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Audi A4 3.0 TDI

7th Sep 2009 7:00 am

The new A4 is not a typically cold and clinical Audi


  • Make : Audi
  • Model : A4

Audi started with a clean slate, pouring innovation, surprise and delight into the process of creating the new A4. Look at the distinctive ‘string-of-pearls’ LED headlight that Audi has plucked from its R8 sports car and you get some sense of how hard it has tried. The new A4 is also larger and has a more grown-up look. And its 2.8-metre wheelbase is easily the longest.

However, apart from the head and tail-lights, there’s nothing radical about the A4’s styling; most of the design clues an evolution of tried-and-tested Audi standards. Still, as on every modern Audi, the design language is very clear and works well. The bonnet and shoulder line swoop down to the ‘Bulgarian beard’ grille, there is a quarter-glass in the ‘C’ pillar at the rear and the broadset shoulder line give the flanks the look of an A6.

The A4 is built on Audi’s new Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLP) and uses a lot of aluminium in the front suspension. The steering rack is placed low and forward, in close proximity to the front wheels. The rear suspension design allows for sporty and short springs and the dampers are tall for luxury car-like travel. All the dampers are adjustable for either a pliant ride or harder dynamic setting. And Audi has specified massive discs at both the front and the rear. The latest quattro or four- wheel-drive system has rear-biased split for more neutral handling and less understeer.

A glance is all you need to tell that the interiors belong on an Audi. The cabin delivers the impression that you are seated in an expensive, well-designed cockpit, things come to hand easily and the general fit is good. There are plenty of stowage areas tucked nicely around the front of the cabin. There is no handbrake lever —  it’s electronic and functions via a button marked ‘P’, and this opens up some space for oddment enclosures.

This version is also equipped with a keyless go and a clear-sounding Bang&Olufsen sound system that has 10 channels and 14 speakers, including the subwoofer. Traffic jam concerts could alleviate some of the hassle of a city commute. Despite these features, the interiors are a bit disappointing since they aren’t an advancement like the rest of the car. Closer inspection also reveals that the quality of a few plastics on the central console is not upto Audi’s usually exceptional standards.

With the longest wheelbase in the class and the most width too, the new A4 offers occupants a bigger cabin. The front seats are large and very comfortable and you can find the perfect driving position as everything is adjustable. The rear seats are fantastic too, offering loads of space and has that airy feeling.

With 265bhp to put down and handle, there’s no scope for messing around. The A4 gets a hi-tech suspension, fat rubber and most important, the Quattro system. Grip is phenomenal, dry or wet, and it is possible to make full use of all that power, both in a straight line as well as on a winding road. The A4 3.2 is a ferociously quick point A to point B tool.

For a start, straightline stability is rock solid, even at speeds close to 200kph on the track. And the massive stopping power of those big discs is very comforting — especially on our roads where you need to pounce on the anchors often. And because you can bleed speed very fast and as the A4 corners relatively flat, you can carry massive speed into corners. And then, despite the speed, the quattro system allows you to chuck even more power down to the road as you apex and exit the corner. The electric steering gets heavier and weighs up as you approach triple-digit speeds, and steering ratio is tightened too. But the steering feels rubbery and there isn’t any real communication between the car and your fingers, especially as you unwind steering lock. And despite the rear-biased 40:60 torque spilt, push the A4 too quick into a corner and it will want to carry on straight and understeer, so you have to be aggressive with the steering just when you don’t
want to be.

Audi A4 3.0 TDI
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