The Audi A4 has been around for 25 years and in that time over 7.5 million examples have been built. Now there's a new version of the company's top-seller, featuring a new look, a raft of updated engines and a tweaked interior design.
The current, fifth generation A4 has clocked up four years of service, but with BMW launching an all-new 3 series and Jaguar revealing a substantial improved XE in recent months, Audi's best-seller was looking a little stale. Step forward this new A4, with the saloon, All-road and Avant estate versions arriving together. Only the bonnet, boot and roof remain from the old car.
The bulk of the updates come at the front end. Larger air intakes are cut into a new bumper, while the grille is now wider and lower than before. It has a different look depending on the trim level, too, with horizontal slats for SE and Sport, vertical chrome slats – to hint at Audi’s SUV models – on the All-road Quattro, and S line and S4 versions getting a honeycomb.
The headlamps are new, too, with LED lights now standard on all trim levels, and clever matrix lights and fancy welcome ‘animations’ available as options. At the back there’s a new bumper and the light clusters mirror the front ones, while the sides feature some metalwork changes.
The high waistline of the previous A4 has been replaced by a more butch-looking design that apes the smaller A1 Sportback’s. “Traditionally there was a simple line that ran from the front to the rear of the car, but for this A4 we decided to do something different,” said Audi exterior designer Marc Chirek.
Inside, the car remains much the same as before, but the infotainment screen is larger and sits more proudly on top of the dash. It’s 10.1 inches in size, crisper and now a touchscreen, but it doesn’t feature haptic feedback like the system on the flagship A8. That makes the old scroll wheel for the infotainment system mounted on the centre console redundant. So a small cubby between the cup-holders and gearlever takes its place. The Virtual Cockpit digital dials also get a facelift, with different designs, while there’s a head-up display, and as before, a number of option packs are available to further upgrade the interior.
Arguably the biggest news is under the bonnet, though, because apart from the 187bhp 2.0-litre and 228bhp 3.0-litre diesel units (badged 40 and 50 TDI respectively), all the engines are now mild hybrids. The two new 2.0-litre diesel motors – a 134bhp 30 TDI and 161bhp 35 TDI – as well as the three 2.0-litre petrol units (148bhp 35 TFSI, 187bhp 40 TFSI and top 242bhp 45 TFSI), are now all fitted with a 12-volt main electrical system for the mild-hybrid and electric compressor set-up.