When compared with the previous model, the A4 has new, sporty proportions. The workmanship is typical of an Audi – quality with no compromises.

After yesterday's A4 image leak, the official press kit has been made available. As one of the most widely anticipated debuts for the Frankfurt Motor Show in two weeks time, the A4 is Audi's bread and butter model. Therefore, the pressure for Audi to fix the short comings of the previous generation was ever looming and judging by this initial information, its seems they have succeeded.

The new A4 gets many new electronic and assistance features found in larger BMW and Mercedes models. Features such as adaptive shock absorbers, seat fans, adaptive airbags/belts, adaptive cruise control, radio-operated key, variable steering as well as other Audi features found only in A6 and A8 models which include MMI and a 10-channel 505-Watt Bang & Olufson 14 speaker stereo system. Lastly, for an added touch of the Audi R8, the xenon plus headlight option includes 14 white LEDs as day-time driving lights.

A new driver assistance feature known as Audi Drive Select provides two sport settings for the adaptive suspension. In addition, four other pre-configured modes include comfort, auto, dynamic or individual (only available with MMI option) settings. Drive Select influences accelerator pedal response, tiptronic shift points, power steering assistance, steering ratio and electronically adjustable shock absorbers. For safety, Audi's new Lane Assist uses a camera in the windshield to monitor lane position above 65 km/h and alerts the driver by vibrating the steering wheel when a lane changes occurs without using the turn signal. Audi also has Side Assist which uses radar sensors in the front and rear bumpers. The system warns the driver of vehicles in blind spots or fast approaching from behind. The driver is warned by a flashing LED on the outside housing of the side view mirror.

One of the biggest challenges Audi faced in the development of this successor was driving dynamics. With an engine position which sat just forward of the front axel of the previous generation, equilibrium was adversely affected resulting in an understeer problem. Compared to its German rivals which are rear-wheel-drive biased, Audi was at a disadvantage. However, with this all-new MLP platform the front axel gets moved forward by 154mm for a much improved axel-weight distribution. Also aiding weight distribution, Audi has moved the transmission differential forward just behind the engine but in front of the clutch or torque converter.

The new A4 has grown to 4.7 meters with sportier proportions, the front overhang is shortened while the bonnet and wheelbase (which it shares with the new A5) are longer. As a result, the interior grows by 20mm which results in rear passenger knee room increasing by 36 mm to a luxurious 908mm and the boot can now hold 480 liters (which doubles with the rear seats down) no matter if the car is equipped with quattro or not.

The A4 will be available in the familiar four trim packages: Attraction, Ambition, Ambiente and S-Line. One of the more interesting features of the cockpit, reminiscent of BMW's E46 3 Series, is the center console which is oriented towards the driver by 8 degrees.

Despite the bigger size of the body, the new A4 body shell weighs an amazing 10% less than its predecessor. Audi has accomplished this through the use of new high-strength steel grades. Aerodynamics also improve to 0.27 drag coefficient, which is 3 to 5% lower (depending on model) although the frontal area is slightly wider.

Five engines will be made available, namely in the petrol range, the 1.8 liter TFSI producing 118 kW (160 bhp) and 250 Nm torque while the 3.2 liter FSI produces 195 kW (265 bhp) and 330 Nm torque.  For the diesel engines the 3.0 liter TDI V6 makes 176 kW (240 bhp) and 500 Nm torque.  The 2.7 liter TDI V6 puts out 140 kW (190 bhp) and 400 Nm torque.  Lastly, the highest volume diesel, the 2.0 liter TDI makes 105 kW (143 bhp) and 320 Nm torque.

0-100 km/h (62 mph) performance at a glance:

  • 1.8L TFSI = 8.6 sec

  • 3.2L FSI = 6.2 sec

  • 2.0L TDI = 9.4 sec

  • 2.7L TDI = 7.7 sec

  • 3.0L TDI = 6.1 sec

The engines can be combined with a six-speed manual, tiptronic automatic or the multitronic continuously variable transmission with either front wheel drive or quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. Available as an option, tiptronic transmissions get steering wheel mounted shift paddles.

The new Audi A4 will be available this November with a base price in Germany approximately EUR 26,000.

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