Australian publication, Drive, has recently driven a prototype 2015 B9 Audi A4 and have provided some feedback as to what it’s like.
We’re all waiting with bated breath to find out how the upcoming Audi A4 will stack up against its competitors. For the B9 generation, the A4 has been built on an entirely new platform, Volkswagen’s MLB platform, and has gotten bigger while also getting lighter. The A4 has grown 25mm longer and 16mm wider, though the height has remained the same. However, despite its gain in size, it’s now 120kg (264 lbs) lighter than before.
From the outside, the new A4 a small evolutionary step up over the previous model. However, things have changed quite a bit on the inside. The increase in size has allow Audi to give the new A4 more passenger and cargo space and also a lovely greenhouse effect. Visibility is excellent and the interior looks fantastic. The dashboard’s simplicity earner it high praise from Drive, as did the seats and overall quality of the interior.
But what everyone wants to know is how it drives. Drive was allowed to test a front-wheel drive 2.0 TFSI Ultra spec A4 and came back with positive reviews. Compared to the last car, the springs have been softened and the shock dampening has been made more progressive. This allows the car to ride better over rough pavement and become more comfortable overall without having to sacrifice in the handling department. Actually, according to Drive, the new A4 handles better than its predecessor.
The steering has also been re-calibrated to become more progressive and less twitchy. The steering input is actually slower than before, but this allows the steering to feel more natural and less video-gamey. However, the steering is very light, in typical Audi fashion. Admittedly, the steering does weight up in Sport mode, but it should be heavier to begin with. The engine pulls smoothly and cleanly, leaving little to be desired in the refinement department. However, the model Drive tested was quite slow. Audi quotes the 2.0 liter’s 0-100 kmh time at 7.3 seconds. That’s considerably slower than every other car in the segment. Though it does make up for that with better fuel economy.
Granted, this is a preproduction model and will likely be subject to a bit of change. However, it does give us a good grasp as to what it might be like. From Drive’s report, we can tell that chassis and suspension-wise, the new A4 seems to be a big improvement over the last model. Though there’s still some left to be desired in the engine department, an uprated version of the 2.0 TFSI engine will be offered and should probably keep the A4 competitive. Until we can get our hands on a production model, we won’t be able to truly tell what it’s like, but until then things look promising.