Insider. Cars, people, scoops, motorsport, analysis: the month according to Drive-MY. The new 2015 Audi A4 B9: in Audi’s own words. Key engineers talk you around the lighter, cleaner, smarter next-generation A4, arriving late 2015.
Longer, wider, roomier
‘The car is slightly longer (rear legroom is up 23mm) but it looks even longer, more elegant,’ continues designer Lamberty. ‘We have an important character line running down the side of the car. The glasshouse is low, quite chopped (though front passenger headroom is up 24mm), but this car is honest as a sedan – we didn’t try to do a coupe with this car. The increased track widths also give us strong shoulders and nice strong arches, to emphasise quattro.’
Lighter, with an improved ride and better steering
‘Weight reduction was one of our main goals,’ explains Dr Horst Glaser, head of chassis development (Audi claims the A4’s 120kg lighter than the old, depending on model). ‘We have used more aluminium parts in combination with high-strength steel. The five-link front suspension is 6kg lighter. The electromechanical steering saves another 5kg.
The steering itself is more precise and direct, with a better feeling around the dead ahead. We made a switch on the brakes too, depending on the engine. Some models still use a sliding caliper but on others we have lighter, stiffer aluminium calipers, saving 5kg and giving better pedal feel and increased braking performance. Comfort is improved – we had some complaints from customers saying the (outgoing car’s) ride was not good on cambered, bumpy roads.’
Drag is down, efficiency up
The saloon has a drag co-efficient of Cd 0.23 (Cx). The Avant is 0.26. Remember the aerodynamic A2? That was 0.25,’ explains aero guru Islam Moni. ‘At the rear of the Avant (right) you can see the low-drag design; the side blades and spoiler that push turbulent air off the back of the car. The underfloor is flat and on the Ultra we have active cooling – the grille is closed on startup, and the system balances drag reduction with thermal management of the engine.’
At 505 litres the new Avant’s boot is just big enough for the instruction manual.
Audi claims 95g/km of CO2 for the 110kW 2.0 TDI. Other engines include a 140kW2.0 TDI, two 3.0 TDI sixes and three petrol engines; a clean, clever 110kW 1.4 and two 2.0 TFSIs
Devilsome design details
‘It’s a characterful car with a different feeling to today’s A4, and we‘re not doing modish design – we’re sticking to Audi design,’ says designer Frank Lamberty. ‘The car is sharper than the previous A4. The radii in the body are very precise, very Audi; we brought the tooling guys to the point of freaking out. The lines are logical too – each one links to another. The single-frame grille is wider and lower now, with a clean line across the top, and we have different finishes, black or chrome depending on the trim. This lifts the car within its segment. The headlights (xenons as standard, with LED and LED Matrix options) are the signature of the new A4 – for me they are like warpaint.’
‘The adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist will steer and brake the car in stop-start traffic at speeds of up to 11kph,’ says marketing man Markus Eigner. ‘Predictive efficiency assistant modifies your chosen speed based on information from the onboard camera and navigation to reduce fuel usage. As with the TT, optional virtual cockpit lets you configure the 12.3-inch LCD driver display as you wish. Choose MMI Navigation plus and the rotary controller has a touchpad on top, for pinch-and-swipe zooming. All this and we’ve saved 7kg from the wiring loom…’
Classy cockpit borrows ideas from last year’s Prologue concept car.