2016 Audi A4 TFSI Review
Car Tested: 2016 Audi A4 1.4 TFSI; Road Test No. 728
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 48-55 lakhs (est.)
The Audi A4 has improved in leaps and bounds and rivals are all set to wake up and take notice
Progress is intense. That’s what Audi says. The Audi A4 is an ever popular luxo sedan that has sold like hot cakes in the Indian market. A significant amount of these sales have come from buyers who were looking for their first luxury vehicle that costs upwards of Rs. 30 lakhs. The outgoing generation of the A4 was introduced in 2007 while Audi gave it a mid-life refresh in 2012. Audi will now be launching the A4 B9 in September and we went to Bhubaneswar to check out whether the new model has intensely progressed over the previous generation or not.
Motor Quest: The Audi 80 was the car that marked the automaker’s foray in the entry-level luxury car segment. The A4 has grown ever since. The A4 B7 was launched in 2007 while the B8 version came out after a few years. The 2016 Audi A4 is known as the B9 variant.
Exteriors – On the outside, the 2016 Audi A4 may pass off as a minor refresh to the casual observer but look closely and you notice that there are more than a few changes. The styling feels more premium now and the body line looks sleek. The A4 carries a much sharper face now that is accentuated by the redesigned grille and the Matrix LED headlights which are a party piece of the vehicle. The side profile is classy as ever which is also the case with most Germans.
The rear is again simple and neat and the LED tail lights look dope at night. However, I did overhear someone commenting that the bootlid reminded them of the 2016 Skoda Superb. You get pleasant looking alloys finished in silver. Since the A4 is now underpinned by VAG’s MLB platform, it is around 100 kgs lighter despite being longer and wider. The new A4 has a low drag coefficient of 0.23 which is better than the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Jaguar XE.
Interiors – The insides of the 2016 Audi A4 are a class apart when it comes to quality and luxury. The dashboard, centre console, door pads and all the other panels are made up of soft-touch materials which feel extremely premium. The steering wheel feels great to hold but it is a tad large in size. The gear selection knob, which is shared with the Q7, also feels nice. There is premium leather all around and Audi has definitely taken the interiors of the A4 a couple of notches ahead. You get the MMI infotainment system that also offers support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also a neatly integrated reverse parking camera which is pretty useful in a car of this length.
Practical interiors with an ergonomic layout and lots of features on board
There is also the Virtual Cockpit on offer which we first saw on the new TT. The Virtual Cockpit is a large, high resolution screen behind the steering wheel and you can configure it to show a lot of info like navigation maps, tachometer and speedometer, audio system options, etc. There is another 7-inch screen mounted on the centre console but it is still not a touchscreen unit. You also get a rotary knob for the MMI and I found it very intuitive to use.
The seats are very supportive but I found the rear seats to be a bit on the stiffer side. However, the seats are suited for people of all sizes. You also get a large and comfortable arm rest at the rear. The air conditioner is a 3-zone unit and does a good job of cooling the insides. You get a memory function for only the driver’s seat and not for the front passenger. You also get two convenience keys with the car (one each for the owner and chauffeur). Apart from all this, there is a sunroof on offer along with manual window blinds at the rear. The well-shaped boot can hold 480-litres of cargo.
Performance – The 2016 Audi A4 comes with the same 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine that also powers the Volkswagen Beetle and Jetta. The turbocharged mill produces 150 horses between 5000-6000 RPM and pumps out 250 Nm of twisting force between a wide band of 1500-3500 RPM. Audi has gone down from 1.8-litre to 1.4-litre but this power plant is still quicker than the larger engine by 0.1 seconds in the 0-100 km/hr run which stands at 8.5 seconds. Fuel efficiency is claimed to be 17.84 km/l and you can expect anywhere between 9-11 km/l in real world conditions.
1.4-litre may sound less on paper but the A4 does have a lot of punch
The engine has good punch and once the initial turbo lag has passed by, the A4 accelerates with good enough urgency and touches triple digit speeds pretty quickly for a 1.4-litre unit. The mid range feels very strong but most of the fun is near the red line, this being a petrol car. The engine also sounds super sweet as the revs increase. In 7th gear, the A4 cruises at 100 km/hr at approximately 1700 RPM.
The engine is matched to a 7-speed S-Tronic automatic gearbox which also comes with a tiptronic mode apart from steering mounted paddle shifters. The gearbox is butter smooth and cog changes go quite unnoticed. In S mode, the engine holds on to the revs much higher which helps when you want to do quick overtaking manoeuvres. On the other hand, you also get Audi Drive Select which lets you select from 4 different modes – Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual. Dynamic mode makes the sedan feel much more tighter and sprightlier while Comfort mode is great for relaxed driving.
Driving Dynamics – The 2016 Audi A4 has an electric steering which feels very light in the city and it weighs up superbly as the speeds increase. It also feels very direct and precise, thus making the A4 a very pleasurable car to drive. However, the wheel lacks any sort of feedback and seems quite neutral most of the times. The A4 is a good handler though and body movement feels controlled and predictable. On the ride front, the suspension is softly sprung which results in a very plush ride at low to medium speeds. High speed ride is also excellent and the sedan can tackle even the nastier bumps without much fuss. The A4 comes with disc brakes all around and the pedal has good bite while stopping power is indeed impressive.
Safety and After Sales Service – Audi has a great sales and service network in India with dealerships across all major cities. In terms of safety equipment, the A4 comes with front, side and overhead airbags, traction control, Hill Hold, ABS with EBD, Anti-Whiplash, etc.
Verdict – Progress is definitely intense and the 2016 Audi A4 proves just that. The car has evolved a lot and has improved significantly in a lot of areas. The overall package is very promising and the A4 excels in most departments. The pricing is still unknown but we expect it to cost anywhere between Rs. 32-36 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai). The A4 does make for a very good buy but once Audi launches the 2.0-Litre TDI variants, that’s when the competition will really shake up.
* Styling is awesome, the car looks commanding
* Interiors are class-leading in terms of quality
* Spacious on the inside and a lot of features to play with
What’s Not So Cool
* Wish the steering had more feedback on offer
* No diesel engine for a few months!
Alternatives: Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series, Jaguar XE
2016 Audi A4 Specifications
* Engine: 1395cc, Inline 4, DOHC
* Power: 150 HP @ 5000-6000 RPM
* Torque: 250 Nm @ 1500-3500 RPM
* Transmission: 7-speed automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 8.5 seconds
* Top Speed – 210 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 17.84 km/l (ARAI-claimed), 9-11 km/l (actual driving conditions)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Multi-link suspension (Front & Rear)
* Tyres: 225/50/17
* Brakes: Discs (front and rear), ABS
* Safety: 6 Airbags, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Hill Hold
2016 Audi A4 Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4726 mm X 1842 mm X 1427 mm
* Wheelbase: 2820 mm
* Ground clearance: 128 mm
* Turning radius: 5.8-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 54-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1945 kgs