10 September 2004

This is the thoroughly revised and re-modelled Audi A4 range which goes on sale in the UK from November, for delivery from 1 January 2005. Audi says the four year-old car has been extensively re-worked and re-engineered, and features several new engines.

The most obvious changes are to the exterior. Like the rest of the car in the range, the A4 now bears the hallmarks of Audi’s new and more aggressive styling inspired by the Nuvolari coupé concept. Virtually all of the A4’s exterior panels are new, including the door skins and rear wings.

Changes to the interior are less extensive: the cars get a new (magnesium framed) steering wheel, but the classy dash stays much the same and Audi hasn’t taken the opportunity to fit its MMI control system. However, the car is finished off with a range of new alloys and fresh colour and trim packs.

The new range now includes 10 different engines, from a 1.6-litre petrol to the S4’s mighty V8. Four new engines have been added, including the compact 255bhp 3.2-litre V6 FSI unit. Available in front- and four-wheel drive, it can propel the A4 to 62mph in 6.8sec. There’s also the same 200bhp 2.0-litre FSI Turbo engine used by the new Golf GTi. Also of note is the new 206bhp 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbodiesel motor, which can crack 62mph in 7.2secs and is hooked up to the quattro drivetrain.

New A4s will be fitted with the new-generation ML (Manual/Lengthways) five- or six-speed manual gearbox. This gives a better change and allows the engine to be mounted further back in the engine bay. A six-speed Tiptronic selectable auto is optional with four-wheel drive, and the excellent Multitronic CVT transmission is optional on front-drive cars.

Suspension engineers have undertaken ‘extensive works’ on the ‘elastokinematics and spring and damper settings’. At the front, several mounts and track rods have been borrowed from the S4 (see gallery) and the steering tweaked for more feel and feedback. S4 components are also used in the rear suspension. There’s some clever new technology, too; the ESP 8 stability control automatically applies the brakes in the wet to keep the discs dry. Safety has been beefed up, with extruded aluminium beams in the doors and sills as well extra-stiff steel seat frames and stronger B-pillars. Much of this reinforcement is to protect against side impacts from SUVs.

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