Friday, April 11, 2008

Fresh-faced A4

First official pictures of the new Audi A4 ahead of the Frankfurt show

The secret is out! These are the first official images of Audi’s new A4, which will make its world debut in two weeks’ time at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

It follows hot on the heels of the A5, and Audi pro­mises the newcomer is bigger, better and faster than its pre­decessor, as well as more stylish.

The German firm has also committed to keeping costs down, so while prices have yet to be revealed, entry-level cars should weigh in at less than £20,000 when the order books open in the second week of September. Equally impressive is the technical detail Audi has released ahead of the model’s unveiling, which should have Mercedes and BMW worried.

This is no simple facelift – the A4 has a new chassis to go with its fresh look. There are four revised trim levels, and five new engines. The fact that the newcomer rep-resents a radical departure is clear­est at the front, where a short overhang is emphasised by a longer bonnet and extended wheelbase.

Fresh headlamps, inspired by those on the A5, include LED daytime running lights, as well as optional xenon units for night driving. The rear tapers strongly inwards, while the exhaust pipes are straight, even on diesel-engined variants like the silver car in our pictures (below). Inside, the cabin borrows heavily from the A5, too, and can be specified with options such as Audi’s Drive Select, which enables owners to fine-tune steering, suspension and throttle response to their taste.

Thanks to the extensive use of new hi-tech steel, as well as aluminium, the A4’s bodyshell is even stronger than the previous model’s, yet weighs significantly less. Its sleek shape has a low drag coefficient of only 0.27Cd. This helps to improve economy and high-speed refinement.

Under the skin, the front axle has been moved forward by 154mm – that should mean improved steering res­ponse and agility. The suspension is completely new as well, and features a variety of components made from weight-saving aluminium.

From launch, buyers will be able to choose between five powerful new petrol and diesel engines, all of which use direct fuel injection. The entry-level A4 gets a 160bhp 1.8-litre TFSI petrol unit or a 143bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel.

Flagship models come with a 3.2-litre V6 FSI petrol or a new 3.0-litre TDI. The latter has 240bhp and 500Nm of torque, and covers 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds – that’s a tenth of a second faster than the 255bhp petrol V6! The other engine in the line-up is a reworked 2.7-litre diesel with 190bhp. This shares much of its design with the 3.0-litre unit, but provides greater efficiency and less outright speed.

Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive is available on all cars, although it will be optional on 1.8, 2.0 and 2.7-litre variants. To complement this, drivers will be offered three gearbox options: a six-speed manual, a multitronic CVT and a new tiptronic automatic.

A host of innovations promise to help the Audi cover long-distance journeys with ease. These include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and an enhanced driver information system. It all adds up to a package sure to have compact executive rivals worried when the A4 hits the UK later this year.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Avant Audi A4 2009

Avant Audi A4 2009

Ibiza, the notorious party island off the coast of Spain, isn't exactly the first location that comes to mind for the drive of a new station wagon - it's more the kind of place where you step off the plane and they hand you a packet of crystal meth and a glow stick. But even without those, we managed to enjoy our time behind the wheel of the new Audi A4 Avant. Ibiza's narrow, winding roads were largely empty - we guessed it was because debauchery season hadn't yet begun, but evidently the island's inhabitants were just inside with curtains drawn, sleeping off their hangovers.

That meant fewer puttering, diesel Seats to zoom around, a task of which the Avant's 3.2-liter V-6 made quick work. So, too, did the spunky new 2.0T - which is unrelated to the outgoing car's eponymous turbo four and which proffers an additional 11 hp and 51 lb-ft of torque. That engine was paired with a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive in the second car we sampled.

Avant Audi A4 2009

Unfortunately, neither of those powertrain combinations will be seen stateside, where the market for compact, luxury-brand wagons is small. (Mercedes-Benz no longer sells its C-class wagon in the States, although you can still get a BMW 3-series wagon.) So, Audi is trimming the A4 Avant lineup, and we'll get the new wagon with only one powertrain: 2.0T, Quattro, automatic - a combination that was not hand on our sunny Spanish island.

Still, we did learn a few things about the fifth generation of the A4, which is the most changed since the model made its debut in the mid-1990s. The car uses Audi's reconfigured transmission and torque converter (or, in stick-shift cars, transmission and clutch), first seen in the A5/S5. It allows the engine to move rearward in the chassis, meaning more of the powertrain's weight rides within the wheelbase and less hangs out ahead of the front axle. This is also the first A4 with a 60-percent rear-biased Quattro system. Together these changes help the car feel more balanced and less nose-heavy than before, although you still won't mistake it for a rear-wheel-drive car. Another new feature is Audi's Drive Select, which allows the driver to choose among sport, comfort, or automatic settings for the steering effort and quickness (the latter thanks to an actively variable ratio), throttle and automatic transmission mapping, and damper firmness.

Avant Audi A4 2009

The system ends up being a mixed bag: We liked the flatter cornering and slightly higher steering effort afforded by the sport mode, but compared with the standard steering, the active steering is less predictable and too twitchy and nervous in low-speed corners. Other new technologies include a blind spot warning system, intelligent cruise control, a rear-view camera, and a power tailgate. The new A4 is nearly five inches longer and is wider as well, which yields fractionally more interior space - six-footers can sit in back, although there's not much room to spare. The dramatically sloping roofline is bad news for anyone who wants to carry bulky items; apparently they're expected to switch over to the new Q5. The A4's interior is a close kin to the A6's, which is good company indeed.

Avant Audi A4 2009

Despite the behavior of some members of the U.S. press contingent in Ibiza - one of whom deposited some regurgitated Jack Daniels on the tarmac before boarding our early-morning flight out - Americans evidently are considered rather staid where the new A4 Avant is concerned. Sure, we can groove to its curvy new shape and its general wagon hipness, but we're not racy enough to get the manual transmission or the most powerful engine. And if you're holding out hope for the new S4 Avant or the RS4, sorry to disappoint you, but word is that those party wagons are unlikely ever to touch down in America.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Audi A4 photos

Audi A4 photos
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The 2009 Audi A4 Avant is a blast to drive and offers significant changes in its fifth generation. Better weight distribution and a rear-biased Quattro system are high on the list of changes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New A4 2009

New A4 2009

Thanks to Quattro and those wide eighteen-inch tires, traction and grip are phenomenal. Body roll is rarely an issue, nor are pitch and yaw. The handling balance feels a lot more neutral than in the outgoing model, which was nose-heavy and a little stodgy by comparison. Turn-in is brisk, but the A4 no longer tends to overshoot the limit of adhesion, leaving you to struggle with ever-changing front-tire slip angles. Instead, improved weight distribution and a redesigned front axle support a pleasantly unbiased cornering attitude that is clean and quick yet nicely communicative. Unfortunately, it takes the freedom of a test track to distill the special talents of the new steering system. On the road, all you notice is near-total composure and very little electronic interference. Instead of merely modulating understeer, the throttle now plays a bigger part in the action, which is generally more transparent and more three-dimensional.

New A4 2009

The new A4 is a coherent car to drive, neither excessively sharp nor unduly relaxed. We need to put in a few more miles and sample a greater engine-and-chassis variety to form a definitive verdict, but if those two days on the Costa Smeralda were anything to go by, the new A4 has accomplished its mission. It's a passionately pragmatic and stylish choice for those clients who find the 3-series too cramped and boisterous and the C-class too conservative in appearance and ability.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2009 Audi A4

2009 Audi A4

Depending on vehicle speed and Drive Select orders, the dynamic steering varies its ratio by up to 100 percent. In town, it's light and direct but not quite as extreme as its lightning-fast counterpart from Munich. Through switchbacks, it feels meatier but still doesn't require a change of grip on the steering wheel. On the highway, it's relaxed, thanks to a languid four turns lock-to-lock. What makes this system special is the dialogue between the steering and the stability control. Lift-off oversteer, for instance, is automatically corrected by a small dose of momentary opposite lock. Understeer is mellowed by a brief modulation of steering angle that reinstates grip--and confidence. In most situations, supplementary brake and throttle intervention isn't even necessary.

The chassis DNA of the new A4 follows that established for the A5. The redesigned multilink front suspension makes room for a more precise steering rack, which is mounted low and close to the wheels. By having the clutch and the differential (or the torque converter and the differential, in cars equipped with an automatic transmission) swap positions, there was a gain of a precious six inches in length, which was devoted to pedestrian protection, crash performance, and wheelbase extension.

2009 Audi A4

The four-link independent rear suspension was largely derived from components fitted to the A6 and the A8. Front and rear subframes ensure optimum rigidity and precision. Quattro all-wheel drive splits the torque between the axles unevenly at 40/60 percent front to rear, but if need be, up to 90 percent can be directed to the front wheels. Even power oversteer is no longer a foreign concept, thanks to a revised center differential that can also dispatch 90 percent of momentum to the rear wheels. Switch off ASR (traction control) but keep ESP (stability control) on duty for the best mix of slides, smiles, and safety.

The new V-6 consumes ten percent less fuel than the outgoing version, and it clips 0.5 second off the 0-to-62-mph acceleration time (which is now 6.2 seconds, according to Audi). High-tech innovations include a dual-stage intake valve-lift system, a substantial reduction of frictional losses, and a lightweight, low-noise chain drive. The diesels boast common-rail injection for reduced noise and AdBlue (similar to Mercedes-Benz's Bluetec) cleansing for reduced emissions. The 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 240 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque is heralded by Audi "as the cleanest diesel in the world," since it even meets tough California emissions standards. Also in the works are two extra-frugal A4 TDI/TFSI models featuring aerodynamic modifications, a longer-legged transmission, and special low-rolling-resistance tires, but don't look for these models to come to the States.

2009 Audi A4

We drove the new A4 on the Italian island of Sardinia, which is famous for its beaches and mega-expensive resorts but sadly not for the quality of its second-gear back roads. On predominantly washboard tarmac, the difference in ride between the comfort and the dynamic settings was as stark as the difference in visibility between a lunar eclipse and a power failure in a coal mine. The standard sixteen-inch wheels might have been a little more spine-friendly, but for maximum cushiness you definitely don't want to specify the lowered and tightened sport suspension fitted to our test car. At least our A4's continuous damper control offers a wider range of damping settings than the TT's magnetic ride control.

2009 Audi A4

The biggest single surprise was the new dynamic steering, which works much better than the black-and-white active steering offered by BMW. Audi chose a totally homogenous calibration, and it's neither too quick in town nor too heavy and slow on the autostrada. More to the point, the transition between two-finger easy and two-hands firm is progressive and unobtrusive.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A4-midable Competitor

A4-midable Competitor

The gentleman's agreement separating the three German marques' entry-luxury lines has all but come undone. BMW used to be a synonym for sportiness, Mercedes-Benz ranked comfort above all other values, and Audi was known for special engineering attributes such as Quattro all-wheel drive. Not so anymore. As the 2008 model year dawns, all three German premium brands want to be everybody's darling. We have yet to conduct the ultimate three-car showdown starring the BMW 335i, the Mercedes-Benz C350, and the new Audi A4 3.2 FSI, but subjectively at least, that battle looks as if it could be a dead heat. Depending on engine, transmission, number of driven wheels, and detail specification, the outcome could easily swing in any of the three directions.

The new A4 sedan will go on sale in the United States in September 2008, followed by the A4 Avant wagon. The final verdict is still out on the other two body styles that will be offered in Europe, the A4 Allroad and the A4 Sportback, but if Audi wants to double its U.S. sales-and Volkswagen/ Audi's new North American supremo, Stefan Jacoby, recently expressed just such a goal--then it can't be stingy in sending over additional body styles.

A4-midable Competitor

Although the A4's base engine is again a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the211-hp TFSI unit has nothing in common with the outgoing car's heavier and thirstier 200-hp edition. The engine is paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic in Quattro models; the front-wheel-drive cars will be available with the continuously variable Multitronic transmission. The most potent engine at launch will be a 3.2-liter FSI V-6 that delivers 265 hp and is mated to a six-speed automatic. In 2009, the next S4 will abandon V-8 power in favor of a more frugal and lighter twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 333 hp and matched with Audi's dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 240-hp, 3.0-liter TDI V-6 is also due to go on sale here in early 2011.

Significantly longer and wider than the 3-series and the C-class, the A4 also provides a more expansive stretch between the axles, with a 110.6-inch wheelbase versus 108.7 inches for its closest competitors. This translates into a roomy interior, to which Audi adds a generous trunk. The cockpit of the new A4 is definitely more high-end than middle-class, and we're not just talking about materials and finish. There's also more space for long legs, broad shoulders, and tall heads than before, and the overall layout--with the navigation monitor mounted high--is much more practical. But these are fringe factors compared with truly decisive qualities such as ride, handling, and roadholding. In these disciplines, the A5 has delivered a promise that the A4 must keep. And it does, although with some variation in style, substance, and sharpness.

A4-midable Competitor

The 3.2 FSI Quattro automatic is the priciest, most potent, and most sophisticated version of the new model range at launch--especially when it is fitted, as was our test car, with high-tech options such as Drive Select, dynamic steering, switchable dampers, lane assist (departure warning), side assist (rearview blind spot detection), adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights (swiveling xenons), and eighteen-inch wheels shod with 245/40YR-18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

Drive Select is a kind of personal onboard tuning service that allows the driver to dial in personal preferences by changing the calibration of the steering, chassis, throttle response, and automatic transmission. In addition to the three basic modes--comfort, auto, and dynamic--it's possible to mix and match individual parameters via the optional MMI system, for example quick steering plus soft dampers plus normal throttle action. For cost reasons, Audi opted for adaptive conventional dampers and not for magnetic ride management, as in the TT.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New Audi A4

Related comments:

I live in HK, i got 2005 audi a4 2.0 t fsi, 2006 bmw 325 i and audi Q7 this is my opinion
the audi engine is so powerful for 2.0 engine also the fuel consumption is very great !! you can prove it ur self..compared to bmw 2.5 ltr engine the acceleration is almost same. one thing just annoyed me the suspension is to stiff

it seems they tried to make a substitute to the legendary Halo/Angle eyes from adding little LED's isn't cutting it while the rest of the cars is boring. not to say i wouldn't take a RS4