Audi A4 more than

style and

performance

Audi A4, side
Audi A4, front, action
Audi A4, rear
Audi A4 3.0 TDI quattro 2015, instrument panel
Audi A4 3.0 TDI quattro 2015, centre console
Audi A4, rear seats
Audi A4, interior
Audi A4, display screen
Audi A4, boot

"IT'S not just about the style and performance." intoned the Audi spokesman.

"Drivers want better information, connectivity and be able stay up to date while on the move."

The new A4 compact executive saloon has always had the former and is still pushing boundaries with the latter, with a range of infotainment, digital apps, phone and music connectivity and range topping features.

These include goodies like adaptive cruise control and radars and sensors to allow the car to sense the proximity of potential danger and react accordingly, by automatically applying brakes or navigating around objects.

Keeping in touch on the move, or a virtual office on the move. The pitch for even greater control of the fleet market is obvious.

The A4 is now into its fifth generation, but owes its roots to the iconic Audi 80 which first appeared in the 1970s.

It's market share is pretty remarkable, but with rivals flooding the market with excellent alternatives it has to stay ahead of the game and has moved on to to produce a car that is still an A4, but only about 10 per cent of the previous model remains.

It is virtually all new, with new panels, engines, uprated suspension and redesigned, wrapround cabin.

It is wider, longer, has more rear legroom and comes with new, efficient engines including a the 150ps diesel which delivers under 100g/km of CO2.

The spokesman also claimed the new car is as refined as the luxury flagship A8.

All engines are Euro 6 compliant with lower C02 emissions.

The so-called ultra with its 190ps engine is expected to be the top seller, while there is the brutally quick three litre V6 diesel for those looking for the bit of extra performance.

For those looking for other than an oil-burner, the petrol-powered 1.4 TFSi powers the entry level model which start at £25,900.

All have decent levels of kit, but like all Audis and competitors, the prices can be seriously loaded with optional extras.

However, sales figures prove that this is no deterrent to Audi drivers, who loves their toys, bells and whistles.

Entry level includes 17-inch alloys, sat nav with seven-inch monitor, keyless operation, smartphone interface, Audi drive select, xenon headlights and a triple zone climate system, and collision alert and parking system.

Whichever engine, the car is fuel efficient. The steel construction means there are sharper creases thanks to improved production methods and despite the car being bigger, is over 120kg lighter. In addition, it's new, more slippery shape makes it the most aerodynamic yet.

It unmistakeably an A4, albeit a head turning one.

The deep grille remains, but it now features bold new headlights and tail lights with daytime LEDs. There is even more a road presence than before.

The interior is pure Audi. Minimalist with a slim dashboard with continuous band of air vents and the highest quality fitting and trim.

A central touch screen and the MMI system controls many of the nav and infotainment systems, while brushed aluminium detailing finishes off the luxury feel.

The optional Audi Virtual Cockpit features a 12.3-inch screen that displays the most important information in high-resolution graphics, with great detail and sophisticated effects.

On the road, the spokesman wasn't kidding when he spoke of A8-like refinement.

Engine noise is barely a whisper as is wind noise and there are no rattles or squeaks. The only intrusion into the hushed cabin is from the tyres when hitting rougher surfaces, otherwise it is cathedral-like calm.

Th new MLB platform and suspension set up gives a much more composed ride and with the Audi Drive Select system driver can choose Efficient, Comfort and Dynamic setups, for the most comfortable ride. The much improved steering adds the final touch of refinement.

The 150ps engine proved a bit of an eye-opener, the ultra-low emissions combining with excellent performance.

The car can hit 60mph fro a standing start in just 8.9 second, but delivers a claimed 74 mpg. Combined with the sub-100 carbon emissions, this makes it a really attractive proposition for business users with low benefit in kind taxation.

Ultimately the range of engines and trim will cover most bases.

One thing's for sure this A4 is a big step forward and a strong message to its closest rivals. The first deliveries begin towards the end of next month.

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