First Drive: The 2017 Audi A4 Back In Form — The Best A4 — After 9 Generations

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Launched in India in 2008, the Audi A4 is without a question — Audi's most successful luxury sedan. Lately, the aging A4 has been finding it tough to overhaul the à la mode BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class on the sales chart.

Thus far, Audi has been reluctant to try something new with the A4. Now, with noteworthy technical innovation and luxury features from newer rivals, the A4 has received a complete overhaul to trump its challengers.

However, is the progress intense enough to take on the ubiquitous BMW 3-series and the immediately recognisable Mercedes-Benz C-class?

At a first glance, the latest A4 looks a lot like its predecessor (2008 – 2016). The prominent profile change is the new angular LED headlamps/ tail lamps, and the horizontal belt-line, which is more defined now and runs seamlessly into the clamshell-like bonnet.

With a slight increase to the wheelbase (0.5 inch), width (0.6 inch), and overall length (1.0 inch), the new A4 looks bigger and is lighter by around 120kgs too. On the appearance front, it is quite evident that the redo is conservative, and the design heritage is not lost with a sprawling grille, stare-down styled LED headlamps, and angular squinting tail lamps still in place.

Inside, things get more exciting. The driver's cockpit is updated and offers generous room. It is bright and airy, and you'd be just as comfortable in the rear seat as well. The highlight of the cabin are the new air vents which span across the new dashboard.

Key revisions come in the form of a cool virtual cockpit instrument cluster, centre console stack, three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles; fixed, 8.3-inch MMI dashtop screen, integrated touch pad MMI controller, phone box with Qi wireless charging and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality.

A major change is under the sheetmetal. The 2017 A4 is powered by the latest generation 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine. The acceleration is lively with minimal turbo lag and fabulous midrange throttle response. With 150bhp and 250Nm torque from its 1.4-litre, the A4 can cover 0 – 100km/h in 8.5 seconds and hit a top-speed of 210km/h. Audi claims, the A4 will return a fuel efficiency of 17 km/l.

The most missed driving aid is Audi's all-wheel drive quattro technology. The 2017 A4 is offered only in a front wheel drive system, however, this sedan's handling is still sharp and offers a stable and comfortable driving experience.

The A4 has a full suite of active safety equipment ranging from 8-airbags, pre-collision braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise control, and attention warning to jolt distracted or drowsy drivers.

Audi A4 Variants
Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi)
Plus INR 38,10,000
Technology INR 41,20,000

Verdict:

Overall, the A4 is a convincing package and has enough to compete with the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes-Benz C-class.

Audi's marketing slogan is "Vorsprung durch Technik," meaning "Advancement through Technology." The ninth-generation of the Audi A4 is truly — Vorsprung durch Technik.

Jobo Kuruvilla Thinks!

This iteration of the A4 is improved, with the right mix of technology, distinctive styling and better driving experience. Indeed, the 2017 model is the best A4 — after nine glorious generations!

*The media drive took place at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. DriveSpark was invited by Audi India.

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Story first published: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 19:45 [IST]
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