2016 Audi A4 30TFSI first drive review

Opening

Over the last few years, the mid-level luxury category, which has long been dominated by the big German 3, has witnessed significant shifts. A new BMW 3 Series arrived first, followed by a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class and, most recently, a British entry in the form of the Jaguar XE. But, throughout this time (about 8 years), the Audi A4, a familiar face to this association, stayed the same, slowly chugging along but becoming very long in the tooth beyond a certain point. It has now unveiled the current edition of the sedan, which appears to be fairly promising on the surface.

It’s based on the same MLB evo platform that supports the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga, but it’s lost a few hundred pounds, gained a slew of new technology, and received an evolutionary design. So, has Audi done enough to resurrect the A4 as a winner? Continue reading to discover out…

Exterior Appearance

It’s difficult to tell that this is a brand-new vehicle at first glance. Everything appears to be familiar, and Audi has capitalised on this strength with the A4. The B8 generation’s curves have been replaced by a more angular and taut design.

To add to the premium feel, the trademark Audi grille has been enlarged and given a chrome surround. The matrix LED headlamps were originally seen on the new A8L, and now they’ve made their way to the new A4. Here we can see how the A4 has grown bigger and sat a little lower. The ORVMs have also been relocated from the sides of the car to the door, adding muscle and giving the car a stronger shoulder line.

When you go to the side, you’ll see the sharpness of a recognisable silhouette. The wheel arches have a gentle flair, and the entire glass portion has a chrome outline. The back is a familiar image, as you get all of the elements, but the lines and wrinkles are sharper than previously. The tail lamps have been upgraded to complete LED ones with integrated indicators, and the badging has been replaced as well.

Audis have never been very attractive, and they are often prime instances of “quiet on the outside, fantastic on the inside.” This is a strength that they have used in the new A4 to make it look unique while still maintaining a recognisable appearance.

Interior appearance

If the exterior of the new A4 is a little drab, the interior is anything but. It is here that Audi has wisely spent the majority of its development money. The layout and materials have been updated, as well as the technology list.

Our car’s inside was fitted out in a blend of white leather and black plastics, although a full black interior is also available. Brown India-specific wood inserts, as well as chrome bezels for all buttons and knobs, complete the look.

Both front seats are electrically adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect driving position. This, combined with the outstanding visibility all around, gives for a really comfortable driving experience. As a result of the increased length and width, there is greater legroom and shoulder room in the back, which is a significant improvement over the previous model.

The front AC vent has been stretched the length of the dash, and the MMI system display has been transformed into a huge freestanding unit. The virtual cockpit, which debuted in India with the Q7 SUV, was the feature that most wowed us. The graphics are excellent, and the movement between screens complements the scientific image that Audi vehicles have built. The new MMI system is slicker and now supports Android Auto/Apple Car Play for the first time.

Driven by Results

The B9 generation Audi A4 will be available with a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine, which is also used in the Skoda Octavia base model. Power is sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, which delivers 150bhp and 250Nm of torque.

This is a much smaller engine than the 1.8-litre one used in the previous car, with less power and torque, but it fits into their strategy to provide a more comfortable driving experience. Furthermore, as compared to the previous model, the new A4 has lost 95 kilogrammes, implying that the engine has less weight to carry.

When you press the starter button, the A4 starts up with the familiar thrum of a four-pot motor. When you get going, you won’t notice the downsizing because the car accelerates quickly and the engine is smooth at low speeds, allowing you to cruise along comfortably. Because of its modest size, the engine struggles when you need to undertake any spirited driving. The gearbox swiftly drops a few cogs and holds on, but there’s a lot of noise and engine strain to contend with. We observed that you can cruise at 110kmph in seventh gear at just 2000rpm in comfort mode if you drive at a leisurely speed with a light right foot.

What Audi sacrificed in engine capacity, it made up for in ride quality and comfort. Our journey from Bhubaneshwar to Puri took us on some fantastic roads as well as some truly awful ones, and the A4 held its own on both thanks to its supple ride quality. It’s a little harder than most, but it soaks up most bumps and blemishes without returning much to the cabin. At three digit speeds, the car is pretty stable, but the vague steering means you can’t do much more than point the wheels.

Conclusion

Continuity is crucial—that is likely the best way to describe the new Audi A4. The German automaker has taken all of the positive aspects of the previous model and enhanced them. It has filled this car with new technology and made the cabin more capacious, both of which should sway new and old buyers in the car’s favour. Sure, the engine is a touch modest, but over 60% of all A4 customers drive the car with a chauffeur, so its new comfort-oriented identity should help it.

The price is the most essential aspect right now. The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, its main competitors, are both priced above Rs 35 lakh, so if Audi can undercut them, it will undoubtedly be a winner.

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