Well, it seems Audi has dropped the info of the latest A4 on us. Coming as a 2017 model year, the new A4 seems like an evolution of the current A4 and not something revolutionary. Though, despite the lack of radical change, the new A4 does seem to be a true contender in the segment. With BMW’s F30 3 Series getting an LCI refresh this year, Mercedes’ C Class doing very well and the new Jaguar XE showing its skill, the A4 will have tough competition in the segment, but it may be able to hang with the best of them.
Now based on Volkswagen’s Modular Longitudinal architecture, MLB Evo, the A4 will be up to 265 lighter than the outgoing model.
Audi has managed to do this by using quite a bit of lightweight materials, such as aluminum and magnesium. Some steering and transmission components will be made out of magnesium, as well as the rear seat structure, while both subframes and suspension components will be aluminum. So as far as the chassis goes, the A4 already has a puncher’s chance in the segment.
Helping the Audi remain relevant in a world dominated by performance oriented machines, the A4 will pack a trio of 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinders. Two will be petrol-powered while the other will be an oil-burning diesel. The two gas engines will come in 190hp and 252hp flavors, each packing 236 lb-ft and 273 lb-ft of torque, respectively. The diesel engine will have 190hp as well, but pack 295 lb-ft punch of torque. The base engine will be available in front or all-wheel drive, while the more powerful petrol and diesel engines will most likely be Quattro all-wheel drive only. The only gearbox to be mentioned is Audi’s seven-speed dual clutch S-Tronic, which is actually very good, but a six-speed manual will likely be an option if even only on the base front-wheel drive car.
The exterior, while good looking, is a very safe evolution of the previous A4. Even as a BMW fan, I wish Audi would take some more chances when designing its cars, as this is a bit too safe. It is more aggressive than its predecessor, however, and looks much tighter. Safe or not, it’s definitely an improvement. Though, it’s the interior that gains the biggest improvements. With air vents that spread across the entire dash, reminiscent of German cars in the ‘70s, very simple aluminum touch-sensitive dials and tastefully placed wood trim, the new A4’s interior is a clinic in refined German simplicity. It’s all seems very functional and airy, overall a nice place to be. The steering wheel, also seen on the upcoming Q7, looks nice and modern. While analog gauges are standard, a TFT screen is an optional replacement, a la the Audi TT. Also, the nav screen is also a fixed piece and doesn’t have that silly motorized rise function anymore. It looks much better.
So, while the exterior looks to be a bit of the same Audi designs, the interior, improved engines and lighter chassis should keep the A4 in the conversation as one of the best in the segment. The power figures are a bit low, considering the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class and Jaguar XE S all offering engines over 300hp, but an S4 will be coming as well. That car should pack a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 to take on the other big boys.
We’ll see, when rubber meets the road, how the new A4 will stack up to the competition, but it looks like the 3 Series just got another serious competitor.