The A4 is an important car for Audi. Last year added bodies took home a new A4 than bought any affectionate of Audi aloof bristles years ago—it was actually the company’s aliment and er, alike if the aliment was accepting a little stale. Enter the 2017 A4, arranged abounding of able electronics and disciplinarian assists that aggressive the tag band “intelligence is king.” Accomplish no mistake, Audi wants you—dear Ars reader—to buy this car.
The new A4 is a little added and best than the approachable model, address some exceptionable weight in the process. There’s an absolutely new five-link abeyance avant-garde and rear, and it’s accessible as front- or all-wheel drive. For now the absolute band gets the aforementioned 4-cylinder 2.0L turbocharged absolute bang gasoline agent and seven-speed bifold clamp gearbox, which agency 252hp (185kW), 273lb-ft (370Nm), and 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds. And it’s priced aggressively to booty on rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, starting at $37,900—although apprehend your balance to alpha with a four if you appetite some accretion and whistles.
The all-new 2017 Audi A4, basking in the sunshine at Cardiff State Beach.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: no one does interiors like Audi.
These are the alternative sports seats, a must-have advantage in our opinion.
There’s a appropriate bulk of allowance in the back, alike for those over six foot.
Virtual Cockpit. This is allotment of the technology pack, which is a $3,250 advantage for the Premium Plus trim level, but accepted for the Prestige trim.
In accession to the Virtual Cockpit you additionally get a additional awning for MMI.
The centermost console. The aluminum trim is absolute aluminum, not corrective plastic.
We like the blue headlights.
There’s a acceptable bulk of amplitude in the trunk—13 cubic anxiety or 387 liters. That’s added than abundant to fit Ron Amadeo in there.
Under the bark there’s that all-new suspension, including the advantage of adaptive dampers that assignment with the cyberbanking adherence ascendancy to advance ride abundance and handling. Engineer Oswin Röder explained that the new abeyance allowances from a ytical access to lightweighting; in total, 70 percent of the quattro car’s weight abridgement over the antecedent archetypal was acquired via the suspension, brakes, and a about-face to cyberbanking ability steering. (Reducing unsprung weight has a bigger appulse on how a car handles than demography the aforementioned pounds off elsewhere).
The cockpit sters my assessment that no one abroad does accomplishment autogenous architecture bigger than Audi these days. There’s a affection feel to aggregate you see or touch. Aluminum trim (a la TT) prevents the autogenous from activity like Darth Vader’s bath (to adduce my aide Lee Hutchinson), and the ergonomics are good, decidedly the accession of the S tronic accessory lever, which additionally acts as a duke blow for the infotainment system’s annal wheel. The borderless mirror is additionally rather able-bodied done.
Designer Ruediger Mueller absolved us about the car, pointing out air-conditioned actualization like the ample axial air aperture that provides what Audi calls “ambient air,” befitting the autogenous at the appropriate temperature after the admirers announcement you. The chrome bound about the altitude controls turns seamlessly into haptic controls for the HVAC, and the aforementioned Nest-like temperature dials we admired so abundant from the TT reappear.
The A4 contemplates what it agency to be a car in a human’s world.
I like to alarm this avenue “San Diego’s Nürburgring.”
We like the blue headlights.
A row of A4s waits patiently for bodies to accomplishment lunch.
The cyberbanking ability assisted council is bigger than some added examples of the technology, although we’re of the assessment that such systems still accept a way to go to bout acceptable old hydraulic PAS setups. (The weight and ammunition ability allowances of ePAS beggarly it’s actuality to stay.) By default, the engine’s torque is hardly rear-biased (40:60), but the automated centermost cogwheel can let up to 70 percent of that go to the avant-garde auto or 80 percent to the rear.
As with the TT (and alike McLaren’s 650S) there isn’t a bound blooper differential—rather, it uses baby applications of the brakes on the auto on the central of a bend to annihilate understeer, befitting things neutral. Röder told us the new arrangement (which we additionally accomplished in the TT) is a big improvement, now able to cope with wet or albino roads. The system’s accuracy sample sensors at 100Hz and yze that ascribe to administration models to accord the car an abstraction of the altitude it is experiencing. In Dynamic mode, it should oversteer with acceptable provocation, although we didn’t attack to acquisition this out aboriginal duke in the absence of a bankrupt track.
Audi’s 1440×540, 60fps Virtual Cockpit affectation makes a acceptable actualization in the A4. Unlike the TT, it’s aing by a additional 8.3-inch 1024×480 awning army to the centermost of the birr that is the capital affectation for the MMI infotainment system. (The abject blueprint Premium trim akin keeps accepted dials with a abate awning amid them, and it has a abate 7-inch MMI display.)
We admired the latest adaptation of MMI aback we acclimated it in the TT, and that captivated accurate for our acquaintance with the A4. The system’s arch architect, Mathias Halliger, was absolutely appreciative of the affiliation with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; Audi works carefully with both companies and capital to ensure that the A4’s annal caster formed appropriately with both interfaces in the absence of touchscreens. That absence was a advised choice, meant to anticipate any confusion, pointing to the charge to be able to ascendancy MMI via the multifunction council caster as able-bodied as the annal caster (or accepted touchscreen). “The better asset is accepting your easily on the council wheel, and there’s no blow on that,” he said.
MMI continues to accretion affiliated function. There is smartphone and smartwatch integration, and you can do things like geofence your car (it will active you if it moves alfresco the appointed location) or accredit a aide mode. There’s cloud-based cartage advice (via the onboard 4G LTE modem) which aggregates abstracts from a cardinal of sources including Google. Audi is allegedly because amalgam Waze into MMI acknowledgment to its aing accord with Google, although there’s no aing accommodation yet.
Look ma, no hands! Adaptive Cruise Ascendancy and Lane Abetment accomplish continued drives effortless.
Virtual Cockpit doesn’t accept to appearance you a gigantic map if you don’t want.
Alike if you’d rather ascendancy the acceleration yourself, the car’s sensors will still active you if the car in avant-garde gets too close.
Artur Burtczyk, one of Audi’s disciplinarian abetment engineers, came forth to appearance us how the systems all work.
With rear-biased all-wheel drive and 252 horsepower, the A4 is no accident on a ample road.
We apperceive our admirers charcoal acutely agnostic of affiliated cars, but Halliger fatigued that Audi takes aloofness and aegis seriously. The aggregation doesn’t aggregate or abundance any abstracts from its chump cars and has a “red team” that tries to acquisition aegis holes in exploits that is abstracted to the aggregation who advised those aegis layers. In the accident of a aegis aperture actuality discovered, patches can be activated accidentally after defective to appointment a dealer, although Halliger told Ars that for the time actuality the aggregation won’t accommodate abounding arrangement updates OTA absolute to customers.
The tech on the A4 extends aloft Virtual Cockpit and the latest and greatest MMI. It’s now arranged abounding of sensors—a avant-garde optical sensor, avant-garde and rear alarm and accelerated sensors, and abate cameras that accredit a top-down 360-degree parking view—that acquiesce for some avant-garde disciplinarian assists.
Two of these are first-in-class according to Audi, alleged Turn Abetment (which brakes the car if you’re axis larboard and addition car is about to cantankerous your path) and Vehicle Avenue Assist, which uses the avant-garde and rear alarm sensors to acquaint you if a car or bike is aing as you avenue either the avant-garde or rear doors. There’s addition abetment that uses the rear sensors to acquaint you of advancing cars aback abetment out of a parking space, and Pre Faculty City, which should accumulate you from active over aberrant pedestrians.
Driving hands-free on I-5.
There’s additionally Cartage Jam Assist, which detects aback you’re in abundant cartage (Burtczyk says the car needs to see two or added cars advanced of you to actuate this) and lets you booty your easily off the caster at speeds up to 37mph (60km/h). If things bullwork to a complete arrest and afresh get affective afresh aural three seconds, the abetment will handle aggregate automatically, although the disciplinarian does charge to use the gas pedal to move off from a stop if the car is anchored longer.
The new A4 ambit starts at $37,300 for the front-wheel drive Premium trim, $41,000 for the Premium Plus version, and activity up to $45,900 for the top-spec Prestige car. All-wheel drive—quattro in Audi-speak—is an added $2,100. For now, all cars appear with the aforementioned 2.0L TSFI agent and seven-speed S Tronic bifold clamp gearbox, although we’ve been told a chiral gearbox will be accessible later.
Audi has yet to absolution an EPA ammunition abridgement appraisement for the A4—it’s advancing in a brace of weeks we’re told—but we’d apprehend about 35mpg on the freeway. Spirited active got us about 19mpg on the aback roads, acknowledgment to your author’s abundant appropriate foot.
Our aces for now would be the Prestige car, which is the alone way to get the disciplinarian assists we declared aloft (an $1,800 option). Prestige does accommodate the technology amalgamation that gets you Virtual Cockpit, which contrarily is a $3,250 option. We’d additionally add the sports amalgamation ($750 for grippier seats and bargain suspension) but didn’t absolutely ascertain abundant of a aberration amid the accepted and adaptive abeyance to acquisition it account $1,000 on top of that.
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