2017 Audi A4 Redesign
Yes, the all-new 2017 Audi A4 is clearly an Audi. The new model, the ninth iteration of a vehicle line that has also been known as the Audi 80, Audi Fox, and Audi 4000, has moved to the Volkswagen Group’s modular-longitudinal MLB Evo architecture, but it still closely resembles the outgoing model—at least at first glance.
It’s true that MLB Evo is not entirely new, being an evolution of a component set that launched under Audi’s current A5 coupe in 2007. But the result is a leap forward. Depending on the engine under its hood—the powertrain lineup looks quite competitive—the new A4 is said to be up to 265 pounds lighter than its predecessor, and the car will be available with virtually every assistance system and electronic gadget that debuted in the larger and pricier all-new Q7 SUV.
In the U.S. market, the new A4 will launch with three 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The TFSI gasoline engine will be available in 190-hp/236-lb-ft or 252-hp/273-lb-ft iterations, while the available TDI diesel makes the same 190 horsepower as the base gas engine but musters 295 lb-ft of torque. Output is shuttled to the wheels via Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. (There was no mention of manual transmission availability for the U.S. at a preview event, but a six-speed unit may be offered.) As you might expect, the A4 can be specified with front-wheel drive or Quattro all-wheel drive; we expect Quattro to be standard with the stronger gas engine and the diesel. If you’re wondering where the competitor toBMW’s top 3-series model is in all of this, wait for the new S4—that’s the apples-to-apples car for the 320-hp, 2016 340i.
In terms of its construction, the A4 adopts more lightweight materials than perhaps any other car in its segment—and a number of them above it. As examples, some steering and transmission components and the rear-seat structure are made of magnesium, while the multilink front and rear suspension setups incorporate a large amount of aluminum.
The exterior of the 2017 Audi A4 gains a low and aggressive, TT-inspired front end; a nicely integrated clamshell-look hood; and an altogether more contemporary and more angular appearance. Bixenon headlights are standard, and LEDs units optional; the taillights come in two versions, one with conventional bulbs and one with LEDs. In our brief exposure to the car in person, we were struck by the attention to detail. The exterior grip-style door handles, for example, swing slightly upward when pulled, to provide a more intuitive and natural motion.
While the exterior is fresh but evolutionary, the interior is a revelation. It’s more spacious than before, with ample rear-seat room even when the front seats are far back in their travel. But it’s the driver’s area that will win you over. Next to the elegant cabin of the Mercedes-Benz C-class and the utterly conservative one in the BMW 3-series, the new A4’s style is downright futuristic. Horizontal lines dominate, right down to the thin air vents that span the entire width of the dash panel.
For the center-stack infotainment screen, Audi skips adopting the motorized action of some of its more recent cars in favor of a fixed display. (The outgoing A4 was old enough that its screen was fixed, too.) It’s a cost-saving move compared with the electrically powered screen in the A3 and the A6, but the execution is so precise and contemporary that no one’s going to miss the whiz-bang of watching the screen rise on startup. The main instrumentation comes with conventional, analog gauges, or one can opt for a large TFT screen. Cadillac offers the same tech in the ATS, but the execution is infinitely better on the Audi in terms of styling, graphics, and layout.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the A4: The futuristic interior is actually retro. The full-width air vents are lifted straight from the C2-generation Audi 100/5000, a big seller for the company in the late 1970s. And the automatic air conditioning—with its touch-sensitive, metallic buttons—is designed to call to mind 1970s aftermarket car-stereo systems.
2017 Audi A4 launch
Audi will launch the new 2017 Audi A4 sedan in the U.S. early next year; it will be joined by an Allroad station wagon version shortly thereafter. As before, there will be three equipment levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The aforementioned next-generation S4 is due in late 2016 and will keep its supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, and there is a chance that the next RS4—likely packing a twin-turbo V-6—will be offered in the U.S., as well. So while this new A4 is impressive, Audi is just getting started.