► New mild hybrid engines on 4cyl petrol and diesel
► S4 performance model now a V6 TDI producing 516lb ft of torque
► Due for European launch in Autumn 2019
In line with the launch of the latest BMW 3 Series, Audi has given its A4 Saloon, Avant and Allroad models a mid-life update. As well as blink-and-you’ll-miss-them styling changes, the A4 has been treated to a range of new mild hybrid enabled engines, a larger MMI touchscreen display and a revamped turbodiesel S4 performance version.
S4 TDI is the headline grabber
Despite diesel performance cars seemingly having had their day, Audi has swapped the existing S4’s 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol V6 for a turbodiesel equivalent. Assisted by a 48v subsystem incorporating mild hybrid (MHEV) technology, the S4 TDI is set to produce 342bhp and 516lb ft of torque, giving a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Aside from the colossal increase in torque (up 147lb ft – that’s the same amount as an Up GTI makes on its own), the figures are almost identical to the petrol predecessor. Audi also makes the bold promise of zero turbo lag thanks to an electrical compressor that works off the mild hybrid system.
Essentially, it kicks in at low revs (where a large turbo would usually struggle to make an impact) and gets things going almost instantaneously, giving greater engine responses. As ever on Audi performance models, Quattro all-wheel drive is fitted as standard along with an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox.
Mild hybrid on petrol and diesel models
The S4 isn’t the only A4 model to get mild hybrid technology, either, with 35 TFSI (148bhp), 40 TFSI (187bhp) and 45 TFSI (242bhp) units all getting the upgrade from launch, with 30 and 35 TDI (134bhp and 161bhp) engines coming along a little later.
Using a 12v electrical system, each engine will be able to coast at high speeds and switch off entirely at low speeds (below 13.7mph, if you’re interested), saving fuel and CO2. Audi also reckons that the engine can even shut down entirely during low speed manoeuvres such as parking, or reversing out of a garage.
New 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display
We’re not ones to sniff at a larger infotainment display, but in switching the A4 to Audi’s new MMI software the rotary dial controller has been canned. And what a shame that is. Audi and BMW were one of the last beacons of hope for those who found touchscreens inherently fiddly to use while on the move and, with the A4, ditching the intuitive dial controller provides BMW an advantage BMW in terms of sheer ease of use.
Aside from this, clever new features such as traffic light information and myAudi app (allows users to lock/unlock and start the car from their Android phone) are included, while the Virtual Cockpit software has been given a once over to include new graphics and layouts.
Evolution not revolution for the A4’s styling
Looks are subjective, but we really didn’t think that there was much wrong with the looks of the pre-facelift A4. Yes, it was a little bland for some tastes, but then what premium German exec saloon isn’t?
With that (maybe) in mind, Audi has made the front end fall more in line with its current design philosophy. The grille is wider and the bonnet features the same louvres as the A1 and R8, while LED headlights now come as standard. The wheel arches are also a little more muscular, while the shoulder line has been moved down a touch. Finally, the rear of the car now sees a consistent horizontal line designed to increase the feeling of width.
Anything else I need to know?
Prices of the facelifted A4 are set to stay largely the same, with the European launch taking place in Autumn 2019.