One can’t deny that an Audi A4 update was long overdue. The trusted old ‘B8’ model was a proper workhorse, but towards the end of its lifecycle, the competition really seemed to have an upper hand in terms of style and refinement. With the A3 filling in the entry-level spot, the A4 needed to dial up the premium quotient quite a bit, in order to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The latest A4 (B9) model still keep things unmistakably Audi. Its new design language is possibly the most fuss-free and Germanic of the big three. The lines are now angular and the overall design texture is smoother, making the car look a lot bigger in profile. It’s very recognisably an A4, with design elements from the A6 thrown in, possibly to further blur the premium/luxury lines. But the changes run deep enough to truly make this an all-new car.
The new A4 30 TSI (not to be mistaken for a 3-litre engine) replaces the old 1.8-litre turbo-petrol with a 1.4-litre unit that’s also found in the Skoda Octavia. Power levels are down by about 20 bhp, but it must be noted that the 150 bhp A4 is 95 kg lighter than the previous one and as a result is only 0.3 seconds slower to reach 100 kph from a standstill. Unlike the previous-generation A4, which had a CVT transmission, this one benefits from a 7-speed, dual clutch, S-Tronic unit, which has repeatedly proven to be one of the best in the business. This also improves the way power is spread out across the power band — it more instantaneous, with no trace of that brief rubber band effect you’d feel when you floored the throttle in the older car.
What we like
Hi-tech minimalism done right; comfort; refinement
What we don’t
Badge nomenclature; lacks excitement
Then there’s the matter of the car’s cabin, which is easily one of its strongest attributes, and quite likely to entice a lot of potential customers. The whole interior space is a blend of sharply-cut, highly sophisticated features, with a few classic luxury touches thrown in. There’s a chunky MMI screen (which looks retractable but isn’t) and there’s a thick veneer of polished wood running across the breadth of the dash. Audi’s virtual cockpit’s here as well, and it’s honestly one of the best pieces of interior tech to be found in a modern car. The MMI system has one of the most easyto- access interfaces, and toggling between SatNav or vehicle settings is very smooth and intuitive.
Where the A4 truly excels is with driver and rider comfort. The suspension setup is naturally towards the softer side, but on altering terrain (which is more or less a constant, if you’re driving in India) it feels wonderfully adaptive. There are a few other visual details which stand out, including door-mounted wing mirrors and pull-up door handles. The collective attention to detail adds up to a fairly handsome package. It finally looks like the A4 can take the fight to its competitors. It’s a suave, practical and intelligent design, which feels a lot lighter and more modern than its predecessor. Its LED headlamps, wide grille, high ride height and world-class interiors give it the edge it needs to tackle the rest of the field.