Lit­tle to find fault

AUDI’S new A4 is slick, in­side and out, re­ports NICK DAL­TON

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - REVIEW - RE­VIEW VE­HI­CLE COUR­TESY OF AUDI CEN­TRE CAIRNS.

THE Ger­man car maker has taken a con­ser­va­tive route with its out­side styling.

The wow fac­tor is in­side. The in­te­rior is su­perb and the way the satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion is in­cor­po­rated into the dash­board amid the speedo and rev counter, cre­at­ing a vir­tual cock­pit, is brilliant.

If it’s not too your lik­ing then it can pop up above the cen­tre con­sole as nor­mal.

The new A4 is re­fined and classy. It does ev­ery­thing very well.

It sits fourth on the sales lad­der with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class at num­ber 1, BMW 3 Se­ries sec­ond and MercedesBenz CLA in third.

DE­TAIL­ING The A4 range starts at $62,032 for the base 1.4 TSI S tronic Sport on the road. The stan­dard re­view car, a 2.0 TFSI qu­at­tro S tronic sport is $76,884 drive away.

But the Audi ex­ec­u­tive A4 2.0 TFSI qu­at­tro S tronic sport demon­stra­tor had a stag­ger­ing $21,626 of ex­tras which pushed the price to $99,136. In­cred­i­ble.

That is the dan­ger of tick­ing the op­tion boxes on most Ger­man cars.

Re­ally, do you need $520 of colour am­bi­ent light­ing, $2210 ma­trix head­lights, a $2535 glass sun­roof, and stack of ac­tive safety gear such as park­ing as­sis­tance, 360 de­gree cam­era and turn and avoid col­li­sion hitech for $3725?

Ask­ing $1846 for metal­lic paint is a bit rich but I would take the S Line sports pack­age of spe­cial 19-inch five-spoke al­loy wheels, sports sus­pen­sion and steer­ing for $4160 and the vir­tual cock­pit and heads up dis­play ($2730).

The stan­dard car is al­ready well en­dowed, in­clud­ing 19inch al­loy wheels, adap­tive LED head­lights, sat-nav with a 8.3-inch screen, DVD player, 10GB music stor­age, live traf­fic and map up­dates, Audi Smart­phone in­ter­face (Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto), sport front seats in­clud­ing elec­tric driver’s seat with elec­tric lum­bar sup­port for driver and front pas­sen­ger, sport steer­ing wheel with shift pad­dles, leather-ap­pointed seats, three-zone cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing with rear out­lets, dig­i­tal ra­dio, hands-free door func­tion, sport sus­pen­sion and fold­ing ex­te­rior mir­rors.

The shape is not a lot dif­fer­ent un­less you’re an A4 fan, but it is sleeker, more mod­ern with more room in­side.

The boot is big and out­ward vi­sion is good and help­ful for easy park­ing.

The real work is in the cabin, which is a great place to be. The fin­ish is first-class, the au­dio is great and the mul­ti­me­dia pack­age and screen work well.

I love the vir­tual dash­board, which puts all the in­for­ma­tion – up to a full-width sat­nav image – di­rectly in front of the driver.

Thanks to a big suite of pas­sive safety gear, the new A4 is an easy five-star win­ner in ANCAP test­ing.

There are ac­tive cruise con­trol, blind-spot warn­ing and such break­throughs as three types of auto safety brak­ing and an “exit warn­ing” to pre­vent open­ing a door into the path of a ve­hi­cle or a cy­clist.

DRIV­ING The punchy petrol turbo en­gine sings and zings. It is both strong and ef­fi­cient, de­liv­er­ing solid per­for­mance and im­pres­sive econ­omy.

Audi says there are 185kW of power with a com­bi­na­tion of di­rect fuel in­jec­tion and the tur­bocharger.

It claims 6.3L/100km. In a mix of coun­try tour­ing, city com­mut­ing, range roads and tight, twisty ru­ral back roads, I achieved 8.8.

My Sun­day drive took me south to Gor­don­vale and then up the Gil­lies Range, which has 200-plus cor­ners and re­veals the ex­cel­lent all-wheel-drive grip of the qu­at­tro sys­tem.

I was able to string to­gether cor­ners in a fun and safe way. The all-wheel drive made mock­ery of the tight cor­ners.

But a 25km/h Mit­subishi Pa­jero tow­ing a horse float from the look­out to the start of the Gil­lies at the Yungaburra end soon put a stop to that.

Once free of the slow coach, the Audi was about to zip along be­fore we came up be­hind the Chain Re­ac­tion cor­po­rate cy­cling pelo­ton which we had to fol­low be­hind a po­lice es­cort and a painfully slow first gear crawl for 12km.

A de­tour via Peer­a­mon proved the worth of the qu­at­tro sys­tem as well as Kid­ner Rd at Eve­lyn and then Sluice Creek Road be­hind Mil­laa Mil­laa.

In reg­u­lar com­fort mode, the dy­namic dampers soak up ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties with aplomb, con­vey­ing bumps neatly through the chas­sis.

The steer­ing firms and takes on an ex­tra bite when things are wound up to dy­namic mode, while the perky en­gine is quick off the mark and great for over­tak­ing.

The seven-speed dual clutch trans­mis­sion grabs and hes­i­tates from a stand­still but smooths out once un­der way.

The A4 is well bal­anced and the sus­pen­sion pack­age – with 19-inch al­loys and sports tun­ing in this car – com­bines good grip with solid feel through the steer­ing.

It’s no S4 or RS4 but good enough for the job.

It will zip to 100km/h in only 5.8 sec­onds, which is good for the class. away

En­gine:

2.0-litre turbo four cylin­der 185kW@50006000rpm 370Nm@16004500rpm

Power: Torque: Trans­mis­sion:

Sev­en­speed tip­tronic, all-wheel drive

Per­for­mance:

0-100km/ h in 5.8s, top speed 250km/h

Fuel con­sump­tion:

6.2 litres/100km (8.8 on test), pre­mium un­leaded, 58 litres

CO2 emis­sions: War­ranty:

141g/km Three years, un­lim­ited km, road­side as­sist

Di­men­sions:

Length 4726mm, width 1842mm, height 1427mm, wheel­base base 2820mm BMW 3 se­ries, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Check with

Ri­vals: Avail­abil­ity:

dealer

Dealer:

Audi Cen­tre Cairns, Mul­grave Rd, Cairns, ph: 4046 6322

Web­site: www.

au­di­cen­tre­cairns.co m.au

DE­CID­ING The new A4 is a pleas­ant drive. It is safe and se­cure, well built and clever too.

In­side and out it is well de­signed and styled.

There is solid per­for­mance, good econ­omy and a com­fort­able cabin in its favour.

The DSG gear­box has its draw­backs, the op­tions are ex­pen­sive and there is only a space-saver spare.

There is lit­tle to fault and much to like.

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