Sunday, November 13, 2011

Audi A4 (2012): the revised saloon, Avant and Allroad

Click Thumbnails to Enlarge

Audi A4 (2012): the revised saloon, Avant and Allroad

By Keith Jones
First Official Pictures
26 October 2011 23:01
It’s an impressive feat when a manufacturer releases five new models in a single day, and that’s what Audi’s managed to do. Or has it? By clever manipulation of its naming strategy, five new cars turns out to be a mid-life refresh of its popular A4 range and all its variants.
So there's the refreshed-for-2012 Audi A4 saloon and Avant; their performance-oriented S4 derivatives; and the chunkier A4 Allroad crossover. Hence the five new cars. Clever, eh?

Isn’t this just the old Audi A4 with the facelifted 2012 A5’s front?

No, not quite. Observe the new A4 alongside its coupe cousins and immediately the A5’s makeover appears more rakish. The new styling brings the A4 into line with the more angular noses of its newer siblings, but it's retained more of a conservative look overall. The Ingolstadt-based manufacturer may be occasionally accused of offering the same flavour of Audiwurst in different sizes, but the A4 remains its core seller and consequently it doesn’t want to interfere too much with a formula that’s struck a chord with 10 million customers over its eight generations.

Okay, so what has changed on the 2012 Audi A4?

Well, it is subtle, but the bonnet and front bumper have been replaced, along with the grilles and lights they envelope. There’s a stronger curvature in the bonnet that flows down to that latest iteration of Audi’s shield grille, with chamfered upper corners. You must have spotted all these changes...
The grille treatment differentiates each level of A4 hierarchy for that all important company car park one-upmanship: four-cylinder models have grey horizontal slats, whereas V6-engined and all S-line versions feature theirs in gloss black. As before, the S4’s slats are chrome-edged, while the Allroad takes a different path with slender, vertical chrome vanes.
Not only is the shape of the headlight more angular, the graphics within them have been modernised too. Out go the old LEDs that resembled short lengths of Christmassy rope lights, replaced by homogenous strips of whiteness. Similarly, tweaks to the rear are superficial, limited to prettying up the lights and bumper mouldings.

Has the money been spent on revitalising the 2012 Audi A4’s interior then?

Erm, not exactly. A4 interiors have long been considered the quality benchmark for this class, but only aficionados will be quick to spot additional gloss and chrome trim, chunky new steering wheels and a revised multi-media setup, accessed via a simplified version of Audi’s MMI interface. That really is about it, other than a range of new colour combinations and inlay trims.
Available equipment embraces the latest technological advances that have already appeared on other cars, so the A4 doesn't break new ground. A safety monitor alerts the driver if they appear to be drifting off to sleep and recommends when to take breaks, while radar cruise control and a lane monitoring system help ensure safe passage on motorway jaunts.

But they’ve spent the money somewhere, surely? Does the 2012 Audi A4 feature new engines?

Indeed it does, or more specifically a range of refined and improved motors compared with the ones installed in the existing A4. Audi claims to have achieved an 11% improvement in fuel consumption across the range, by virtue of the standardisation of direct-injection, forced induction and stop-and-go systems.
Smaller, more efficient engines are expected to be the most popular. Audi quotes 50.4mpg and 134g/km CO2 for its comprehensively reworked 1.8 TFSI unit which produces 168bhp in the process. The four-cylinder diesels are also kinder to the environment than the outgoing motors with the base 134bhp 2.0 TDI providing 67.3mpg and just 112g/km CO2.
The UK engine line-up for the 2012 Audi A4 will be:
• 1.8 TFSI
118bhp, four-cylinder
• 1.8 TFSI 168bhp, four-cylinder
• 2.0 TFSI 208bhp, four-cylinder
• 3.0 TFSI 328bhp, six-cylinder
• 2.0 TDI
134bhp, four-cylinder
• 2.0 TDI 141bhp, four-cylinder
• 2.0 TDI 161bhp, four-cylinder
• 2.0 TDI 175bhp, four-cylinder
• 3.0 TDI 201bhp, six-cylinder
• 3.0 TDI 242bhp, six-cylinder
Depending upon the model you choose, drive is channelled to either the front wheels, or all four on Quattro models, via a six-speed manual, CVT Multitronic or seven-speed S-tronic automatic gearboxes. A4 Allroad customers are limited to a choice of the 2.0 TFSI or 2.0 TDI (in 175bhp guise), and the 242bhp 3.0 TDI.
The S4 continues to use the same 328bhp 3.0 TFSI engine as before, top speed remains limited to 155mph while the 0-62mph sprint is rounded down to 5.0 seconds. More impressive is the improved fuel consumption, jumping significantly from 28.2mpg to 35.3mpg.

What else?

The A4’s chassis has been delicately fettled too, with Audi confidently boasting of its sporty yet comfortable precision. Whether these detail changes are enough to challenge the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class remains to be seen.
Audi claims that the chassis tweaks not only benefit the driving experience but also reduce the A4’s impact on the environment, the new electromagnetic power steering system alone is said to reduce CO2 output by 7%.
Prices for the full UK 2012 Audi A4 line-up will be confirmed in the coming weeks but aren’t expected to deviate dramatically from current levels.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Choosing Automotive - Premium Blogger Themes Powered by Blogger | DSW printable coupons