Audi India has had sleepless nights over the last few years due to a significant drop in sales. We remember the times when Audi was doing remarkably well, but due to various reasons, the model line-up took a hit, further causing sales to head south. And since BS6 regulations were about to kick in, Audi decided to shelve diesel engines and introduce BS6-compliant petrol engines on its new cars.
The pandemic having caused chaos in the industry, models were delayed and the previous-generation A4 and Q3 were pulled out of the market. In 2020, Audi launched five models, while you can expect anything close to 10 models this year. Most of these models are bound to be volume-targeted cars and it starts with the new A4.
Facelifted: What’s new?
The Audi A4 has always looked rather understated, right since the first model that came to India in 2008. Every generation of the car since has only gotten better to look at. In its latest avatar, the Audi A4 gets a facelift, giving it a completely new look from up ahead. Audi Cars have said that almost everybody panel is new, plus you get a new engine and added equipment, but we’ll come to that later.
At the front, it sports new LED headlamps that flow in a smoother manner and features an ‘LED lining’ above. We think the new headlamps are now more in sync with the overall design language of the car; the pre-facelift model’s headlamps were a bit too sharp. The trapezoidal grille looks different as well, with smoother edges and increased width. Even the car’s overall width has gone up by 5mm, while the length too, has increased by 24mm.
The wheelbase, however, is the same. The doors are new, as visible and there’s a nice, prominent character line on the lower half of the doors. The rear gets subtle updates in the form of new tail lamps with updated LED inserts. The new A4 definitely looks the part.
Inside The A4
The dashboard consists of some familiar elements, like the AC vents and the flat gear selector. What’s new though, is Audi’s new MMI system; the 10.1-inch touchscreen is slicker to use. There’s no twin-touchscreen setup; instead, it gets a single panel for infotainment, along with buttons and dials that control HVAC.
There’s no rotary controller dial anymore, but we like the combo of the touchscreen and buttons, being very easy to use. Cabin space is untouched, so headroom and legroom are sufficient. The seats are comfy and supportive and what’s always been a USP of Audi Cars, is the build quality. Everything inside looks and feels top-notch, the color theme is nice too and the polished bits and knurled knobs look classy.
Whatever is around, is built to last and this is felt the moment you open and shut the glovebox. Audi A4 gets features like powered front seats, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging, three-zone climate control, auto park assist, ABS and stability control, and 8 airbags.
Packs a Punch
In the past, the A4 has been sold with petrol and diesel motors, both. But the pre-facelift model came with a 1.4-liter, turbo petrol engine. The new car gets only a 2.0-liter TFSI engine, making 187bhp and 320Nm of torque. The A4 puts its power down in a linear and surprisingly quick manner. The engine is a gem, but the gearbox, not so much. It isn’t instant to inputs, but there are paddle-shifters to control the 7-speed DSG transmission.
We’ve driven some other cars with better transmissions, but we particularly like how well-matched the engine and gearbox are. The engine is super-quick and what betters the experience is being behind the wheel. The engine is silent, and if revved, the engine doesn’t sound stressed. This is something its customers are going to appreciate.
The steering feels decently weighted, but in Dynamic mode, it gets a bit heavier. Body roll is pretty much there and the car does get a little unsettled on irregular surfaces. Ride quality, on the whole, is impressive, thanks to the soft suspension setup and the car just gobbles up bumps for breakfast.
The Best One
With Volvo’s new S60, Jaguar’s XE, BMW’s 3-Series, and Merc’s upcoming new C-Class, the A4 have a lot to prove. Now while the rear seat may not be the best in class, it is otherwise a great product. It is comfortable to sit in, rides remarkably well, comes solidly built, and even offers a refined engine, which also provides impressive performance. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.
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