2014 Audi A4 Review
Car Tested: 2014 Audi A4 2.0 TDI
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 40,55,875/-
Audi finally gives the A4 2.0-litre diesel the fire power it has always deserved.
No matter which car you drive, you can’t deny the fact that there is at least one Audi vehicle which draws your attention and that’s largely because the German manufacturer has mastered their design, more so of their headlights, which with their attractive daytime running LEDs easily catch the glimpse of most. Audi has climbed the luxury car ladder and its entry-level cars are majorly responsible for it. The company’s entry level sedan, the Audi A4 has been in demand in the entry level luxury segment but lacked power compared to its rivals. Audi has upped the ante by boosting the output of the 2.0-litre diesel engined A4 but how big a difference does it make to the driving experience?
Exteriors – On the styling front, nothing has changed, there is nothing to differentiate the 141 BHP version from the 173 BHP version as both look identical. The Audi A4 has always been an attractive looking car, largely because it resembles its elder siblings to quite an extent. The clean lines, 5-spoke alloy wheels, excellent paint quality and LED lights go a long way in turning heads on the road. Our test car’s blue colour instantly found flavour with the Indian audience with many people looking around to checkout the car, which is surprising as the A4 has been on the road for quite some time now but still manages to look fresh.
Interiors – Step inside and there is nothing different here too. You get a familar Audi cabin with exellent build quality and tasteful use of materials. The buttons are all in easy reach of the driver and the MMI system works well too. There is no skimping on equipment and the brown dashboard with beige leather seats give an airy ambience to the cabin. Space at the front is good but the rear isn’t as roomy with passengers finding rear seat legroom just about adequate. Headroom is good all around and the boot can accommodate 480-litres of luggage. Audi has shifted to a magnified right rear view mirror in its latest cars which has a lot of blind spots. Audio quality is good and the AC works well in these hot days to keep passengers cool. There is also a sunroof and quite a lot of storage bins inside the vehicle.
Performance – The big change to the Audi A4 2.0-litre diesel is the addition of more power and torque. When we drove the Audi A4 last year, we were quick to point out that the same 2.0-litre engine produces 177 BHP in other Audi cars so why is Audi offering a lower set of tune in the A4. Now the company has boosted the output from 141 BHP to to 177 BHP, a full 36 BHP increase. That’s not all, even the torque output has seen an increment from 320 Nm to 380 Nm, available in a wider band now (between 1750 to 2500 RPM). The result is immediately apparent as you floor the pedal of this A4, the car catapults ahead with much more eagerness. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear and redline is at 4800 RPM. Our VBOX test confirms the 0-100 km/hr time has now reduced from 10.25 seconds to 8.56 seconds, which is a considerable improvement. 0-120 km/hr takes 12.35 seconds while 0-150 km/hr is achieved in 19.65 seconds which are fast timings for a 2.0-litre diesel engined sedan.
Without doubt, this 2.0-litre, 4-pot oil burner is a gem. Not only does it respond quickly to throttle inputs, it’s just so silent even at high speeds, making the NVH characteristics worth a big applaud. The issue with the old A4 was the CVT gearbox but Audi hasn’t got rid of it just yet. This 8-step CVT isn’t the most responsive around but with the engine now having more poke, it does seem to respond in a quicker manner, more so in tiptronic mode (there are no steering mounted paddle shifts). There is also a Sport mode which holds the box in lower steps but the tradeoff is the jerkiness. Smack the throttle for a quick overtake and the downshift can take some time due to the rubber-band effect of a CVT unit. This engine’s biggest perk is the mileage, it returns more than 10 km/l in the city.
Driving Dynamics – In terms of the underpinnings, nothing has changed either. The car comes with the same sized tyres and our test car had brand new Michelin Primacy LCs. This 2.0-litre engine in the A4 channels power to the front-wheels and although there is a limited slip diff, the output is quite a lot to handle for a front-drive vehicle. Accelerate a bit hard and the tyres screech and that too with the ESP turned on. All that twisting force isn’t easy to put down on the road. The more powerful version of the A4 (3.0-litre diesel) gets quattro which makes the car heavier and thristier so for those looking for economy, the 2.0-litre diesel is still an excellent alternative.
The balance between ride and handling is good with high speed stability being excellent. The car has a fantastic low speed ride which gets a bit hindered as you go faster, with some pitching happening, more so on bad roads. Handling is good but this isn’t a razor sharp car like its Bavrian rival. The electro-mechanical steering has an artificial feel at the helm but offers resonably good feedback. You have four car modes (comfort, auto, dynamic and individual) but they only alter the steering, engine and gearbox (not the suspension). Braking performance is good and the A4 sheds speeds with confidence. It also has a decent ground clearance and doesn’t scrape on any speed-breaker.
Verdict – Audi has given the A4 the much needed boost in power which will keep it in contention till the next generation model arrives. With more horses and torque on tap, the 2.0-litre diesel A4 is not only fast in outright sprinting but is so much better even when you consider in-gear acceleration. You never feel the lack of grunt and the improved figures from the engine overshadow the CVT box which isn’t the quickest around. Thus if you want a slick moving city and highway car which is upto the job for performing well in both conditions, the A4 is worth a consider. While it’s not the sharpest and most fun to drive car in the segment, the A4 does offer the desirability of an Audi which is bound to please most prospective customers.
The Audi A4 2.0-litre diesel with uprated power and torque is much better to drive in both the city and on the highway, while retaining the comfort and desirability of the entry level sedan from Ingolstadt.
* Improved performance a big respite
* Low speed ride quality
* NVH levels
What’s Not So Cool
* No steering mounted paddles
* CVT gearbox not quick in kick-down
Alternatives: Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series