The wraps have come off the facelifted version of the Audi A4 at today's Detroit motor show, which will be a key rival to the recently revealed, sixth-generation BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.
The Audi A4 – one of the Ingolstadt marque's strongest sellers – is due to arrive in UK showrooms in March in saloon, Avant, Allroad quattro and S4 forms. The headlining S4 now offers up 0-62mph in just 5.0sec, a limited 155mph top speed along with combined average fuel consumption of 39.3mpg.
The reworked A4 gains a host of detailed styling changes, a revised range of petrol and diesel engines and changes to its interior – all of which are aimed at setting it apart from today’s A4, which has been on sale here since 2008.
Among the visual tweaks is a subtly altered front-end exterior styling which features more curvaceous headlamps assemblies with reworked LED running lamps now appearing as a continuous band and optional Xenon main beam projectors.
Other changes include greater contouring to the bonnet, a new six-corner single-frame grille – which is painted grey on four-cylinder models and black on six-cylinders – as well as a re-profiled bumper carrying trapezoidal shaped fog lamps.
At the rear, there are new tail lamps with altered LED graphics mirroring that of the headlamps up front and a new bumper housing a more prominent valance panel with twin chrome tailpipes.
Inside, Audi has attempted to provide the facelifted A4 with higher perceived quality and greater ease of use. This is achieved through a new selection of steering wheel designs, higher quality dashboard and centre console trim applications, detailed design changes to the switchgear and alterations to the optional MMI (multi media interface) ‘navigation plus’ system, which now features four instead of eight buttons.
On the diesel side, Audi has modified its popular 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail TDI engine with what it describes as ‘a pendulum-type absorber’ in the dual mass flywheel. This has been adopted in some, but not all, variants.
The frugal oilburner now comes in no less than five different states of tune: 118bhp, 134bhp, 141bhp, 161bhp and 175bhp – the most economical of which is the 134bhp version that is claimed to return combined cycle consumption of 67.3mpg for CO2 emissions of just 112g/km. Two 3.0-litre six-cylinder TDI units are also available in 204bhp and 245bhp guises.
The highlight among the new A4’s petrol units is a new 1.8-litre four-cylinder TFSI – as recently brought to the A5 Sportback. With 170bhp –10bhp more than its predecessor – it is claimed to return 50.4mpg and 134g/km of CO2, an improvement of 19 per cent.
The base petrol unit remains an older 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit with 118bhp. It is joined by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine with 211bhp and a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that endows the four-wheel drive S4 with 328bhp.
Among the gearboxes is a six-speed manual that comes as standard on all front-wheel drive models. Options include Audi’s long running continuously variable transmission, the Multitronic as it is known, as well as a seven-speed double clutch unit called the S-tronic – although the latter isn’t available in combination with all engines.
Quattro four-wheel drive is available from the 175bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI engine upwards. In more powerful V6 versions it adopts a sports differential with torque vectoring for added traction.
With a new electro-mechanical steering system now standard across the line-up along with automatic stop/stop, brake energy recuperation, ancillary components that only draw energy when required, the new A4 is claimed to be on average up to 11 per cent more economical than its predecessor.