The upcoming B9 Audi A4 is a very important car for Audi. The A4 accounts for much of Audi’s sales per year and with both BMW and Mercedes having either new or refreshed versions for their cars in the segment, Audi needs a home run. It’s no secret Audi has gone to great lengths to insure that the next A4 is far improved over the previous generation. The next-gen A4 is being built on Volkswagen’s latest MLB platform, which will save up 265 lbs over the previous car and much has gone into making the new A4 a more engaging car to drive.
Well, Automobile Magazine has just driven a Euro-spec version of the B9 A4 and are giving us a little taste of what’s to come. The A4s they were able to test were the 3.0 liter V6 TDI Quattro and the 2.0 liter front-wheel drive TFSI. First was the diesel, which packed 272 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, the latter being available at 1,500 rpm. This TDI model did not have Audi’s variable-rate dynamic steering and, according to Automobile, it’s probably better for it. The 3.0 liter V6 diesel pulls strongly and smoothly, with all of that torque coming in a more progressive manner than in the previous car. The 8-speed auto shifts smoothly and quickly, as per usual.
Steering, without the variable rack, is smooth and accurate with nice progression and the chassis is well calibrated. The suspension is also quite supple without being bouncy and the car stays flat through corners. Brakes are said to be a bit firm, but near perfectly calibrated. It’s clear from the preproduction drives we’ve read, this new B9 A4 is a significant improvement over the previous model, in terms of driving.
2.0 liter 190 hp TFSI engine earned praise for being quite efficient and decently powerful, though o-60 mph in 7.3 seconds isn’t exactly competitive in the segment. Luckily, for us Yanks, the 2.0 liter engine we will be getting will make 252 hp and get the A4 from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. The 2.0 liter model they tested came without Quattro and with the variable steering rack. Automobile praised the more willing turn-in of the front-wheel drive model, but they didn’t like the variable steering rack too much, as it felt a bit more artificial than the standard rack, though they did say it made the A4 feel more nimble. Though that could be attributed to the lighter weight of the front-wheel drive and smaller engine.
The interior earned high praise for its fit and finish, ergonomic design, wonderful aesthetics and supportive and comfortable seats. It’s clear that this interior will compete for best-in-class when the B9 A4 finally debuts. The one thing Automobile didn’t like about the interior is the massive amount of technology. It can seem a bit complicated at times and confusing. But once you become acclimated, it should become second nature.
All in all, Automobile gave the A4 some pretty high praise, claiming it drives well, rides well and feels very nice. It’s not as exciting looking as we may have wanted, but it performs more exciting than it looks. So, the A4 should be a good sleeper car in the segment. It might not look like much, and look a bit staid, but it packs a punch in terms of performance. Hopefully, we can get our hands on it soon so we can see how it stacks up against the competition from BMW and Mercedes.