Video: Audi A4 - 'Lighter, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient than before'
The much awaited fifth generation Audi A4 is here, just in time for what looks set to be a very popular 161 reg.
Despite quite a subtle exterior redesign, it's all new from the inside out with a whole new chassis and 90 per cent new components. It's now lighter, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient than before and offers more room inside the cabin. However, the real stand-out advances lie in the stunning new Q7-inspired interior and the jaw-dropping technology now available.
Performance & Running Costs
There's an exciting range of engines coming to Ireland. The line-up with two petrols in the 1.4 and 2.0 TFSIs with 150 and 190 PS respectively. The volume seller then is likely to be the 2.0 TDI 150 PS model, offering a nice blend of performance and economy with a claimed fuel economy of 70 MPG and €190 tax (this increases to €200 on 19'' wheels). There's also a 2.0 190 PS model available with Audi's superb Quattro four-wheel drive system, and as one of the few brands in the segment still committed to the six-cylinder engine – two spine-tingling 3.0l V6 TDIs available with either 218 or 272 PS.
The 2.0l 150 PS TDI in our test car offered a typically refined Audi drive – plenty of pulling power and a remarkably quiet cabin. The steering feels feather light when it comes to parking and in and around town but very noticeably weights up once you pick up speed and offers a bit more feel this time around. There has been a marked improvement in the comfort of the suspension which now allows you to glide over rougher surfaces so effortlessly that you could very easily think you're in an A6, or even an A8.
What’s in the cabin
The interior mirrors that of the new Q7 and will be a huge advantage over its main competitors, who try as they may, can't seem to reach that perfect blend of luxury and elegance that Audi always seem to manage. The slim floating lines of the brushed chrome dashboard surround the new MMI Interface, which is now equipped with the latest in smartphone connectivity, including Apple's Carplay. It will also be the latest in the range to offer Audi's new Virtual Cockpit, which transfers most of that connectivity to a display behind the steering wheel. It is an optional extra, but an extremely tempting one and can be bought on it's own for which makes most sense when bought with the technology pack. The €2,500 premium for that will also add a wireless phone-charging box, Audi Connect, and 3D Google maps.
Value for money
At €35,800, the entry level price is actually down on the previous model, despite having more equipment on board this time around. There will be three trims on offer – Xenon headlamps, electric lumbar support and keyless go are some of the highlights standard across the entire range. The €1,950 jump to the SE model then adds LEDs, cruise control and twin leather and looks set to be a nice balance between the entry level Attraction and the top of the range S-Line that comes with sports suspension and upgraded styling. Audi predict the typical bill for most buyers here to be around the €41,550 mark for the 2.0l 150 PS TDI in the SE trim.
Safety is another area the A4 will be hard beaten in. As well as scoring the full five stars on the NCAP crash test – there will be no less than 30 driver-assisting features on offer, as new technology allows brands to edge ever closer to autonomous driving. Audi have done their best here to take the hassle out of any driving situations that aren't enjoyable with some seriously impressive features including 'traffic jam assist' which will take over your distance control in heavy congestion and the new 'predictive efficiency assist', which will read the attributes of the road ahead and react accordingly.
The initial price may a substantial investment but is somewhat offset by strong residual values and an excellent build quality, not to mention the timeless badge appeal of those four rings.
Understated as the exterior revamp might be, like all good makeovers, the new A4's improvements come from the inside out. It's not a car that ever needed any helping getting out of showrooms here anyway and the advances made in this latest model should make 2016 (and beyond) no different.