THE ALL-NEW AUDI A4 AVANT – AHEAD IN THE SPACE RACE
First ÚK deliveries of the best-selling Audi Avant are now underway, bringing more space, more technology and more versatility
◾New A4 Avant models available to order now priced from £27,300 OTR
◾ÚK deliveries began in January - 1.4 TFSI examples expected from April 2016
◾Class-leading 505 litres of seats-up luggage capacity, wîth a power operated tailgate and electrically retracting luggage cover as standard on all models
◾Standard equipment highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon or LED headlights wîth LED DRLs, Audi smartphone interface, Audi drive select, three-zone climate control and 7-inch colour MMI monitor
◾Technology options include the Audi virtual cockpit, Matrix LED headlights and numerous new driver assistance systems
◾Wide four and six-cylinder engine range wîth outputs from 150PS to 272PS
◾Line-up includes new 2.0 TFSI wîth revolutionary combustion system and 2.0 TDI ultra efficiency champion wîth CO2 from 104g/km in SE and Sport models
◾All-new platform and redeveloped six-speed manual, seven-speed S tronic and eight-speed tiptronic transmissions
Space may be the final frontier, but for customers exploring the all-new, and newly available, Audi A4 Avant it is likely to be one of the first and foremost considerations. Fortunately the five-door version of What Car? Magazine's 2016 Car of the Year proves to be a star in this respect, offering the most expansive seats-up luggage capacity in the premium compact executive sector to complement the quality, technological ingenuity and optimal efficiency for which the A4 is already renowned.
The even more versatile A4 can now be ordered at prices ranging from £27,300 OTR to £40,350 OTR, and retention of these original values is likely to be another important consideration for prospective purchasers. Here, too, the A4 Avant doesn't disappoint, wîth leading trade guide CAP Monitor predicting that the majority of versions will achieve residual values that are either strongest in the premium compact estate class or unbeaten in the class.
As an example the A4 Avant 2.0 TDI ultra Sport 190PS – the expected best-seller in the range – is predicted to retain 40 per cent of its value after three years or 60,000 miles, ahead of its key premium sector rivals.Class-leading luggage capacity
The all-new A4 Avant intelligently integrates a class-leading 505 litres of luggage capacity – extending to 1,510 litres wîth the seats folded – into a capacious interior that now affords even more head and shoulder room for front seat occupants and offers an increase in overall rear leg room compared to its predecessor.
All this can be enjoyed in remarkably hushed tones thanks to numerous aerodynamic and aeroacoustic advances, and in surroundings that exude a degree of quality and technological sophistication that far exceeds even the outgoing car, which was renowned in its own right for its outstanding fit and finish. All-digital Audi virtual cockpit
Among the technological highlights are the optional Audi virtual cockpit wîth its fully digital, absolutely flicker-free display, and optional Matrix LED headlamps capable of establishing and tracking multiple road users and illuminating the appropriate corridors of lights either side of them to maintain maximum visibility without dazzling other drivers.Source - Audi
Highlights of the options list also include a 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system wîth 3D sound, Audi Entertainment mobile incorporating two detachable touch-screen tablet computers built into the rear seats, the Audi phone box bringing two separate Bluetooth connections and wireless smartphone charging* and MMI Navigation plus wîth a larger 8.3-inch monitor complemented by the MMI Touch fingertip-responsive touchpad built into the rotary controller.
These can be added to the three 'core' specification levels SE, Sport and S line, each of which offers either Xenon or LED headlamps wîth LED daytime running lights, along wîth features including three-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and the Audi smartphone interface, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms and displays smartphone contact and information such as navigation mapping on the A4's seven-inch colour MMI screen.
There are also plenty of premium features that greatly enhance everyday use, particularly in the Avant which offers powered tailgate operation and an electrically operated luggage cover as standard.
Helped by outstanding drag coefficients of as little as 0.26 and a weight advantage of as much as 120kg compared wîth its predecessor, the all-new A4 Avant is appreciably more refined and up to 21 per cent more fuel efficient than its predecessor.
The Avant engine line-up will initially include a wide choice of 2.0 litre and 3.0-litre TDI engines wîth outputs starting from 150PS and rising to 272PS. The refined and responsive 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine at the entry point to the A4 Saloon range will also become available to Avant customers slightly behind the first phase in April 2016.
Twelve ultra variants
As in the Saloon, two versions of the 2.0-litre TDI engine wîth 150PS and 190PS power a total of 12 front-wheel-driven 'ultra' variants offering up to 70.6mpg wîth CO2 output of as little as 104g/km – their frugality can be enjoyed in conjunction wîth both SE and Sport specification incorporating 17-inch alloy wheel designs.
The V6 TDI contingent starts wîth the 218PS version which played such a key role in securing What Car? Magazine's Car of the Year Award for the saloon – here it returns up to 64.2mpg wîth a 114g/km CO2 output when combined wîth Sport specification and front-wheel-drive.
To fully exploit the economy potential of this absolutely up-to-the minute engine technology, the powertrain and chassis of the A4 Avant have also been completely redeveloped. The six-speed manual transmission, the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch (now also available for front-wheel drive) and the eight-speed tiptronic have been reworked, and in the process the automatic transmissions have incorporated a fuel-saving freewheeling function.
The inherent agility of the A4 Avant wîth its completely new platform incorporating sophisticated five-link fully independent front and rear suspension can be amplified further by adding a more intelligent and faster-reacting evolution of quattro all-wheel-drive as an option for 2.0 TDI 190 and 3.0 TDI 218 engines. The purely mechanical system wîth its self-locking centre differential is also a standard feature of the 2.0 TFSI 252PS and 3.0 TDI 272PS versions.
All models are available wîth suspension in either a comfort-focused state of tune or wîth a tauter and more sporting set-up – the latter is standard for S line versions but can be 'deselected' in favour of comfort suspension at no extra cost. For even greater emphasis on dynamic ability it is also possible to specify a dynamic §teering system which varies its ratio according to speed and §teering angle and adaptive damper control wîth a 'sport' bias for all versions. Adaptive damper control wîth a 'comfort' set-up favouring suppleness can also be specified for all versions bar the ultra models, which are exclusively equipped wîth sports suspension.
Where these options are fitted, their operating characteristics are configurable via the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, which is a standard feature across the range. Its Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency and Individual modes also have a bearing on the response of the throttle, the shift points of the automatic transmissions if specified and the weighting of the §teering.
The high quota of standard fit onboard technology can also be complemented by an array of the most advanced driver aids which can take the strain out of everything from reversing out of a parking space into fast-moving crossing traffic to enduring stop-start city driving. Drivers lòòking to maximise economy will also appreciate the predictive efficiency assistant, which helps drivers to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent by using navigation route data to alert them to situations in which it would make sense to reduce speed, such as before bends, towns or speed limit signs that are not yet visible. The system can adapt the preselected speed to the route and the speed limits and also take over predictive control of the free-wheeling function of the automatic transmissions.
Introduced in 1994, the Audi A4 was a compact executive vehicle built by the German automaker Audi that was the successor to the Audi 80. This vehicle holds the distinction of single-handedly reviving the Audi brand following its large sales slump two years prior. The A4 was available as a saloon/sedan or an estate/wagon. During the 2nd version the model was called the B6 and the 3rd generation was dubbed the B7. A Cabriolet version was also introduced, though it was not retained for the 4th generation which was called the B8. The A4 quickly became a favorite among luxury-car buyers thanks to its sleek look, well-appointed cabin, sharp handling and available Quattro all-wheel drive.
The interior featured a truly European ambience with its firm, comfortable seating, it also featured tight panel gaps, high-quality materials and gave a very supple ride and willing performance.
Internally, the first generation of the Audi A4 was known as the Typ 8D and was introduced in 1994 on the Volkswagen B5 platform which was shared with the fourth generation Volkswagen Passat. The platform featured a longitudinal engine and standard front-wheel drive though many enthusiasts preferred the optional Quattro four-wheel drive system. Originally the A4 was introduced as a four-door saloon/sedan, but the following year the Avant; Estate/wagon showed up the following year.
European customers could opt for a variety of engines that included between 1.6 and 2.8 liters, and a 1.9 L Diesel that was available with VW's new 'Pumpe Düse' technology that was capable of achieving a high power value of 110 PS. At the time, the Audi's 2.8 L V6 that was carried over from the original 80/90 was the only engine option that was available in North America until 1997.
The first model in the Volkswagen Group, the Audi A4 featured the new 1.8 L 20V motor with five valves per cylinder and was based on the unit Audi Sport had developed for their Supertouring race vehicle. Producing 150 PS, a turbocharged version had 155 ft/lb of torque. In 1996, this technology was added to the V6 family, beginning with the 2.8 L V6 30V which now produced 193 PS.
Based on the unit that Porsche had developed for their 964-generation 911, Audi introduced their new Tiptronic transmission on the B5 platform. Offering a choice of driving the vehicle as either a fully automatic operation or with a manual override of the gear ratios, the transmission was a conventional automatic gearbox with a torque converter.
In 1997 a revised B5 Audi A4 range was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Sales began in Europe in early 1998. Replacing the 2.8 L 12-valve was a newly introduced 2.8 L 30-valve engine. The range received an important addition, the 2.5 L V6 TDI diesel engine with 150 PS and standard Quattro and a six-speed gearbox, along with the new high-performance S4. New updates included new taillights, door handles, headlights, and other minor exterior and interior changes.
Halfway through the 1998 model year, the 1.8T engine was available outside of Europe and had its power output raised to 170 PS. The original KKK KO3 turbocharger was upgraded with a KO3s (sport) unit. The 30-valve unit that had been available in Europe for two years replaced the 12-valve V6 engine. An even higher performance RennSport model was introduced in 1999; the RS4 Avant which was available only in Avant body-style just like the RS2.
The Audi A4 introduced a hybrid version in 1997. Audi was the first European car manufacturer to put a hybrid vehicle into series production, the third generation Audi duo then based on the A4 Avant. Internally, the all new A4 model was dubbed the Typ 8E and was introduced in late 2000 and was now riding on the all new Volkswagen B6 platform.
The all-new styling of the Audi A4 was inspired on the C5; second generation Audi A6. The original 1.6 L base model didn't change, but most other petrol/gas engines received power upgrades or displacement increases. Now available in two additional versions, the 1.8 L 20-valve Turbo came with either 150 or 180 PS, this one came with a standard six-speed gearbox. The naturally aspirated 1.8 L straight-4 and 2.8 L V6 were replaced by 2.9 L and all-aluminum 3.0 L units. The most powerful of these was capable of 220 PS and 221 lb/ft of torque. Upgraded to 130 PS, the 1.9 TDI engine was now available with Quattro permanent four-wheel drive. The 2.5 V6 TDI high-end model was unveiled with 180 PS and standard Quattro. Halfway through 2001 the Avant was unveiled.
Audi upgraded power to the 1.8 Turbo engine for 2002 to163 and 190 PS. The 190 was designated by a red T with both available with Quattro and in the 2.5 TDI intermediate version to 163 PS. Fuel Stratified Injection was also available with a 2.0 engine. The S4 was reintroduced the following year and was now powered by a 344 PS 4.2 LV8 engine. An A4 Cabriolet convertible variant was also introduced and finally replaced the 80-based Audi Cabriolet that had been discontinued in 1998. The variant included an electro-hydraulic operated hood which could be lowered in less than 30 seconds and also incorporated some styling changes which found their way to the saloon version.
Generally regarded as being the best of its type in the entire world, a continuously variable transmission was developed by LuK, named multitronic which was the replacement of the Tiptronic on front-wheel drive models. This transmission was well praised due to its light weight and promptness in response. The use of this transmission was limited to models with a maximum of 229 lb/ft of torque.
The trunk was redesigned to remove the extension of the top edge with a smoother fold line, and the taillight assembly now forms part of the top line. Introduced in the North American market, an 'Ultra Sport package' named Ultra Sport came along shortly before the B6 was replaced by the B7. This package included aluminum interior trim and doors sills, front and rear spoilers, 'S line' steering wheel, side valence and 18-inch RS4 wheels.
In 2004 Audi introduced a very largely revised A4 with the internal designation of B7. The new range A4 continued to utilize the already existing Volkswagen B6 platform, a chassis derived from the outgoing B6, but featuring heavily revised steering settings, new engine ranges, suspension geometry, navigation systems and chassis electronics. The internal platform nomenclature used PL46 for both B6 and B7 chassis. Also unchanged from the B6 A4 were the Typ 8E and 8H internal designations.
Many additions were added to the engine lineup. FSI, or Fuel Stratified Injection was introduced in 2005 on the 2.0 TFSI and 3.2 V6 FSI petrol/gasoline engines along with other refinements, and increased power output to 200 and 255 PS. Both engines utilize a four-valve cylinder design. The earlier 5-valve design was not compatible with the FSI direct injection system. Combining Pumpe Düse, or PD, technology, the 2.0 TDI diesel engine with 16 valves for the first time, and the larger 2.5 TDI was increased to 3.0 L offering 204 PS Quattro permanent four-wheel drive remained available on most A4 models. The 5-speed manual transmission was finally deleted in favor of a 6-speed. Once again, multitronic transmission is available on front-wheel drive models. A 6-speed Tiptronic transmission is available on Quattro four-wheel drive models.
Audi reintroduced the ultra-high performance RS4 to the lineup, in addition to the higher-performance S4 which carried over the powertrain of the B6 S4. This was the first time on the saloon/sedan and Cabriolet body with a normally aspirated 4.2 V8 FSI engine. The 3rd generation Torsen T-3 quattro system used a ‘default' asymmetric 40:60 front-rear torque distribution.
Introduced in late 2005, a limited edition variant was dubbed 'DTM Edition' and was reintroduced in 2006 as a regular option. The 2.0T FSI engine was now engineered to 220 PS wit standard Quattro. In the same manner of the C6 Audi A6, the front grill assembly has changed to be a tall trapezoidal shape. Arriving later than the other two body variants, the B7 Cabriolet model was introduced. Sales began in February of 2006. The Cabriolet featured an entry-level 2.0 TDI version.
Offering many safety features, the Audi A4 featured side airbags, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stabilization Programme and its available Quattro four-wheel drive. The Audi A4 also received the IIHS 'Top Safety Pick For 2007'. The A4 Avant with the diesel engine is considered to be the most reliable vehicle available on the market according to 2007 Swedish vehicle inspection data, with vehicle inspection rejection rate of 0.0% in 3 year old category. Face-lifted and rebadged, the B7 series became the SEAT Exeo in 2008 with styling changes to both the front and rear, and also incorporated interior trim from the A4 Cabriolet.
In August of 2007, Audi introduced photos, the first official photos of the B8 series A4. The vehicle was unveiled to the public at the September 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Available models were the Saloon/Sedan and the Avant (estate/wagon). The Avant debuted at the March 2008 Geneva Auto Show.
Built on a variant of the Audi Modular Longitudinal Platform, the B8 A4 was constructed on a platform which was also utilized in the Audi A5 coupe. Earlier A4 chassis were limited in wheelbase because of the relationship between the engine, front axle and transmission, and the MLP allows for a reduced front overhang. This resulted in a greater wheelbase length without he same increase in overall length. The center of gravity is now effectively redistributed rearwards, which now improved handling by effectively balancing vehicle mass in between the front and rear axles. The front:rear weight ratio of B8 A4 is approximately 55:45 depending on the body style and engine. Handling was also improved over earlier A4 platforms due to the relocation of the steering rack in front of the axle.
The length of the B8 A4 was also increased in length by 117 mm (4.6 in) over the earlier Audi B7 and gave room for additional seating legroom. The curb weight dropped around 10%, the trunk was increased to 17 cu ft. for the saloon version. With the rear seats folded down, the A4 Avant has a maximum capacity of 1,430 liters. Introduced in the China market in November 2008 was a long wheelbase version called the A4L. This model came with a 2.4 inch longer wheelbase and 2.0 inch longer length.
Standard on the A4 was the MMI system; Multi Media Interface, electronic park brake, LED daytime running lights and speed sensitive steering. Optional on the Audi A4 was Audi Side Assist, Audi Lane Assist, Advanced Key; keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, Bang & Olufsen sound system, navigation system with full MMI with 7 inch screen, adaptive headlights with cornering technology, Audi drive select and advanced parking system front and rear plus reversing camera.
In 2004, the Audi Sport A4 DTM was introduced and was entered into the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters series. The DTM was a V8 engined silhouette racing car that resembled the A4. These vehicles are identified by Audi Sport R-series designations.
Today buyers can purchase an Audi A4 in convertible, sedan and wagon configurations. The wagon and A4 sedan are in their fourth generation which began in the 2009 model year. The newest A4 sedans and wagons feature more interior room, more high-tech gadgetry and improved driving dynamics. Since convertible A4's have not yet been produced on the four-generation current platform, the Audi continues to be sold in 3rd generation models.By Jessica Donaldson