Audi has given the A4 a major mid-life update in an attempt to keep pace with rivals such as the new BMW 3 Series. Changes include a revamped design and the addition of mild-hybrid powertrains to the range.
The compact executive saloon has received an exterior and interior revamp to bring it in line with Audi’s current design themes and the firm says the changes are more substantial than is usual for a facelift.
The revised A4 will be launched later this year with three 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engines featuring a 12V mild-hybrid system and ranging from 148bhp to 241bhp, along with two diesels, a 188bhp 2.0-litre and a 241bhp 3.0-litre. A 12V mild-hybrid 2.0 TDI diesel, with 134bhp or 161bhp, will follow after the launch.
The S4 model, a rival to the Mercedes-AMG C43, will be offered in Europe purely as a mild-hybrid diesel, with a 3.0-litre TDI mated to a 48V integrated starter/motor for a total output of 342bhp and 516lb ft of torque.
The S4 will be offered with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, with sport suspension as standard, and a sport differential and suspension with damper control available as options.
The entry-level 35 TFI and 40 TDI will be offered after launch with a manual gearbox as standard. All other models will be automatic as standard. Seven- and eight-speed ’boxes will be used, with a six-speed manual following as an option. Entry-level cars will be front-wheel drive, with Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system available on higher-spec models.
The A4 will be sold with standard and sport suspension, with two adaptive systems available. Those systems work with damper control and feature a Comfort mode that lowers the ride height by 10mm and a Sport setting with a 23mm reduction in the ride height.
As for the design, the A4 will now feature a wider and flatter grille, with a revamped side profile that has sharper, more sculpted shoulders and clearly defined lines.
Audi’s design team has also introduced more bespoke styling elements on the S line, S4 and Allroad quattro variants, including bespoke grille designs, in order to give each a more distinctive identity.
The revised interior is built around the latest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system, featuring a 10.1in touchscreen. That screen can be operated by using touch or voice control. Audi has scrapped the rotary controller that appears in the outgoing model. A full 12.3in digital driver information display and head-up display are available as options.
The revised A4 will be offered with a number of driver assistance systems, grouped into three packs. Options will include automatic cruise control, which, Audi says, can use ‘car-to-x’ navigation data from external devices such as traffic signs to increase accuracy.
The rugged Allroad quattro model, as before, features an extra 35mm of ground clearance, additional underbody production, a wider front and rear track and optional Allroad-specific suspension.
The new A4 is due to go on sale near the end of this year. UK pricing has not yet been set, but there is expected to be a slight increase over the £29,260 starting price of the current model.
Q&A with Amor Vaya, Audi exterior designer
What did you focus on with the redesign?
“The A4 is a well-proportioned car, but the old one was occasionally called a little boring. We’ve put a lot of life and energy into it. We didn’t want to change the design principles, but we wanted to make a statement.”
How did you do that?
“The design is now a lot richer, more expressive. We’ve focused on the detail, with the use of 3D design elements, chrome parts and other small things that can make a big difference.”
What are the challenges of doing a facelift design?
“The fixed points were all designated six or seven years ago, so we have to work around that. That gives some limitations, but we’ve evolved the A4’s design substantially.”
Why focus on differentiating the S4 and Allroad quattro?
“We wanted to give each variant its own character. We’ve been criticised before for making every model and variant look similar, so now each model has its own character, and every car inside that model family does, too.”