Review Audi A4August 26, 2019
A pocket smartphone can do more than the car’s most expensive media system, and this fact is very surprising in the era of universal digitalization. The automotive industry seems increasingly conservative and heavy, because the reaction to market changes, the speed of decision-making and the update cycle of models do not always keep pace with the frantic pace of technological and economic development.
Just a few days before the test drive of the new A4, I spoke with the engineers of one technology startup that offers various solutions in the field of multimedia systems and autonomous control. All these guys unanimously claimed that automakers were prohibitively slow.
The fact that digitalization is very aggressive, young engineers and electronics engineers, of course, is right. The nuance is that redrawing the iron is not as easy as writing new software, and making the car ride well is even more difficult. But, being behind the wheel of the just modernized Audi A4, I now and then found confirmation of the thesis about the slowness of progress in the automotive industry.
The Audi interior looks already slightly outdated, although the model has been produced for no more than three years. There is still a push-button climate control unit, which has already been replaced by a touch on the older A6 and A8 sedans. And temperature displays on the adjusting handwheels generally seem like atavism. Although, to be completely honest, a couple of years ago I was absolutely delighted with them. Yes, the “twisters” are convenient, but technology very quickly changed our benchmarks.
However, Audi still tried to modernize the A4 interior a bit by integrating a new media system into the car. However, a 10.1-inch touchscreen protruding above a low front panel looks somewhat alien – it seems as if someone just forgot to remove their tablet from the holder. From an ergonomic point of view, it is also not very convenient. It is simply impossible for a short driver to reach the display without tearing the shoulder blades from the back of the seat. Although the screen itself is good: excellent graphics, a logical menu, clear icons and instant reactions of virtual keys.
The new media system added one more pleasant trifle to the interior. Since all control is now entrusted to the screen, instead of the obsolete washer of the MMI system, an additional box for small things appeared on the central tunnel. And the updated A4 got a digital dashboard with a very interesting design. But this is hardly surprising today.
Surprise lay elsewhere. “There will be no more junior 1.4 TFSI unit,” the chief mechanic of the new A4 said at a press conference. From now on, the initial engines for the sedan are gasoline and diesel “fours” with a volume of 2 liters with a capacity of 150, 136 and 163 liters. pp., which received the designation 35 TFSI, 30 TDI and 35 TDI, respectively. Up a notch are versions 45 TFSI and 40TDI with a capacity of 249 and 190 horsepower.
In this case, now all versions of A4 have the so-called microhybrid installations. An additional circuit with a 12- or 48-volt circuit (depending on version) is integrated into the on-board electrical system of all modifications, as well as a rechargeable battery of increased capacity, which is recharged during braking. It feeds most electrical systems in the car and reduces the load on the engine. Accordingly, fuel consumption is also reduced.
Having tested the initial two-liter versions, I did not feel any fundamental differences from the previous version with the same engines. The additional power network did not affect the behavior of the car. Acceleration is smooth and linear, and the chassis, as before, seems refined to the limit. Comfort and handling remained at the proper level, and differences in the behavior of different versions depend on the type of suspension.
What really warmed up was the Audi S4 version. This is not a typo, there are now really two of them. A diesel version with a three-liter “six”, which has as many as three turbines, including one electric, was added to the gasoline version. Return – 347 l. with. and as much as 700 N · m, which allows you to count on a very thorough traction.
Such a car rides not just recklessly and incendiaryly, but in a boldly sporting way. Thanks to the triple boost, the engine does not have any draft failures over the entire operating speed range. I don’t want banal phrases, but the diesel S4 really picks up speed as a business jet: smoothly, smoothly and extremely quickly. And in turns, it keeps no worse than its gasoline counterpart, unless adjusted for the barely noticeable stiffness of the suspension.
The intrigue is that in Europe the Audi S4 will now be offered only on heavy fuel without any relaxation on the topic of dieselgate. A gasoline modification will be available only in large markets such as China, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, where diesel engines are generally not in use. It would be superfluous to say that it is also good, but in a direct comparison, the gasoline S4 seems a little more groovy and a little less convenient.
If technical changes do not seem fundamental, then it’s time to pay attention to appearance. And this is the very moment when the updated car can be sincerely confused with the new one. Given that each new generation of Audi models is not too different from the previous one, the current restyling in general could be timed to coincide with a change of generations. Almost half of the body panels were redesigned, the car received new front and rear bumpers, wings with a different embossing and doors with a lower waist line.
The perception of the machine changes and the new false radiator grille. Moreover, its design, depending on the modification, has three different versions. For machines in the standard version, the cladding has horizontal bars; for the S-line and fast S4 versions, the honeycomb lattice. The all-terrain Allroad appears chrome vertical gills in the manner of all the fresh Audi Q-line crossovers. And here there are completely new headlights – fully LED or matrix.
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