Henry W. on the new Audi A4 1.8 TFSI compact sedan.
German premium car maker Audi is rising its profile in the Thai market with the launch of several new models. At this year’s Bangkok International Motor Show, Audi displayed a collection of new models that would help it regain lost ground in Thailand. Among the exhibits were the Q5 crossover, facelifted A6 mid-sized sedan as well as the new A4 compact sedan featured in this issue.
The A4 is a long-time rival of both the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes Benz C-Class, and for Thailand, the 1.8 T model priced at Bt2.89 million is the contender, Despite being fully-imported, the A4 1.8 T’s price tag is not much higher than those of locally-assembled rivals, thank to support from Audi AG in helping to promote its brand in this country.
The A4 1.8 T comes with a 1.8-litre FSI (Fuel Stratified Injection) engine with a turbocharger. This is a smaller version of Audi’s 2.0-litre FSI engine that won the ‘Engine of the Year’ award for five consecutive years.
The twincam 16-valve engine is capable or producing 160hp from 4,500 to 6,200rpm, as well as 250Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500rpm. It is mated to a Multitronic gearbox, which is in fact a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with 8-speed tiptronic function.
The highlight of the FSI engine/Multitronic gearbox package is the quick torque delivery that reminds you of a turbo diesel engine. A unique character of the Multitronic transmission is that there are no shift points, so acceleration is seamless until you back off the accelerator. The advantage of the gearbox lies in the low power loss as well as swift throttle response along with low fuel consumption.
Acceleration from 0 – 100km/h takes 8.6 seconds while the top speed is claimed at 218km/h. Meanwhile, the average fuel economy is claimed at 13.5km/litre. The suspension comprises a front 5-link and rear trapezoidal link, with stabilizers both in front and at the rear. The suspension has been dramatically inproved over the previous model to offer a good balance between grip and ride comfort.
The braking system features discs all-round offering powerful stopping power, although the brake pedal is slightly too sensitive-it’s easy to apply too much pressure in stop-and-go traffic conditions. There’s also a speed-sensitive steering feels very light due to the large amount of assistance.
The new A4 is 4,703mm long (117mm longer than the previous A4) and 1,826mm wide (54mm wider) while the wheelbase has been extended to 2,808mm (as much as 166mm longer). The direct result of this is more interior space, particularly 29mm or added legroom for the rear passengers. The width of the rear passenger area has increased by 23mm. The wider body also results in more shoulder room. Plus there is 20 additional litres of luggage space.
In terms of design, the new A4 has been given a more athletic look than its predecessor. In front the white LED daytime running lights are unique and although the C-pillar design is reminiscent of the old model, the rest of the old model, the rest of the side profile has been redesigned. At the rear, the indicator light design has been changed from vertical to horizontal, which gives the A4 a totally different appearance when seen from behind. Inside the car, the black upholstery and aluminium trim, along with the seats, offer a sporty atmosphere.
To control various function in the car ranging from audio to car settings, the driver has an MMI interface, which is very easy to use compared to those of other brands.
Among the standard features are auto-levelling xenon headlights, dual-stage front airbags and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, 4-point head airbags, seatbelts with 2-stage force limiters, powered front seats with backguard, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), EDL (Electronic Differential Lock), BA (Brake Assist), Electromechanical Parking Brake, audio system with 6-disc CD changer and SD/MMC card reader, Bluetooth phone connection, rain sensor, parking sensor, etc.
Audi has definitely done a great job: the new A4 is better looking as well as more agile and easy to use. And although it is imported, the price is still below Bt3 million which makes it a competitive choice in the premium compact car market.
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve with direct fuel injection and turbocharger
Bore and stroke: 82.5x84.1
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Max power: 160hp/4,500-6,200rpm
Max torque: 250Nm/1,500-4,500rpm
Transmission: Multitronic (continuously variable transmission with 8-speed tiptronic
Final drive ratio: 5,970
Fuel economy: City-9.71km/litre; Highway-17.54km/litre; Average 13.5km/litre
Performance 0-100km/h: 8.6 secs
Top speed: 218km/h
Suspension (f/r): 5-link, gas shocks, coil springs, stabilizer/trapezoidal link, stabilizer
Steering: powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 11.4 metres
Brakes (f/r): vented discs/discs with ABS, EBD, BA
Track (f/r): 1,564/1,551
Weight (kgs): 1,450kgs
Wheels: 17-in alloys
Tyres: 225/50 R17
Fuel tank capacity: 65 litres
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