Seeing a new car for the first time in a photographic studio inevitably puts a flattering light on the design and execution.
But the even the ideal illumination of the new Audi A4 does not much exaggerate the car’s superb construction, detail design and build quality.
Audi says it wants its updated design language to reflect the technical content of its vehicles. It is ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ expressed in pressed steel and paint. The skin’s sharp ‘tornado lines’ are almost a public challenge to the pressing and construction abilities of other premium car makers.
But even as Audi’s dynamic performance has improved hugely, consumer trends have moved decisively to Audi’s advantage. Today’s premium buyers are probably more interested in design and quality of execution more than they are in ultimate handling finesse. And the seamless construction of iPhones and other high-end consumer durables have raised the bar for premium automotive manufacturers.
Audi has been well placed to rise to the occasion after more than two decades of building its experience of body design and interior materials and finishes. I’ve heard a rumour that Audi has nine people dedicated to matching shades of black for the interior, ensuring all parts, no matter what they are made of, are finished in the same matt hue.
The A4’s interior is a masterclass in subtle, high-quality design, fine detailing and tight construction. Even the overhead map light binnacle, which is rarely looked at, is beautifully considered and finished with a fine silver trim.
The new A4 is a visual treat that shouts – or perhaps whispers - quality.