On the Eve of BMW’s release of the 3 Series LCI, Audi seems to have updated the A4 as well. The current A4 (B8 generation) is getting a bit long in the tooth, with it having come out in 2009. While it’s still an attractive design, like all Audis, it’s a bit too safe and getting slightly boring. That tune isn’t going to change much, as the next gen A4 (B9 generation) is adopting a similar, conservative design.

Some spy shots have surfaced of a black test mule A4 driving around Germany uncamouflaged. So all of its lines and curves (or lack thereof) are on display. This new B9 A4 doesn’t look too much different than the current model and is easily distinguished as an Audi A4. It does look sharper though, and tightened up a bit. The grille’s trapezoidal shape seems to be a bit more pronounced and the headlights and taillights are crisper and narrower. The headlights are also now shaped like upside down Nike swooshes.

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The only other real differences are the side mirrors and a strip of chrome on the doors. The side mirrors are now placed lower and appear to be mounted on the doors instead of the A-pillars, which gives it a sportier look. The mirrors themselves have also be slimmed down and look cleaner than the somewhat plane ovals of the current gen. The chrome strip down the side lower part of the doors is a new and premium touch, though does seem a bit out of place, as there really isn’t any other chrome on the car.

Overall, the new A4 seems to be typical of most Audis these days; handsome but conservative to a point of being boring. An S-Line package will most likely be offered and should add some sporting touches to liven up the looks a bit. No word yet on powertrains, but expect them to be the typical Audi turbocharged four-cylinders, both petrol and diesel. The upcoming S4 should be more aggressive looking and come with Audi’s 3.0 liter supercharged V6 and 7-Speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox. All A4’s will almost definitely be offered with Quattro all-wheel drive.

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Compared to the LCI 3 Series, I think the new A4 is a worthy competitor. The new 3er isn’t the most beautiful car in class, or even the best looking 3 Series, but it’s still very sharp and modern looking. I think these two cars will be each other’s biggest competitors in the segment as well. Whereas the Mercedes C-Class seems to be more focused on sophisticated luxury, the 3 Series and A4 seem to be going for a more modern and sporty look. In my eyes, the LCI 3 Series is the better looking car, but this new A4 is quite handsome. If only Audi had taken a bit more chances with the design and come up with something a bit more exciting, it might just have had a great looking car in the A4. But for now, it’ll have to do with just a good looking one.