The all-new Audi A4 is signed off and ready for its world debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and our exclusive main images show how it’s set to look – but it’s got its work cut out to make an impact in the compact executive class.
This market is brimming with fresh talent, including the new Jaguar XE, facelifted BMW 3 Series (set to be revealed next month with new three-cylinder engines) and Mercedes’ C-Class, recently voted World Car of the Year.
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Auto Express spoke exclusively with Audi’s head of technical development, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, who claimed the new A4 will take huge strides forward over the car it replaces. “The new VW Golf made a big step forward with its comfort and handling balance. In an Audi you need to go even further with both,” said Hackenberg. “The new Q7 is the first car you can feel it, and the next A4 will be the same.”
Audi A4: a sharper drive to rival the 3 Series
Traditionally, the A4 has trailed the 3 Series for driving involvement, favouring secure, predictable handling at the expense of fun. But Hackenberg says that won’t be the case this time around. “The steering is a lot better, there’s more feedback and there’s less friction so the wheel returns smoothly to the centre,” he told us. “The big step for this car will be its driveability.”
Based on a smaller version of the steel and aluminium MLB platform that debuts on the new Q7 (driven in Issue 1,359), the A4 is expected to shed some serious weight. The Q7 is up to 325kg lighter than its predecessor, and while the drop will be less pronounced on the A4, a 100kg-plus weight saving is likely.
Combine this with redesigned multi-link suspension, optional adaptive dampers and a new nine-speed auto, and the A4 has a spec to back up Hackenberg’s glowing report.
He opened up about the looks, too, saying: “The new design doesn’t change the proportions. You know it’s an A4, but the details are all modern.” Our images show the gentle design evolution, with sharper lines, but the same basic silhouette as the current car. In fact, we know precisely how the new headlights will look, after a photo of the real thing undisguised (white car, above) was leaked on a Chinese blog site.
Audi A4 2015 engines
Engines will range from a 123bhp 1.4 TFSI petrol with cylinder shutdown tech to a 3.0 TDI diesel, with various 2.0 TDIs in between. A plug-in hybrid A4 e-tron will travel 30 miles on battery power alone, and call on a 187bhp 2.0 TDI when charge is low.
While the A4 saloon will come first, replacements for the Avant estate and Avant Allroad will follow in 2016, as will a new A5 coupe, A5 Sportback and A5 Cabriolet.
New Audi A4 spy shots
You could be forgiven for thinking the car hidden under this psychedelic camouflage is the current A4. But according to Audi bosses, beneath the familiar outline will be a set of dazzling styling details and a new chassis that makes the compact exec sharper to drive one minute and more comfortable the next.
The new A4 will also get autonomous driving tech from the Q7 that can brake, accelerate and steer the car in a traffic jam, up to speeds of around 40mph.
Find out what the new 2015 Audi A4 will be up against on our best compact executive cars page