THE Audi A4 has been in production since late 1994 and has seen various iterations by the German car manufacturer Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
The layout of Audi’s A4 typically consists of a longitudinal engine front-engine design, with a transaxle-type transmission mounted at the rear of the engine.†
Most of the cars are front-wheel drive, or “quattro” all-wheel drive on some models. The Audi A4 has been the company’s bread and butter vehicle for more than a decade. Last September, Audi Malaysia introduced its 9th generation Audi A4, eight years after the 8th generation was introduced.
The newest A4 is Audi’s entry into the competitive compact executive saloon class and it will face off against the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in a battle for dominance of the segment. The company has invested big in this new model, creating one of the most attractive and competitive cars in its class.
We had a chance to test drive the 9th generation A4.
INTRODUCING THE A4
The front wheel drive 2.0 TFSI Audi A4 is powered by a 2.0 litre inline four-cylinder engine with direct injection, exhaust turbocharger and Audi valvelift system that is paired with a 7-speed S-tronic wet dual-clutch transmission. It can produce 190 hp at 4,200 to 6,000 rpm, and 320 Nm of torque at 1,450 to 4,200 rpm.
It is about 4,726mm in length, 1,842 in width, 1,427 in height and most importantly it weighs about 1,405 kg, a 120 kg lighter than the 8th generation A4, due to a mix of materials and lightweight design. It also makes the A4 the lightest vehicle in its class. It has a boot space of 480 litres and a fuel tank of 54 litres.
Audi claims that the A4 2.0 TFSI can sprint from stand still to 100kph in 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 210kph. Yet, for all its power and performance it practically sips petrol, consuming only 4.9 litres per 100km.
The Audi A4 comes with equipped with 17-inch five parallel-spoke design wheels, LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights.
It also has cruise control, a multi media interface radio plus, seven-inch display, a multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, a 10-speaker sound system, auto wiper, Audi drive select and front passenger power seats.†
Its core safety features includes six airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC), Traction Control (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), parking aid plus and ISO Fix.
The Audi A4 is priced at RM248,900 inclusive of the six per cent Goods and Services Tax, but without insurance. It has a four-year or 120,000km warranty, which ever comes first.
We managed to drive the Audi A4 for 380km. Its engine and transmission was smooth and powerful.
The Audi A4’s light steering setting, responds very accurately and sharply. It makes tackling winding corners easy.†
The hard suspension and absorber setting is too stiff for comfort, especially for the rear passengers. However, it overcomes most rough roads well, with only the bigger potholes and sharper bumps being felt.
The design of the new LED headlamps and tail lights when the signal indicator is switched gives the Audi A4 a futuristic and elegant look.
Like the Audi Q7, its dashboard and centre console setting can be tuned by the switches located near the gear lever.
There were no wind and engine noise during low and high speed driving, but its tyre noise was noticeable, especially at high speed. The Audi A4 also has a reasonable head and legroom for both the front and back passengers. Its 480-litre boot capacity was a little disappointing, (we had trouble fitting in a large-sized baby stroller).
But Audi’s MMI radio plus is easy to operate. The 10-speaker sound system produces a sharp and clear treble but stops short of a full solid bass.
We managed to clock about 5.8 to 6.3 litres per 100km cruising on the highway at 110kph. On an average city and highway driving, it recorded 7.9 to 9.4 litres per 100km. After some aggressive acceleration, it consumed 12.2 to 13.4 litres per 100km. It is quite fuel efficient given that it is a 2.0 litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
Other than the stiff absorber settings that bothered passengers sitting at the back, Audi should install with blind spot warning system in the A4 to enhance the safety aspects of the car. It should improve the locking system of the A4, as currently passengers just need to pull the door lever twice to open the door from the inside, even though the driver has central locked the car.