The first “Ultra” branded Audi was 1.6 liter Audi A3, which was only available in the European market. In fact, all Ultra Audis have only been available in Europe, leaving us ‘Mericans to make do with just the average, ordinary models. However, Audi will be bringing an Ultra variant of the new Audi A4 ‘Stateside.
Based on the brand-new 2017 Audi A4, the Ultra variant will pack a revised version of the same 2.0 liter turbocharged TFSI engine. Except in Ultra spec, the 2.0 liter engine will get an EPA-rated 27 mpg city and a whopping 37 mpg highway with a 31 mpg combined. That 27/37/31 mph rating bests everything in its class, such as the BMW 320i and Mercedes-Benz C300. However, that increase in fuel economy does come at the expense of some power and handling capability.
The 2017 Audi A4 Ultra’s 2.0 liter engine only develops 190 hp, in comparison to the 252 hp of the standard car. Torque is also down to 236 lb-ft from 273 lb ft. That means the A4’s 0-60 mph time drops from 5.6 seconds to 7.1, which is considerably slower. It is also only mated to the four-ringed brands seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
You might wonder how a slower, less powerful engine might make the A4 handle worse, as mentioned before. Reason being is that the Audi A4 Ultra will only be available in front-wheel drive. Quattro all-wheel drive will only be available on the standard model. That’s because the all-wheel drive would make the fuel economy worse. So it won’t have the sort of grip or handling of the standard car.
Audi has increased fuel economy by switching the 2.0 liter TFSI’s over to the Atkinson Cycle, which is a sort of combustion timing that increases fuel economy, at the expense of power. It’s done by shortening compression and lengthening expansion phases. The compression ratio goes from 11.7:1 from 9.6:1 in the new engine.
Aside from the new engine changes and lack of Quattro all-wheel drive, the Audi A4 Ultra will carry over the same technology and luxury as the standard car. Pricing will be $34,900 for the A4 Ultra Premium and $38,700 for the Premium Plus model.