And it feels entirely different when compared to all its earlier avatars, observes Pavan Lall.
IMAGE: The Audi A4. Photographs: Kind courtesy Audi India
What was once a staid and muted response to an exciting segment of premium-level sedans has refreshingly been transformed into a serious competitor with a few deft tweaks, nips and tucks to the Audi A4 — the German car-maker’s entry-level sedan.
After being discontinued in 2020, the A4 is back in two variants.
And even while there aren’t too many sweeping changes, it feels entirely different when compared to all its earlier avatars.
The most obvious changes include the front of the car, which comes with a new bumper, new LED headlamps and a much wider front grille, which gives it an edgier, younger look and feel.
This is a welcome upgrade given that despite its relatively small volume and market size, the mid-sized sedan segment is a fiercely competitive one with cars made by Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and even Volvo, all vying for the attention of new buyers.
While the A4 is equipped with functionalities and features such as three-zone climate control, keyless entry, memory feature in driver’s seat, gesture-based boot opening and eight airbags for safety, it’s the engine that is its strongest suit.
Powered by a 2-litre engine that churns out close to 200 horsepower, this car slingshots from zero to 80 kmph faster than you would expect, and to greater speeds equally swiftly.
Not once does it show any sign of getting jittery, vibrating at the steering wheel, or seem uncomfortable or unsafe even at speeds of over 100 kmph.
The suspension is great, with the A4 swallowing up potholes and bumps without a hiccup.
It is impressive how it glides over speed-breakers even at mid-range speeds without its undercarriage getting scraped or brushing over the tarmac.
While the engine and the interiors are the strongest suit of the A4, the rear seat could have been made more comfortable by providing a more reclined backrest. Currently, it is a tad too upright.
Most cars have embraced the digital touch screen and operating systems that are either sensor- or voice-activated, and while that’s a function of the way the world is moving today, it’s a pleasant relief to see how certain manual touches have been retained in the A4.
The volume control for the entertainment system, for example, is conveniently located on the left of the gear shift in the centre of the car, making it easy to turn the music up or down without taking the eyes off the road.
Beyond the torque performance of the A4, it’s trunk space is ample.
The interiors are swish and premium but not over the top, with classic leather and chrome and high-quality plastics.
The understated elegance that defines the brand hasn’t been tinkered with.
While the rear seating could use a few more inches and better reclining, what is impressive is how the front seats come together with the rest of the changes to the car to make the A4 an entirely different machine with a renewed focus on sporty driving for the city.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com