Below the new sheetmetal is where Audi engineers have focused most of their attention. The car’s differential has switched places with the clutch (or torque converter for autos), which has made it possible to move the front axle forward by 154mm. This also allowed engineers to move the location of the engine further behind the front axle, giving the car improved weight distribution, which in turn led to better dynamics. Despite sticking with conventional steel-construction for the body the new A4 tips the scales at just 1,410kg for the 1.8L TFSI model.
The car’s suspension system is totally new and is comprised mostly of light-weight aluminum. Other technical highlights include Audi’s new drive select feature, which can vary response from the engine, gearbox, steering and suspension to suit the driver’s unique preferences. The A4 also gets Audi’s speed-sensitive dynamic steering and fully adjustable damping control of the shock-absorbers.
The new A4 range will initially be introduced with a choice of five engines, their power outputs ranging from 143hp (105kW) to 265hp (195kW). The four-cylinder petrol engine, like the diesels, is turbocharged, and both types of engine have direct fuel injection. Though no DSG gearbox is available as yet, the A4 will still get three different transmission options. These include a conventional six-speed manual, a tiptronic auto and Audi’s multitronic CVT unit.
Until the new S4 and RS4 arrive, power-nuts will have to rely on the 3.2L FSI V6 as the most powerful engine in the A4 range. This motor develops 265hp (195kW) and a wide-spread 330Nm (244ft-lb) of torque all the way from 3,000 to 5,000rpm. It accelerates the A4 3.2 FSI quattro with manual gearbox from a standstill to 100km/h in only 6.2 seconds and allows it to reach an electronically controlled 250km/h top speed. The petrol V6 is joined by the smaller 1.8L TFSI, which develops 160hp (118kW) and a torque of 250Nm (185lb-ft) between 1,500 and 4,500rpm. When equipped with the manual box, the 1.8L A4 accelerates to the ton in 8.6 seconds and maxes out at 225km/h. The new turbocharger is a major improvement on the unit used on the outgoing model. At an engine speed of 2,000rpm the turbo sees the engine output 10% more torque than the older unit and 30% quicker as well.
Diesel fans get treated to three new engines, 240hp (176kW) 3.0L V6 with a peak torque of no less than 500Nm (369lb-ft) arriving from as early as 1,500rpm and hanging around until 3,000rpm. It needs only 6.1 seconds to accelerate to 100km/h from a standing start, and has a top speed of 250km/h. Joining the 3.0L unit is a smaller 2.7L V6 diesel with 190hp (140kW) and 400Nm (295lb-ft) of torque on tap, as well as four-cylinder 2.0L TDI. This engine has the lowest output of the new A4 range, developing just 143hp (105kW) and 320Nm (236lb-ft) of torque. All the diesel offerings outperform the new Euro 5 exhaust emission limits thanks to improved thermodynamics and the latest particulate filters.
Inside, occupants are treated to more generous legroom than the previous model thanks to the new car’s 2808mm wheelbase. Rear seat passengers get an extra 36mm of knee room, while head and shoulder room have also been increased. Seats are fully adjustable, but electronic control remains an option as does the cushion heater. The cabin is highlighted with either aluminum or wood trim, and the sporty S models come with a unique black interior including the roof-lining. The first cars should hit showrooms in Europe by the end of November with the US and other markets penciled in for early next year.