Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI S Tronic Advanced (140KW) Review
The Finer Side Of B

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
5 Nov 2020
 

I enjoyed the delicate balance of pulsing the accelerator and lifting off to coast on emptier roads built on Singapore’s reclaimed land.

The Audi A4 is the brand's most successful sedan. Luxurious, well-packaged and economical to run, and now made even better with a few tweaks.

The A4’s mid-life revamp at first glance seems like a mild facelift. But in actual fact, Audi has redesigned just about every panel, apart from the roof. The side profile now features quattro lines, while its shoulderline has also lowered and is more like a suggestion, rather than a sculpted impression.

From its broader and flatter singleframe grille, to greater emphasis on horizontal lines front and rear, and also its head and tail lamp with a signature mirroring that found on the Audi Q8, the refreshed A4 now matches the rest of the range’s design language.

Inside

While the restyling is intended to keep the Compact Executive Sedan fresh, the changes that matter the most are actually in its new infotainment system with Audi Connect.

The New Multi Media Interface (MMI) makes the new Audi A4 even more highly connected than before. Designers have made the user experience more intuitive, similar to how you would use a smartphone. The new MMI is fronted by a much larger 10.1” high-resolution touchscreen. With this, Audi has also omitted the rotary/touch controller which used to be sited on the centre console; you can still see where it used to be, since it now serves as a tray to put stuff into.

One of the most impressive features is its handwriting recognition, which seems to understand even my worst scribblings. This is a plus, since you will be doing this with your left hand. And it is not just how good the system is at recognising your handwriting, but also how quickly it returns with the required information, thanks to its built-in 4G connectivity; great especially when you are relying on the satnav (which is standard on both cars on offer here). For those who are always concerned if they are able to park at their destinations, the system is also connected to Parkopedia, which provides you with data on your intended place to park.

But beyond just finding your way around, the new navigation system also incorporates real time traffic density and makes suggestions on alternative routes. Your search does not have to be centered around addresses, but even suggested locations for example, searching for your favourite food; where the web-based system is able to advise on the best places for laksa, prata, or in our case - Fish N’ Chips.

While the MMI is highly connected, built-in redundancies like the on-board route guidance, which runs along in the background can easily take over, ensuring that you get to your destination safely, when and where the internet fails. Audi has also improved on the voice recognition and control, with a mix of knowledge from the cloud and what is stored on-board. Impressively, it is even intuitive enough to allow you to correct what you may have requested, and even offers the flexibility of options. 

In addition, the Audi MMI plus features Audi Connect Services. This allows you to control some of the car’s functions remotely from your mobile phone.

For Singapore, all Audi A4s are fitted with their top-of-the-line Audi virtual cockpit, which boasts a 12.3” high-definition screen. Users are able to switch between three different themes, ‘Classic’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Dynamic’.

Stepping away from its tech innovations, the A4 has one of the best quality interiors in its class. Materials chosen, coupled with some very good fit and finish, is something you can expect from one of the best brands in the business. Leg and head space at the rear are excellent for the average adult build. While it is a small thing, I must say that I like how the rear cup holders unfold, and how sturdy they are.

With 460 litres of luggage space, the A4 loses out to the BMW 3 Series’ 480 litres, but easily trumps the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 435 litres, the Volvo S60’s 392 litres (which also lacks folding rear seats)... and the recently refreshed Jaguar XE with 410 litres (which now has folding rear seats).

The Drive

Power is taken from a fuel-sipping 2.0 litre turbocharged B-Cycle engine, and with our test A4 Advanced, the engine produces a higher-rated 190hp and 320Nm. The Audi A4 now features mild-hybrid tech, but not in the way you may expect it, since they had decided that their system not to do any driving duties. Instead, the 12 volt system is intended to keep all the car’s vital functions running weather you are parked at the lights, or when you lift off the throttle to coast. According to Audi, their Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) system reduces fuel consumption by 0.3 litres per 100km/.

While you would not be able to attain similar fuel efficiency figures like we did on a ‘hypermiling’ trip up North in the previous car, during the Audi Miles Better Drive, the new A4 boasts 16.9km/l combined, and we managed around 15km/l on a journey to the Southernmost point of Tuas.

The transmission which is a 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch, provides drive to the front wheels. While ‘Dynamic’ drive mode does make the driving experience more engaging, and gets the car to 100km/h in a respectable 7.3 seconds; what I did personally enjoy was switching over to ‘Economy’, just so that the car could reduce its consumption by coasting whenever I lift off the accelerator pedal. Sure, it is not as quick as it could be when taking off, but it does pull away from the lights decently well in the said drive mode.

I enjoyed the delicate balance of pulsing the accelerator and lifting off to coast on emptier roads built on Singapore’s reclaimed land. The MHEV system worked behind the scenes to keep all the necessary electricals running, while the engine simply goes to sleep, and is only woken up by the starter-generator when called to action. If you do not think about it, the A4 does behave almost like a conventional car.

The Audi’s 190hp does entertain enough, with sufficient grunt to put a smile on your face. The B-Cycle engine is tuned for low-to-mid range delivery, with all of its 320Nm available from 1,450rpm; and is intended for day-to-day practicality, rather than being driven with petrol head-inspired enthusiasm.

This is also evident in the suspension, designed more for comfort, rather than for outright handling. That said, the A4 does handle well around corners. There is a little bit of play as you push the German sedan around the bends. Handling is predictable, and the car is forgiving.

Our Thoughts

While it is the only front-driven sedan among the big German three, the Audi A4 does deliver a good balance of passenger comfort, space and performance. Sure it is less engaging than the BMW 3 Series, while the Mercedes-Benz C-Class does seem rather a tiny offering when placed beside these two.

If you are looking at a slightly more affordable alternative, Audi also offers the A4 in a lower state of tune. While it is less expensive by almost $10k, visually you will not be able to easily tell them apart. 

The 40 extra horsepower in the ‘Advanced’ model though, is therefore about $80 a month extra to you, if you do break the difference over 10 years of ownership… which then translates to $2.65 per day (the price of what chicken rice used to be) for 40hp extra each day… so yes… go for the 190hp model!

In Summary

We Like

The A4 now boasts more connectivity. Still one of the better interiors. Practical size. Comfortable ride.

We Don't

It does feel a little clinical still.

Verdict

The Audi A4 offers buyers more bang-for-buck over its competition, and is quite the ideal Compact sized Executive transport.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11.7:1
Bore x Stroke (82.5 x 92.8)mm
Power 190bhp @ 4200rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1450rpm
Power to Weight 130.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 225 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.9 km/L
Drag Coefficient 0.270

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed S Tronic
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4762 x 1847 x 1431) mm
Wheelbase 2820 mm
Kerb Weight 1455 kg
Boot Capacity 460 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 965 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 54 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs