2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The new Audi A4 will start in autumn. On the last acceptance runs, the middle class proved that the brand claim of the VW subsidiary from Ingolstadt is once again effective.
The fact that Ulrich Hackenberg is known in the industry for perfection in detail can be seen from the outside of the new Audi A4. No other vehicle manufacturer can afford a side bead that overflows exactly into the joint in the hood and thus forms a continuous line. "Getting this done so precisely was a technical challenge," says Audi's head of development. The new A4, known internally as the B9, is about to start series production and should go on sale in autumn. Prices start at just under 31,000 euros.
Audi is aiming for top position in the segment
Hackenberg and his development team are currently on what is known as an acceptance test. The testers chose the winding mountain roads in the southern Black Forest. This is where the last mistakes are to be uncovered, the last subtleties smoothed out. Can you still hear background noises somewhere, do all the switches engage as desired, does everything feel perfect? Nothing escapes the engineers. Hackenberg even checks the resistance with which the shutter of the mirror on the sun visor can be pushed aside. If it were too difficult or too easy, it would not be Audi-like. The man is a pedant. Everything has to exude a high level of precision. “It's the overall package that makes a good car,” says Audi's first engineer.
The Ingolstadt-based company’s goal for the new A4 was very clear: We want the top spot in the segment. That means being quieter, lighter, more economical, more comfortable, more modern and more networked than the competition, to which the Mercedes C-Class and the 3-series BMW belong in particular. And recently the Jaguar XE with its all-aluminum body, supposedly the lightest sedan in the class.
Audi A4 like small Audi A8
Hackenberg smiles. “We are lighter.” And takes a seat in the passenger seat of an A4 3.0 TDI. “Please, you can drive!” After just a few kilometers, it becomes clear how much the A4 has changed compared to its predecessor. It steers more precisely, reacts more directly, drives more confidently, remains more neutral in curves, rolls more quietly and springs more sensitively. The interior noise also decreased considerably. You could almost think of sitting in a small A8. Not only because the interior with the noble surfaces is almost as good as it is, but also because the overall comfort reaches a level that will amaze you again and again. Even when it comes to asphalt that is not perfectly flat, the A4 remains smooth and quiet. In any case, this is no longer middle class.
Subjectively, of course, the 272 hp three-liter V6 diesel and the six-speed dual clutch transmission are also involved, a combination that makes the A4 almost a sports sedan. The most interesting novelty when it comes to propulsion, however, is likely to be the two-liter gasoline engine with the Miller-Cycle combustion process used for the first time in a turbo engine. The mixture is so cleverly controlled that the 190 hp four-cylinder became the world's most economical gasoline engine in its performance class. "We arrive at a standard consumption of 4.8 liters and CO2 emissions of just 109 g / km," says Thomas Heiduk, Head of Drive Development.
Small three-cylinder sets the tone in the Audi A4
Not even the small 1.5-liter three-cylinder in the three-BMW can keep up here, nor can the turbo gasoline engine in the Mercedes C-Class. In addition to the unit (EA888) called internally “Triple-Eight”, other components also contribute to the low consumption of the A4. These include lightweight construction, aerodynamics, tires and all friction losses in the drive. An internal measurement from a speed of 130 km / h shows how profoundly the Audi engineers have optimized this in detail. If the driver takes their foot off the accelerator, the new Audi A4 rolls almost half a kilometer further than its predecessor.
The proven 2.0 TDI diesel remains in the range. It is available with 150 or 190 hp. The “Ultra” version, trimmed for economy, should get by with just 3.7 liters per 100 kilometers. A 1.6-liter TDI will be submitted next year. The entry-level petrol engine starts with 1.4 liters and also 150 hp. At the end of 2016, the A4 will also be available with a natural gas drive (g-tron) in conjunction with the Miller cycle engine. The 1.8-liter TFSI will be withdrawn from the range. With e-tron, i.e. the plug-in hybrid drive, the Ingolstadt-based company is still taking its time. "That depends on the legal framework and the demand," says developer Thomas Heiduk, "but we could react quickly because this drive is already in Q7 and will be used in the next Q5."
Audi A4 has grown slightly
The Ingolstadt-based company also wants to take the pole position when it comes to infotainment and connectivity. The A4 can optionally be ordered with the virtual and convertible cockpit (previously TT and Q7). For the first time, Audi is also offering a head-up display in its mid-range model. And for the connection to the outside, everything that is “state of the art” today is available: hotspot, apps, LTE, smartphone connection via iOS and Android, wireless charging of mobile phones and voice control that understands everyday formulations.
The new A4 grew in length by just a few centimeters to 4.73 meters. The wheelbase also increased minimally. Nevertheless, the guests in the rear enjoy more legroom because the interior has been used more skillfully. The developers also found a few liters in the trunk, at least in the Avant. Its volume increases from 490 to 505 liters, which, according to Audi, is “best in class”. The sedan retains its 480 liters. For the first time, the seat backs can be folded down in a 40:20:40 ratio, remotely from the trunk. On the Avant, the tailgate opens and closes automatically. There is a surcharge if you want to open it with a swing of the foot. Audi is showing the A4 publicly for the first time at the IAA in Frankfurt in mid-September. (SP-X)