp emission standard.
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. 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.
Whether manual transmission, seven-speed S tronic or eight-speed tiptronic, whether front-wheel or quattro drive – each of the six engine variants delivers tailor-made power transmission. All A4 models come off the production line with an automatic transmission as standard.
Sportily harmonious: the suspension
The sportily balanced suspension ideally harmonises with the character of the Audi A4 and customers can choose between the standard setup and the sport suspension. There are also two adaptive suspensions. The first is the comfort suspension with damper control, which reduces the ride height by 10 millimetres and offers superb ride comfort. The other is the sport suspension, either with or without damper control, which is lowered by?23 millimetres. With its even more dynamic basic setup, it underscores the sporty character while maintaining comfort. Both controlled suspensions are integrated into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. The same applies to the steering, with dynamic steering, the automatic transmission and the throttle valve available for customers as an option. Audi drive select allows the driver to determine which of up to five profiles these systems use.
Diesel power: the Audi S4 TDI
Both S models of the A4 family – the Audi S4 Sedan TDI and the S4 Avant TDI – are now equipped with a V6 diesel engine as a power package. The 3.0 TDI combines hefty torque, smooth running and a long range and provides a power output of up to 255kW and maximum torque of 700Nm. It accelerates the S4 Sedan TDI from zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h. This combination of power, torque and efficiency makes the Audi S4 TDI unique in the segment.
The electric powered compressor delivers powerful drive-off performance and virtually seamless power buildup when accelerating, eliminating turbo lag, and providing instant responsiveness in all driving situations. The electric powered compressor is integrated into a new 48-volt main electrical system, which also incorporates the mild-hybrid system. This provides even more efficiency potential than the MHEV system in the 12-volt electrical system on the A4 models. In the S4 TDI this is the next expansion stage in which the mild-hybrid technology will be rolled out based on 48 volts. The 12-volt subsidiary electrical system is connected to the 48-volt main electrical system via a powerful DC/DC converter. For the first time a powerful 48-volt belt alternator starter is being used in the S4 TDI as the heart of the mild-hybrid system with a maximum recuperation power of up to 8kW when braking.
A compact, air-cooled lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 0.5kWh, located under the luggage compartment floor, acts as an energy management centre. The mild-hybrid system on the S models has the potential to reduce customer fuel consumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
An eight-speed tiptronic and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive make up the drivetrain. If desired, an optional sport differential is available to actively distribute power between the rear wheels. In this way, more power can be directed specifically to the wheel on the outside of the bend when cornering at speed, which combats the tendency to understeer early on. The S sport suspension is standard. With its S-specific setup it provides a sporty driving sensation and this can be enhanced even further with the optional S sport suspension with damper control. Inside and out, a host of design details point to the unique position of the S models – from the exhaust tailpipes to the S mode in the display of the optional Audi virtual cockpit.
Audi offers the S4 and the S4 Avant with the 3.0 TFSI in markets outside Europe. The turbocharged petrol direct injection engine has an output of 260kW and produces a hefty torque of 500Nm from 1370 to 4500rpm. The V6 accelerates the?S4 Sedan TFSI from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h. The standard sprint takes two tenths of a second longer in the S4 Avant TFSI.
The consummate onroad and offroad experience: the Audi A4
Thanks to its quattro all-wheel drive and ground clearance raised by 35 millimetres the Audi A4 allroad quattro combines superb ride comfort and good offroad qualities. With the optional allroad-specific suspension with damper control, comfort and dynamism can be enhanced further. It differs from the A4 Avant through details such as the underbody protection or the wheel arch trims and also by its 12-millimetre larger wheels and its wider track – six millimetres wider at the front and 11 millimetres wider at the rear.
Automatic transmissions come standard with the Audi A4 allroad quattro and a suspension with damper control provides an alternative to the standard suspension. As on the A4 Avant, the luggage compartment has a capacity of 495 litres –increasing to 1495 litres with the rear seats folded down and cargo loaded to the roof. The rear hatch and the luggage compartment cover are electrically operated as standard. With the additional offroad mode on the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, the driver can choose from six profiles in the A4 allroad quattro.
The new Audi A4 is expected to arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2020. Further details on the model line-up, pricing and specification will be announced closer to launch.