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Audi A4 with new design and technological updates
Crown a heritage of 10 million midsize Audis since 1972

2012 Audi A4 sedan (D-segment), front view.

2012 Audi A4 midsize sedan, rear view.

2012 Audi A4 sedan...

28 Oct. 2011: With over ten million midsize passenger cars sold over the last 39 years by Audi, the new, updated A4 comes now with a facelifted design and enhanced technology for the sedan, the A4 Avant (estate, station wagon), the A4 allroad quattro and the S4 variants. 

The midsize model of the four-ringed luxury brand started with a clear focus on lightweight design, performance and agility in the first generation Audi 80 (B1) in 1972 (four generations of Audi 80, to the B4 in 1994), followed by the Audi A4 model name from 1995, also in its fourth generation today (B8, from model year 2008), with the five millionth Audi A4 leaving the factory last March (see also the interesting wikipedia topic about the history of the Audi 80). 

Recognised as one of the most established German names in the premium layer of a category also called in some markets as the D-segment or upper-medium sized (family or simply personal) car, the updated Audi A4 comes today with significant changes aimed to boost its appeal against its competitors, especially the most direct ones, the new BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

 New A4 and S4

Previous midsize Audi models

Audi 80 B1

Audi 80 GTE quattro B2

Audi 80 B3

Audi 80 B4

Audi A4 B5

Audi A4 B6

2012 Audi A4 (B8, from 2008, facelifted for MY 2012)

Audi A4 B7

 

The premium brand of the German VW group – which also includes the brands Volkswagen, Skoda, SEAT, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and Bugatti – says that its updated A4 brings with the refreshed design, better efficiency, driving dynamics and infotainment, adding that this extensive upgrade led to a slight increase in the prices. For instance, the A4 2.0 TFSI sedan costs now 475 euros more than before, at 35,425 euros (prices,  equipment and data refer to the model range offered in Germany).

 Dimensions

The modifications have changed the dimensions only by a few millimetres. The A4 sedan and the Avant each have a length of 4.70 metres (15.42 ft), while the A4 allroad quattro and the S4 are 4.72 metres (15.49 ft) long.

The wheelbase for all models is 2.81 metres (9.22 ft), and the width is 1.83 (sedan, Avant, S4 and S4 Avant) and 1.84 metres (A4 allroad quattro), respectively (6.0 and 6.04 ft). The height varies between 1.41 (S4) and 1.50 (A4 allroad quattro) metres (4.63 and 4.92 ft) depending on the body version.

2012 Audi A4 sedan dimensions

2012 Audi S4 sedan dimensions

A4 sedan and S4 sedan dimensions.

 

 Design

With the new look, the horizontal lines are accentuated at the front end, with redesigned bumpers, a more arched engine hood, tapered upper corners of the single frame grille, and three-dimensional highlight of the cross ribs and the Audi rings. The grille is painted grey, with high-gloss black on the six-cylinder models or in combination with the S line exterior package. The A4 allroad quattro has horizontal chrome applications and round fog lights.

2012 Audi S4 sedan, front view.

2012 Audi S4 sedan, rear view.

...and the 2012 Audi S4 sedan.

The new headlights get a slight wave at the bottom edges, and a re-arranged interior. The LED daytime running lights form a narrow band that remains open on both sides of the xenon lens. The xenon plus headlights and the adaptive light with dynamic and static cornering lights are optional.

The shape of the tail lights is somehow similar to the headlights and, in combination with xenon plus, have homogeneous strips of LEDs. The bumper with its diffuser insert has been redesigned, with the exhaust system always terminating in two tailpipes.

There are 15 paint finishes, including four new tones. The sedan and the Avant offer the S line exterior package, while the Avant also includes a roof spoiler.

 Interior

The interior is available with a selection of new steering wheels with chrome and high-gloss inlays, with the leather sport steering wheel also featuring a flattened lower rim. The steering arm and the ignition key have been modified.

The MMI navigation plus system: four instead of eight buttons.

The MMI navigation plus system: four instead of eight buttons.

The MMI navigation plus system now features four instead of eight buttons, with a script function integrated in the volume control dial. Other improvements come in the operation of the automatic transmission, the air conditioning systems, Audi drive select and the multifunction steering wheel. The seat heating and air conditioning are now directly operated at the respective buttons.

2012 A4 Avant, front view.

2012 A4 Avant, rear view.

2012 A4 Avant.

With the exception of black, all interior colours have been re-coordinated. The upholstery range has also been revised. Fine Nappa leather replaces Valcona leather, a new, single-part cluster trim has been adapted in colour to the interior, while the inlays are available in Aluminium Trigon, walnut dark brown and fine grain ash natural.

The interior of the S line sport package comes in black, while 18-inch wheels or the optional 19-inch wheels and an S line sport suspension that lowers the body by 30 millimetres (1.18 in) complete the package.

The A4 sedan’s luggage compartment capacity remains at 480-litre – 962 litres with the rear seats folded down (16.95 and 33.97 cubic ft). The A4 Avant and the A4 allroad quattro have 490 and 1,430 litres, respectively (17.30 and 50.50 cubic ft). Audi provides an optional electrically operated tailgate for both models.

 Engines

On the fuel economy side, Audi says that the consumption levels of the new A4 drive system have dropped by 11 percent on average, despite the increased power and torque of several engines.

2012 A4 allroad quattro, front view from top.

2012 A4 allroad quattro, rear view from top.

2012 A4 allroad.

There are six TDI (diesel) and four gasoline (petrol) engine choices, with 23 possible engine-transmission combinations.

All engines are supercharged direct-injection systems; the start-stop system and the recuperation system are standard throughout.

 Diesel

The TDI four-cylinder engine versions get a new centrifugal pendulum-type absorber (in the 2.0 TDI with 100 kW, 120 kW or 130 kW with quattro drive) in the dual-mass flywheel for a more refined and quieter engine running at low revs, with earlier upshifting and savings of up to 0.2 litres per 100 km.

The most economical variant in the model family is the Audi A4 2.0 TDI with 100 kW (136 hp, 134 bhp).

In the sedan, this engine needs on average 4.2 litres of fuel per 100 km (56.0 US mpg, 67.2 UK mpg, 23.8 km / litre) – a CO2 equivalent of 112 grams per km (180.25 g/mile).

The new A4 2.0 TDI with 120 kW (163 hp, 161 bhp) consumes on average 4.4 litres of diesel per 100 km (53.46 US mpg, 64.16 UK mpg, 22.7 km / litre) – 115 grams CO2 per km (185.07 g/mile) – and both engines (100kW and 120 kW TDI) are available for the sedan and the Avant.

2012 S4 Avant, front view.

2012 S4 Avant, rear view.

2012 S4 Avant.

The three other four-cylinder diesel engines – with 88 kW (120 hp, 118 bhp), 105 kW (143 hp, 141 bhp) and 130 kW (177 hp, 174 bhp) can also be ordered for the allroad quattro, apart from the entry-level version.

Three V6 TDI units complete the line. The 150 kW (204 hp, 201 bhp) 3.0 TDI (not for the allroad quattro) consumes in the A4 sedan an average of 4.9 litres of fuel per 100 km (48.0 US mpg, 57.6 UK mpg, 2.04 km /litre). The second variant, the 3.0 TDI, generates 180 kW (245 hp, 241 bhp).

 Gasoline

In the gasoline (petrol) versions, a new four-cylinder TFSI 1.8-litre engine delivers a power output of 125 kW (170 hp, 168 bhp) and 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque.

2012 Audi A4 Avant dimensions

2012 Audi S4 Avant dimensions

2012 Audi A4 allroad dimensions

A4 Avant, S4 Avant and A4 allroad dimensions.

 

Audi says that the average consumption of this engine in the A4 sedan is 5.6 litres per 100 km (42.0 US mpg, 50.4 UK mpg, 17.86 km / litre), or 134 grams CO2 per km (215.65 g/mile), representing 19 percent less than the predecessor engine, thanks to enhancements in the control of its valves and their lift, in the thermal management system, in the fuel injection system, in the turbocharger and in the integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head. The engine weighs 3.5 kilograms (7.72 lb) less and its internal friction has been decreased.

2012 A4 interior, dashboard with console.

2012 Audi A4 interior with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

A4 interior with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

The entry-level gasoline engine is the 1.8 TFSI with 88 kW (120 hp, 118 bhp). The 2.0 TFSI – as the only gasoline engine also available in the A4 allroad quattro – delivers 155 kW (211 hp, 208 bhp).

At the top of the line is the 3.0 TFSI in two variants. In the A4 the V6, to follow a bit later, generates 200 kW (272 hp, 268 bhp). In the S4 top model its power becomes 245 kW (333 hp, 239 bhp).

 S4

Available in the sedan and Avant versions, the Audi S4 adopts the most powerful engine in the line – the 3.0 TFSI with 245 kW (333 hp, 326 bhp) and 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft) torque. The sedan’s average fuel consumption is 8.0 litres per 100 km (29.40 US mpg, 35.3 UK mpg, 12.5 km / litre), and it accelerates in 5.0 seconds from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) up to an electronically limited maximum speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph).

2012 S4 driving position and console.

S4 interior with the multitronic gearbox.

The modified Audi S4 is identifiable from many changes to the headlights, the bumpers, the air inlets, colours and interior, in addition to the S sport suspension and 18-inch wheels.

 Gearboxes

The A4 sedan and A4 Avant models come standard with the front-wheel drive system and a six-speed manual transmission; the optional continuously variable multitronic is available for most variants.

The A4 quattro versions have either the manual transmission or, as in the 2.0 TDI with 130 kW (177 hp, 174 bhp), the seven-speed S tronic. The A4 allroad quattro gets a manual transmission or S tronic with all engine versions.

A4 Avant luggage compartment with the rear seats up.

A4 Avant luggage compartment with the rear seats down.

A4 Avant and allroad quattro luggage compartment (pictures) capacity: 490 and 1,430 litres (17.30 and 50.50 cubic ft) with the rear seats up (top) / down. The sedan's trunk capacity is 480-litre – 962 litres with the rear seats folded down (16.95 and 33.97 cu ft).

To reduce friction loss, a thermal management system shortens the warm-up phase of the manual transmission. All transmissions have a wide spread of gear ratios – the long ones in the higher gears reduce fuel consumption, while the short ratios in the lower gears boost the response.

 Drive

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive is standard on the A4 allroad quattro, and available in the sedan and Avant from the 2.0 TDI with 105 kW (143 hp).

The A4 family uses the self-locking centre differential. In regular driving operation it transmits the engine torque to the rear wheels in the ratio of 40 to 60. The ratio changes when necessary (if the road becomes slippery for instance). The torque vectoring function supplements the work of the centre differential with finely incremented brake applications, to enhance handling precision and safety.

The sport differential of the A4 V6 quattro variants brings additional precision and high traction when cornering at the handling limits, as it also distributes the power between the rear wheels as required.

 Chassis

The mounts of the rear suspension control arms and the characteristics of the shock absorbers have been more finely tuned. Most of the components of the five-link front suspension and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made of aluminium.

Previous midsize Audi models

Audi 80... the predecessor of the A4 in Audi's midsize cars lineup.

Audi 80 (B1 generation, from 1972 to 1978).

 

Audi 80 GTE quattro (B2)

Audi 80 GTE quattro (B2, 1978 to 1986).

 

Audi 80 Young Edition (B3)

Audi 80 Young Edition (B3, 1986 to 1991)

 

Audi 80 RS 2 (B4)

Audi 80 RS 2 (B4, 1991 to 1996)

 

1st Audi A4 (B5: 1996 to 2001)

Audi A4 (B5: model year 1996 to 2001)

 

Audi A4 (B6)

Audi A4 (B6, 2002 to 2005)

 

Audi A4 (B7)

Audi A4 (B7, 2006 to 2008)

The electromechanical power steering is new in all models of the series, with direct gear ratios for precise road contact, while slight brake applications counteract pulling to the side on unevenly slippery surfaces. As the electromechanical power steering requires no energy for straight-ahead motion, fuel consumption is normally reduced by up to 0.3 litres per 100 km (equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 7 g/km (11.27 g/mile).

 Audi Drive Select

Another A4 special feature is the Audi drive select. In the basic package, the driver can switch the characteristic of the accelerator, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the power steering and the automatic air conditioning between four modes: “comfort,” “auto,” “dynamic” and “efficiency.” If there is an onboard navigation system, the additional “individual” mode is also included.

Further modules are optional – adaptive cruise control or the cruise control system, the sport differential, the suspension with damper control and dynamic steering where, by means of a superposition gear, the gear ratio is continuously adjusted depending on the driven speed; at the handling limits small interventions compensate for understeering and oversteering.

All front-wheel-drive versions of the A4 get the electronic stabilization program (ESP) with electronic limited slip differential. In dynamic driving the system further improves handling and safety by initiating minimum brake interventions at the front wheel that is subject to a reduced load on the inside of the curve.

All A4 variants come with aluminium wheels. Depending on the engine version, they are 16 or 17 inches in size, with 205/60 and 225/50 tires.

The A4 TFSI 3.0 has 18-inch wheels with 245/40 tires. Options go up to 19 inches with 255/35 series tires. Four of the 18 available wheels are new designs. The A4 allroad quattro offers four independent designs.

 Assistance

All A4 versions get a new standard driver information system with break recommendation: it detects and draws the driver’s attention to deviations from typical driving behaviour on the basis of steering motions and other parameters.

On the other hand, the optional adaptive cruise control assistance system keeps the A4 at a constant distance from the preceding vehicle at speeds between zero and 200 km/h (124.27 mph). If the threat of a rear-end collision becomes imminent at speeds below 30 km/h (18.64 mph), the system will apply a full brake.

To help the driver in keeping to his lane, the active lane assist option has a camera that detects the lane markings, allowing the system to make slight corrections to the steering if necessary.

Also, the Audi side assist monitors the space behind the A4 by radar and detects any vehicles in the blind spot, for example.

 Infotainment

The range of systems for the A4 models start from the standard chorus CD radio with eight speakers, and go up to the MMI navigation plus system with hard disk, colour monitor, 3D graphics and DVD player options at the top of the line, besides the also optional voice control and digital audio broadcasting.

The high-end supplement to the MMI navigation plus system is the Bluetooth online car phone. Via Audi connect, the system provides special services in the car, such as voice-controlled Google searches for points of interest and navigation with Google Earth pictures, along with Google Street View.

The Audi online traffic information system gives the latest news on congestion (depending on countries and regions of course) along the selected route.

The WLAN hotspot is another feature of the Bluetooth online car phone. It allows passengers to surf the internet and send e-mails with their mobile devices.

For Audi, the A4 is its bestseller. It has been produced at its Ingolstadt site since 1994 and, since 2007, in Neckarsulm as well. The A4 sedan, the A4 Avant, the A4 allroad quattro, the S4 sedan, and the S4 Avant roll off the assembly line in Ingolstadt, while other A4 sedan models are produced at the Neckarsulm site.

 

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