AUdi A4 Review & First Drive

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Audi A4 Overview

It may not immediately look it but this is the all-new Audi A4 that’s headed to India this August. It’s a model that will take on everything, from traditional German rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-class and BMW 3-series to cars like the new Jaguar XE and Volvo S60. At first glance, you would think Audi has its work cut out because unlike the fresh and more athletic looking all-new Q7, which has a completely different personality to its gargantuan predecessor, the new A4 doesn’t stray from the script, wearing the same understated and conservative look as before. But whilst it may not look fresh and exciting, you can’t help but be impressed with the A4’s superb proportions and clean, well-sculpted body with lots of interesting details in true Audi tradition. Request a test drive for Audi A4 in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive

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Audi A4 Exterior & Style

At first glance it is hard to tell that this is a completely new car. Everything looks so familiar and it is this strength that Audi has played on when it comes to the A4. Gone are the curves of the B8 generation and in has come a sharper and taut design.The signature Audi grille has become larger and gets a chrome surround to add to the premium factor. We first saw the matrix LED headlamps on the new A8L and now they have made their way to this new A4. It is here that we can see that the A4 has become wider and sits a bit lower. Also the ORVMs have moved from the sides of the car to the door which adds some muscle and gives it a stronger shoulder line.

Move over to the side and you can see sharpness to a familiar silhouette. There is a soft flare to the wheel arches while the entire glass section has got a chrome outline. It’s a familiar sight at the rear as you get all the elements but with the lines and creases looking sharper than before. The tail lamps are full LED units and have integrated indicators while the badging has been updated.Audis have never been great lookers and are usually prime examples of silent on the outside but fantastic on the inside. It is this strength that they have played on in the new A4 to make it look different but also retaining a familiar face.

Audi A4 Interior & Space

You can’t get a better cabin in this class if it’s sheer quality you’re after. The Mercedes C-class cabin design may still have a bit more drama, but for sheer craftsmanship, the Audi A4 takes it to another level.The flat-bottomed steering (optional) and chunky gear lever that is standard on the S-Line trim are exquisitely finished with perforated leather, and since these are the two controls you always touch, they serve as a constant reminder of the premium materials Audi has used throughout the cabin.There are no shiny plastics, but instead soft-touch materials everywhere and all the knobs and buttons rotate or click with a nice heft. The knurled air-con knobs with the temperature control display neatly integrated in the centre (now standard on every new-gen Audi since the TT) is brilliantly detailed. Even something mundane like the cigarette-lighter socket cover has a knurled finish!

The big highlight is Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit that’s making its way to the Indian car. The Virtual Cockpit replaces the conventional instrument cluster with a massive high-definition screen which can be configured to display the navigation map, infotainment and car information, apart from the speedometer and tachometer. Also, with the navigation moved to the virtual cockpit, the regular 7.0-inch dash-mounted screen is freed up to display other information. Also, the display is now a touchscreen and designed to operate like a smartphone with functions like pinch to zoom in and swipe to scroll the navigation map. There’s Audi’s own MMI interface, which now has the knob rotating the right way, but for those not familiar with Audi’s proprietary interface, the A4 also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which essentially replicate your smartphone functions and menus onto the dash-mounted display. This option to operate the infotainment system may be the most familiar, but I preferred using the traditional twirl-and-click functions of the MMI – it’s far less distracting than pressing an icon on a screen, especially on a bumpy road.The interior’s functional design could have been more imaginative, but like the exterior, it’s low-key and exudes quality. The dashboard has lots of horizontal elements like full-width decorative strips and air-con vents, which accentuate the width of the cabin. There’s decent storage space as well, but what really stands out at night is the classy, cool, white lighting on our test car.

Audi A4 Engine & Gearbox

Audi will first field the B9 generation Audi A4 with a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine, the same unit powering the Skoda Octavia base variant. It produces 150bhp and 250Nm of torque with power going to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.This is a much smaller engine compared to the 1.8-litre unit that the previous car used and is down on power/torque too but fits in with their plan to offer a more comfort oriented driving experience. Also, this new A4 has shed 95kgs as compared to the older car which means this engine has less weight to lug around.

Thumb the starter button and the A4 comes on with the typical thrum of a four-pot motor. When you get moving, it is hard to notice the downsizing as the car gets off the line easily and at sub three digit speeds the engine is quite smooth letting you glide along comfortably. It is when you need to do some spirited driving that the engine begins to struggle due to its small size. The gearbox quickly drops a few cogs and holds on but you are greeted by a whole lot of noise and quite a bit of engine strain. An unhurried pace with a light right foot is perhaps the best approach to this engine as we discovered that you are able to cruise at 110kmph at just 2000rpm in seventh gear in comfort mode.What Audi may have taken away in engine capacity, it has given back in ride quality and comfort. Our drive from Bhubaneshwar to Puri took us on some amazing roads as well as some really horrible ones and on both; the A4 was able to hold its own thanks to the supple ride quality. It is a bit on the firmer side but absorbs most bumps and imperfections without sending much back to the cabin. The car is quite stable at three-digit speeds but a vague steering means you are not doing much more than pointing the wheels.

Audi A4 Ride & Handling

The A4’s dynamic character hasn’t changed in the sense that providing an easy driving experience is still a clear priority over driver involvement. However, that’s not to say ride and handling hasn’t taken a big leap forward. It has, to make the A4 a far more relaxed car to drive than before, especially on the highway where the excellent straight-line stability gives you immense confidence to hold high speeds all day long. Ride comfort too is simply superb thanks to a supple suspension which manages to nicely round-off the rare sharp edges we found on UK roads, even with the larger 17-inch rims. The India-spec car is likely to get 16-inch wheels with taller tyres to expect an extra layer of cushioning which is useful on our roads. Adding to the sense of calm is the silent way in which the suspension works, muffling out bumps and expansions joints.

What comes as a pleasant surprise is the A4’s steering, which is now quicker and more responsive than anything we’ve experienced in an Audi sedan. There’s a lot more front-end bite and the A4 is more eager to turn into corners. However, when you push hard, you’ll find the steering is ultimately lacking in feel and the nose-heavy, under-steery setup does take away some of the fun factor. Ultimately, it doesn’t engage the driver like a 3-series, which has the advantage of rear-wheel-drive adjustability that true enthusiasts love. So, on a road where the 3-series or Jag XE will have you grinning from ear-to-ear, the A4, at best, will put a smile on your face.

Audi A4 Braking & Safety

The Audi A4 features disc brakes with calipers and anti-lock braking system, and electronic stability control program for effective braking and controlling. The Audi A4 specifications for safety include front airbags for the driver and co-passenger, head airbags, and side airbags for the rear seat occupants. The additional safety features include a reversing camera, and parking aid at the front and rear for safe parking of the car.

Audi A4 Cost in Chennai

Audi A4 Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 38,38,809/- (A4 30 TFSI Premium Plus) to 42,64,439/- (A4 35 TDI Technology). Get best offers for Audi A4 from Audi Dealers in Chennai. Check for Audi A4 price in Chennai at Carzprice

Audi A4 Conclusion

No doubt, the A4 could have done with a more imaginative design and a bit more personality, but Audi has instead developed a car that widens the appeal to its core audience. It’s superbly built, inside and out, and comes with more class and sophistication. Looking at the way Audi has aggressively priced its new launches, you can expect the base A4 to be priced competitively under Rs 40 lakh when it goes on sale this August. Audi finally has the firepower to win the luxury compact sedan war.

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