Technology as art
BRIAN BASSETT gets most comfortable with a lot of grunt the new Audi A4 2LiterT FSI S line
THE Audi A4 has been around since 1994 and has a huge reputation for reliability and durability. Perhaps that is why the vehicle at first attracted the attention of older South Africans.
I have two friends who both bought A4’ s some 15 years ago and have now done over 250 000 kms.
Still in daily use, one vehicle travels to Dundee each month to visit the owner’s grandchildren.
To date neither car has given any trouble except for the usual renewal of tyres and batteries nor has either owner considered replacing the car.
In the past decade, with the introduction of the RS ( Renn Sport) and the retention of Audi’s Quattro system, together with a wide range of futuristic technology and high quality industrial design, the A4 now attracts many young buyers, who are impressed by the car’s awesome reputation and Iconic status. Our thanks to Prunella Naidoo, New Car Sales Manager at the Audi Center in Pietermaritzburg for allowing us afew days with the vehicle.
The new A4 is distinctively Audi in design, but has grown to 4,73 meters in length, and is 120 kg lighter than the previous model, depending on the engine.
The greater length provides the design with an elegant and graceful appearance.
In fact, with the rear door open the car appears to be a small limousine.
The design lines are fluid and aerodynamic, yet crisp and ath- letic. The front end, with its standard Xenon headlights, traditional Audi grille and optional Matrix LED technology announces the A4’ s premium sedan status.
The vehicle I drove had fivespoke, 18- inch alloys, which proclaimed that this A4 had grunt as well as good looks.
The A4 has a drag co- efficient of only 0, 23. This low figure is the result of complex fine tuning and new solutions.
The outer lines of the air inlets integrate additional air openings- they guide some of the air stream over the wheel well, where it flows past the wheels, which have also been aerodynamically optimised.
The exterior mirrors, positioned on the door sills with their small, integrated stripes, also aid airflow.
The A4’ s interior is light, spacious, and extremely comfortable. It also exudes quality.
The sports seats in the car I drove are infinitely adjustable, as is the leather- covered steering wheel. All interior finishes are in soft leather and high quality soft- touch plastics. The A4 surpasses its predecessors in providing increased shoulder and head room for the driver and front passenger. In fact it is one of the most comfortable cars I have driven to date.
The rear seat space is also more than adequate and road noise is minimal so passengers can hold conversations with each other at any speed.
The driver and passengers are faced with an abundance of intelligent technologies, perhaps the most enjoyable of which is the optional virtual cockpit with its 12,3- inch screen which displays high- resolution graphics and is a must have with this car.
The MMI concept is new and the controller features prominently in the central console, from which most devices are controlled.
The dash is dominated by an 8,3- inch monitor for, amongst, others the superb optional Bang and Olufsen sound system.
Safety and Handling
The A4 has a Euro NCAP fivestar rating and every safety device known. There is also a wide range of assistance systems.
The ones I found most useful were the rear camera and park assist. Our car had the 2.0T FSI engine with 140 kW and 370 Nm and a claimed fuel index of 5,4l / 100 km.
The car is powerful and stable on both tar and gravel. The steering is direct and responsive and the damper control leads to high comfort levels on bad roads.
The auto gearbox is butter smooth and most of the time the driver is unaware of gear changes, unless of course you use the kick in gear or flappy paddles to pass a long truck.
Pricing and Guarantees
The 2.0T FSI S tronic comes in three trim levels namely Standard, Sport and Design.
Pricing is R496 000, R517 000 and R513 000, all cars come with Audi’s fiveyear/ 100 000 Freeway plan.