Little to find fault
AUDI’S new A4 is slick, inside and out, reports NICK DALTON
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
2.0-litre turbo four cylinder 185kW@50006000rpm 370Nm@16004500rpm
Power: Torque: Transmission:
Sevenspeed tiptronic, all-wheel drive
0-100km/ h in 5.8s, top speed 250km/h
6.2 litres/100km (8.8 on test), premium unleaded, 58 litres
CO2 emissions: Warranty:
141g/km Three years, unlimited km, roadside assist
Length 4726mm, width 1842mm, height 1427mm, wheelbase base 2820mm BMW 3 series, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Check with
Audi Centre Cairns, Mulgrave Rd, Cairns, ph: 4046 6322
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.