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Audi pulls away from the pack with the best A4 yet
McCarthy
McCarthy
McCarthy
McCarthy

Since its local introduction in 1994, Audi SA has delivered 109,382 Audi A4s to the market so they must be doing something right. But they have always been up against tremendous competition in the form of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, among others. With the latest generation of the A4, Audi have raised their game to a new level, pushing it into a realm where people will definitely sit up and take note.

These days it’s tough being a sedan. SUVs and crossovers get all the attention from consumers with money to spend on new wheels. So for a sedan to get attention it really has to be something special. Conversely, this is actually a blessing in disguise for consumers willing to go their own way as it means manufacturers have to work extra hard to impress. The new A4 is certainly impressive. Not only does the latest generation boast 90% new parts but the entire range benefits from 25% more power and 21% less fuel consumption. And for the first time Audi will offer three different spec options: Standard, Sport and Design.

Best in class

The entire design has been tweaked but let’s start with the basics. Executive finesse combined with athletic sportiness is the overall impression. It is long and low (at 4.73 metres long and with a wheelbase of 2.82 metres it is 16mm wider and 25mm longer than its predecessor). It is also significantly lighter – up to 120kgs depending on which engine you opt for – and is now one of the lightest bodies in its class. It also has the best drag coefficient in its class.

This improvement doesn’t happen by chance and two new enhancements give you some idea of the amount of thinking that goes into a premium sedan. The outer lines of the air inlets now integrate additional openings, guiding some of the air stream over the wheel well, where it flows past wheels already aerodynamically optimised. Exterior mirrors positioned on the door sills with small integrated narrow stripes also help enhance the aeroacoustics.

This fine tuning, combined with efficient new engines, means that fuel consumption has been dramatically reduced, even while power has been increased by 25%.  At this level, even the smallest details can make a big difference.

Speaking of details, you’ll likely notice the headlights and tail lights in an aggressive new design. Xenon headlights are offered as standard equipment. You can opt for headlights in LED and Matrix LED technology (including dynamic turn indicators).

Slip inside and the quality is immediately obvious, and there’s plenty of space to enjoy. Shoulder width and head clearance for both driver and passenger have increased by 11 millimetres. There’s also 17 more millimetres in the cabin to allow you to stretch out, as well as an increase of 23 millimetres for rear legroom.

The dash, which seems to float in space, is a masterwork of clean lines and Germanic minimalism. A band of air outlets is arranged over the gently sloping, curved front of the dashboard, punctuated only by the instruments. Compared to its main competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it is masterfully understated. It is also very quiet when you’re on the road, thanks to compound safety glass with acoustic film on the windscreen.

Technological wonders

In fact, in keeping with Audi’s stated slogan – Vorsprung durch Technik - the A4 is flush with technical wonders.  This includes an optional ‘virtual cockpit’ (at a cost of R40,000), which presents all the information you need on a 12.3 inch LED screen in high-res graphics.

Then there’s the MMI control concept, a newly designed feature which is in effect a top-end infotainment system that mimics the user interface of a smartphone. There’s a 8.3 inch monitor to see what’s what with a touchpad in the rotary controller to zoom in and out and enter characters. There’s also a search function and a voice control system, so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel and still get what you want.

If you want, you can even hook it up to the Internet by inserting a SIM card. Your passengers can then surf the Net and send and receive e-mail with their mobiles via a Wi-Fi hotspot while the driver can use neat functions like Google Earth navigation services via Audi connect.

If you like nothing better than enjoying the soothing sounds of the Beatles or Beethoven as you navigate the morning traffic, you will likely want to opt for the Bang & Olufsen Sound System (an extra R12,000) with innovative 3D sound delivered through no less than 19 speakers. Amazing!

Driver assistance

Of course, there is plenty of less obvious technology aiding you to reach your destination safely.  Standard assistance systems include Audi pre-sense city, secondary collision brake assist and the adjustable restraint system. You can also opt for several others, including the City Assistance package, which includes the Parking system plus, reverse camera, Audi side assist, rear-cross traffic assist, Audi pre sense and exit warning systems.

Serious engines

The Audi A4 will initially be available with a choice of two petrol engines, while a diesel and an additional petrol Quattro model will follow shortly after. One of the hallmarks of these new generation engines is their remarkable efficiency. As stated above, fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 21 percent, while simultaneously improving power output by up to 25 percent. That is pretty incredible when you think about it. All engines will be offered in S tronic transmission with the widely unloved multitronic CVT transmission discontinued.

The entry level engine is the 1.4T FSI engine with 110 kW / 250 Nm, available in both manual and S tronic transmission. This plant has a claimed fuel consumption of 4.9l per 100km and a CO2 emissions value of 114 g/km, which means you won’t pay a cent of CO2 tax. The second engine on the ladder is the 2.0T FSI with 140 kW / 320 Nm, available only in S tronic. It has a claimed fuel consumption of 5.4 litres per 100km with corresponding CO2 emissions of 122 g/km.  Finally there’s the flagship 2.0T FSI quattro which boasts 185 kW / 370 Nm.

But wait, there’s more! Towards the end of this year, a 2.0 TDI pushing out 140 kW will be introduced to round out the local line-up. This highly efficient diesel has a combined fuel consumption of just 4.9l per 100km.

As we said earlier, for the first time, Audi South Africa will offer three different trim options for customers to choose from, namely Standard, Sport and Design lines.

This is what you can expect from each:

Audi A4 1.4T FSI manual and S tronic:
•    16-inch alloy wheels
•    Xenon plus headlights
•    Keyless go
•    S tronic gear selector with multi-function three-spoke steering wheel
•    MMI Radio plus with Bluetooth
•    Driver information system
•    Tyre pressure monitoring
•    Partial leather upholstery
•    Cruise control system
•    Rain sensor
•    Automatic AC
•    Front centre armrest
•    Space-saving spare wheel
•    Electrical interface for external use AUX-IN and USB
•    The 2 litre FSI S tronic adds: 17-inch alloy wheels and Audi Drive Select.

Equipment lines: Sport and Design
The Sport line adds the following:
•    17-inch wheels with a 5-spoke Y design
•    Radiator grille in twilight and inlays in chrome
•    Inlays in aluminium ellipse
•    Rear diffusor in twilight
•    High gloss package
•    Sports suspension
•    Front Sports seats
•    Tailpipe trims in chrome

The Design line adds the following:
•    17-inch wheels with a 10-spoke crystal design
•    Radiator grille in dark chrome high gloss and inlays in chrome
•    Diffusor in dark chrome matt with diffusor clip in chrome
•    Inlays in aluminium ellipse
•    High gloss package
•    Tailpipe trims in chrome

Audi have definitely upped their game with the new A4. It is faster, more powerful, handles better on the road and is flush with features. It is quite likely the best A4 ever and consumers will now have a real head-scratcher trying to decide between it and its equally impressive competitors in the form of the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, not to mention dark horses like the Ford Fusion, Lexus IS, Jaguar XE and the all-new Toyota Prius.

PRICES:
•    1.4 T FSI manual: R 441,000    
•    1.4 T FSI S tronic: R 459,000    
•    1.4 T FSI S tronic Sport: R 492,000    
•    1.4 T FSI S tronic Design: R 488,000    
•    2.0 T FSI S tronic: R 496,000    
•    2.0 T FSI S tronic Sport: R517,000    
•    2.0 T FSI S tronic Design: R 513,000
•    2.0 TDI  Base S tronic: R 517,000
•    2.0 TDI S tronic Sport: R 538,000
•    2.0 TDI  S tronic Design: R 534,000    
•    2.0 T FSI quattro S tronic Sport: R616,000

Prices include the standard 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.

To test drive the new Audi A4, contact your nearest Bidvest Audi McCarthy dealer at: http://www.mccarthy-audi.co.za/za_partner/p_mcCarthy_audi/en.html

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