The A4 diesel’s always been down on power when compared to its German rivals. While the BMW 320d makes 181bhp and the Merc C 250 CDI a whopping 201bhp, the A4 made just 141bhp. Now, however, Audi’s taken steps to rectify this deficiency by launching a more powerful A4.
Powered by the same 1968cc four-cylinder turbodiesel motor, the A4’s engine now makes 174bhp and a higher 38.74kgm of torque. Thanks to the extra horses, the engine is more flexible and a wider powerband means overtaking is much easier. It’s more free-revving too, and does not feel out of breath at the top end of the rev band anymore.
Refinement is very good, performance is ample and this, coupled with the car’s good low speed ride, makes it a fine urban machine. The CVT gearbox works even better with this motor. It responds quickly to the change in position of your right foot at all times and ensures you are in the meat of the powerband. What also helps the A4 is the eight-step CVT that behaves like a regular torque converter transmission. The way it swaps its preset ‘steps’ in Tiptronic mode will make you think there’s a ’box with a full set of gears in here. It’s only when you step on the kick-down switch that you get the rubber-band effect typical of a CVT transmission.
The new car is much quicker than the old car. In the 20-80kph third-gear slog, the updated engine pips the old model by a 0.8sec, while in the 40-100kph run in fourth gear, it’s quicker by more than a second. In flat-out acceleration too the new car is faster – it does the dash to 100kph in 8.84sec, where the old car managed 10.96sec. The gap just gets bigger as you go faster and 160kph in the new car comes up in 23.84seconds – that’s a massive 9sec faster than the old car.
The rest of the car is the same. You get the same high quality cabin of the old car, and it’s spacious too. Front seats are big and accommodating, and the driving position is good. Rear seat, though good on space, are placed a bit low and lacks enough support.
Other than the more powerful motor, the mechanicals are unchanged, which means the suspension and other chassis bits are carried over from the older car. Though it’s dynamically not quite a match to the BMW 3-series, the A4’s ride and handling are quite acceptable, especially if you don’t push it too hard. This apart, the A4 is hard to fault.