Audi India introduced the next-generation A4 in 2016. In 2017, Audi's A4 finally receives a diesel motor engine under the bonnet. And the fact that makes it more amazing is that it is more powerful than its petrol variant. Unlike its rivals, the Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI and BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 is a front-wheel drive. However, at the price of Rs 41,00,000 (ex-showroom) does it offer a better deal?
Start its engine, and there is a bit of diesel clatter audible in the cabin. But, as you push the pedal, the noise fades away until you are treated to a sumptuous silence. But if you aren’t careful with the throttle, handling this car might get a little tough. While the engine is no slouch at low rpm, once the rev needle crosses the 2500 rpm mark, the pace accelerates sharply. You have to learn to go easy on the throttle.
The biggest USP (unique selling point) of the new A4 diesel is its powerful 1968cc 4-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged DOHC engine. This unit makes a maximum power of 190PS between 3,800-4,200rpm along with a peak power of 400Nm between 1,750-3,000rpm. The engine sends power to the front wheels and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The first thing about the engine that catches your attention is how refined it is. There is a slight clatter at idle, but once on the move, one can barely tell that there is a diesel unit under the hood. Audi’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is nothing short of sublime! It always knows what gear to be in, letting you enjoy its 400Nm of monstrous torque once you push its metal to the floor.
Drive with a light foot and the gearbox upshifts very early in the rev range (~ 1750-2000rpm) eking out efficiency from the motor. While testing it, the A4 diesel returned 12 kmpl on Delhi’s road and 17 kmpl when it was taken on the highway.
On the highway, switch the gearbox to Sports mode and push the right foot hard down, the 'box holds the revs right up to redline. The A4 makes a hurried dash to the horizon, clocking a 0-100kmph in 7.70 seconds. But, you do feel the engine losing steam post 4000 rpm and sense the need for a slightly early upshift. For that purpose, you have paddle-shifters tucked away behind the steering to do just that manually.
The steering and the suspension are set up to be comfortable and not aggressive. The steering is responsive but almost too light and vague at city speeds. It isn't too good at telling you what the front wheels are up to. It does weigh up a bit as the speeds climb, but it isn't as communicative as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the BMW 3 Series. In case you prefer the meatier feel, you can set Audi's drive select to Individual and select the Dynamic setting for the steering. You also get the choice of setting the engine and gearbox combo to Comfort or Dynamic. The two modes aren’t poles apart, but you feel the shifts getting quicker and the gearbox holding a ratio a bit more in the latter.
When it comes to its stopping power, it is as impressive as its acceleration. The pedal tells you exactly how much you’re braking and there’s no guesswork involved. The A4 sheds speed quickly – it took less than 3.5 seconds to come 100-0 kmph.
Overall, the new Audi A4 is a complete package. For starters, it looks good from every angle. The new hexagonal grille, headlights with dual DRLs along with the sweeping LED indicators and the large air dams offer a near-ideal blend of sophistication and aggression. The cabin feels premium and uses high-grade materials. Audi has paid attention-to-detail, and every bit feels built to last.
The fully digital instrument cluster, aka virtual cockpit in Audi's terminology, continues to fascinate. It can be set up to display navigation as well as infotainment data. The updated MMI system gets the touchpad rotary dial from its more luxurious siblings. Also, the cabin offers a reasonable amount of space and the large seats offer a good amount of support.
Additionally, there's no doubt that the new A4 is a very comfortable car to travel in. Clearly, there are a lot of things working in Audi's favour. In addition, the price of Rs 41 lakh will manage to attract a lot of attention from prospective buyers.