Why are we driving the Audi A4 which is almost two years old? With the Indian launch of 2019 BMW 3 series looming in, and the European spec new generation of Audi A4 getting some flack. We figured out a few reasons that still make the A4 a worthy competitor against its German rival.
Let’s talk about the design cues which makes the A4 one of the most aesthetically clean looking luxury sedans. At the front, it’s the eyes of the A4 that catches your attention and as the day passes by it just looks stunning from afar. The Xenon LED headlights’ looks are complemented by the single-frame grille housing the massive Audi logo on it. And finishing off with its rear dynamic turn indicators further elevating its elegant classy appeal. For a luxury sedan, the A4’s exterior length measures to 4.7 metres and a wheelbase of 2.8 metres. The only thing which puts me off in the A4’s exteriors are the wheel’s design, they are far too simple. These 17-inch 5 spoke tornado wheels are wrapped in Pirelli Cinturato P7 225/50 R17 tyre profile that offers good grip on the tarmac. Audi has a super saver spare Tyre in its boot as well.
The A4 comes in two engine options, a mellow 1.4-litre TSi petrol and the one which we are driving, 2.0-litre TDI diesel. Both these engines meet Euro 6 emission standards. Just a thought, Audi shouldn’t have pulled the plug off its 1.8-litre TSI engine. Nevertheless, the 2.0-litre diesel engine is one exceptionally refined motor, packing 190 horses and 400Nm of torque which is mated to a 7-speed S tronic gearbox whose design resembles the throttle controller on a speed boat. Now when you buy an Audi, most likely, you’ll be driven around but if you happen to be one of the rare few, you’ll not be disappointed with what the A4 has to offer in terms of performance and comfort.
Well, when you actually get behind the wheel, there are three drive modes that you can select from which are well tuned for the A4’s handling.
Soft suspension, the gear shifts are in the low Rev range, and the steering wheel becomes light. Mind you, this mode can still very much be performance friendly. Floor it and you’ll feel the power kick in the front tyres.
It very much depends on your throttle inputs and the type of roads that you’re driving on.
You can feel the ride quality drop due to its stiff suspension setup, a slightly heavy steering wheel, and a throaty engine. No fuss in reaching triple-digit speeds.
The fourth one is the ‘Individual’ mode which can be customized as per your liking by tweaking in the gearbox and engine into whatever modes that you prefer. If you want more control of power at your hands then you can make use of the paddle shifters, but it doesn’t allow you to redline the engine, it upshifts as it gets close to 4,500rpm. And automatically downshifts as you brake. You can even choose to shift gears from the shifter. The gearbox is best suited for comfort drives around the city and lacks that fun factor. Even though the A4 is a luxury four-door but it does pack a punch with decent performance figures. It accelerates from 0 to 100 in 7.7 seconds and adds in only a second more with the comfort drive mode switched on along with five people on board and the boot filled with luggage. Performance? Checked.
We conducted a few tests to check well does the A4 fare in the practicality segment.
There’s enough boot space with an average loading lip. If you happen to carry more luggage then you have foldable rear seats to accommodate them all. Apart from that, you get 1-litre bottle holders in all the four doors, magazine pockets on the rear seats and cup holders at the front and on the backseat’s armrest.
The ugliest designed speed breakers, pothole friendly roads, and everything nasty. The A4 does a fine job of keeping the ride comfortable for the driver and the passengers at the rear. The diesel engine is so refined that you can mistake it for a petrol engine, and the NVH levels are well under control.
The A4 charms across the streets of Mumbai with ease as the turning radius is not a problem along with the help of parking sensors at the front and at the rear. Reverse parking camera with adaptive steering lines does help you to manoeuvre in those tight spots.
Audi claims that the 2.0-litre diesel motor is capable of giving a mileage of 18.25kmpl (ARAI), but in real-world testing, we found out that it was giving a healthy mileage of 12kmpl in heavy city traffic. Not bad for a luxury sedan.
It can seat four people comfortably, but for five people it would be a tight affair as there is a hump in the middle.
The real talking point of the A4 is its interiors and the technology involved. Firstly, when you sit inside the car, the fit and finish of the interior quality is top notch. And when you shut the door, the thunk noise will give you a sense of validation that you’re sitting in a well-built sedan. The A4 has 3-zone electronic climate control which has haptic touch switches, giving it a premium feel and the floating air vents line which runs through the whole cabin is amazing. It also has bezel-less auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and outside rearview mirror. Electronically adjustable front seats, two memory sets for the driver’s side, seat belt height adjust, hill start assist, electronic parking brake, electronic sunroof, Isofix mounted child seats, and wireless charging. Apart from that, Audi’s virtual cockpit gives you all the information that you need to know on your car, right from satellite navigation controlling the music. Audi’s MMI has a super easy interface and also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. You can control it with the circular knob and buttons on the centre console. Once you get the hang of it, you can handle it on the go as well. There are a lot of other features that you can browse through which you can customize as per your liking.
The A4’s price tag is on the higher side but if you keep your eye out for discounts, the 2.0-litre TDI A4 cannot be overlooked. Having said that without the discounts, I still feel that the front wheel drive 2018 A4 with the 2.0-litre diesel does look like an exciting proposition and should be able to hold a good fight against its rear wheel drive rivals.
- Engine: 2.0-litre TDI diesel
- Power: 188 BHP
- Torque: 400 NM
- Transmission: 7-speed S tronic
Price: ₹46.96 lakh (ex-showroom)
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