It’s one of the most exciting models this year, and it’s finally here- the highly anticipated Audi A4. The entry level luxury sedan market is highly competitive, and Audi Malaysia has had to make do with a model that was outdated and outgunned and outspecified for a good many years, but this is no longer the case.
There’s plenty to be excited about with this new car, which will be made available in 3 different variants. For now we only have the mid-range Audi A4 2.0 TFSI, with an Audi A4 1.4 TFSI and a high performance Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro to come by January 2017. Audi Malaysia has also said that they will be bringing in the Q2, the all-new A1, and the new A5 in the coming year, along with S and RS variants, and the R8s as well.
The price to pay for this A4 2.0 TFSI is RM 248,900 (on the road, without insurance), but the first 100 units will be on offer for an introductory price of RM 239,900- which is the same retail price as the outgoing model. Warranty terms for the new A4 are 4 years or 120,000 kilometres. You can get the A4 in ten different colours from launch – Glacier White, Floret Silver, Matador Red, Tango Red, Argus Brown, Scuba Blue, Monsoon Grey, Manhattan Grey, Mythos Black, and a special Daytona Grey in pearl effect for vehicles purchased with the optional S line package.
From an engineering perspective, the new car is stronger, lighter, and larger than before. Depending on the specification the car is up to 120 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, which is a pretty respectable amount of weight shed through better manufacturing technology and chassis development (and also makes it lightest in class). Sitting on the venerable MLB-Evo platform (the same that underpins the Q7), it is the fifth generation to wear the A4 badge and the ninth generation of Audi car in this class.
The wheelbase has grown by roughly 12 mm to 2.82 metres, while the overall length has increased by 25 mm to 4.73 metres. It is also 14 mm wider at 1.84 metres wide, and 3 mm taller at 1.43 metres tall. The new A4 looks proportionally longer than the model it replaces, and part of this is also a result of its more aerodynamically driven styling. The new model has a drag coefficient of just 0.23, which Audi claims is best in class.
The local powertrain options for the A4 have historically been limited to either 1.8 TFSI or 2.0 TFSI variants, and this generation mirrors this arrangement in a sense. As mentioned earlier, Audi intend to launch the 1.4 TFSI variant (150 hp, 250 Nm), and the higher performance 2.0 TFSI quattro (252 hp, 370 Nm), but the current variant on offer is powered by a 2.0 TFSI engine in a lower state of tune. It puts out 190 hp and 320 Nm from just 1,450 rpm. It’s paired with a 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch gearbox that delivers power to the front wheels and the whole setup allows the A4 to sprint to 100 in just 7.3 seconds.
On the inside, things have been vastly improved as switchgear from various Audi models launched over the past year or two can finally be integrated in the A4. Free floating screens have become the norm, but in Audi products they are a nice counterpart to the Virtual Cockpit that we’ve fallen in love with. For the 2.0 TFSI variant, the Virtual Cockpit is an optional extra as part of the Technology package, without which the car comes with analogue dials and a 7-inch TFT screen. The controls for the optional Audi MMI system have been refined further with this generation for better heuristics, and the centre console has been simplified for a cleaner look.
When it comes to actual features, the new A4 comes packed with plenty to compete with the 3 Series and the C-Class. While we only see the 2.0 TFSI variant here, Audi Malaysia has been kind enough to provide specifications for all A4 variants ahead of their launch.
At the entry level in the form of the A4 1.4 TFSI (on sale January 2017), the features include:
Moving one step higher to the A4 2.0 TFSI (which is on sale right now), it receives this additional equipment:
At the top of the line in the full-fat A4 2.0 TFSI quattro (on sale January 2017), owners can enjoy the following features on top of those listed from before:
Specific for the A4 2.0 TFSI, there are also two optional packages in the form of an S line package and a Technology package. The S line package includes more aggressive front and rear bumpers, 18-inch alloy rims, illuminated steering wheel controls, and various other sporty trim pieces for RM 25,000. The Technology package will include the Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators for the front, and the MMI system from the 2.0 TFSI quattro along with a rear view camera; pricing for this package is not yet known as it will be made available soon.
This new A4 brings heaps of relevance back for Audi at this end of the luxury car market, and it allows them to compete once again on even footing. Where Audi may lack in outright local brand strength, it’s difficult to fault a product that would tick the right boxes for this demographic. It’s a step away from the aggressive sportiness that came about in the late 2000s, moving more towards a refined elegance in styling, a form that follows function, and packaging that can be appreciated by even the toughest of critics.