Photos by Adrian Wong
There’s good reason why the Audi A4 is a best-seller worldwide, four decades and counting.
I first drove the eighth-generation A4 in 2008 when it was launched in Singapore with a huge week-long driving event at Changi Exhibition Centre. Four years on and a mid-cycle facelift of Audi’s bread-and-butter A4 series has been released…
… allowing me the opportunity to get re-acquainted.
The A4 comes in two body styles – sedan or Avant – and a choice of three engine variants, starting with the 1.8-litre TFSI base model, which was what I took out for a test drive here.
What are some of the enhancements of the updated A4?
A little engine upgrade sees the latest A4 with improved performance – in particular for the A4 1.8 TFSI, power output has increased 10bhp to 170bhp and torque numbers have gone from 250Nm to 320Nm now.
Fuel efficiency has also improved, due to things like a new variable valve lift timing feature, as well as a new electro-mechanical power steering that replaces the previous hydraulics system. Only requiring power when there is steering action, no power is needed when the steering wheel is pointed straight, hence improving energy efficiency. As a result, steering is also sharper and more precise.
The design of the steering wheel is also new, with shinier buttons and controls due to the added chrome. Other aesthetic revisions of the A4 include restyled front and rear headlamps, as well as re-designed bumpers with diffuser inserts.
While the 2- and 3-litre versions of the A4 come with Audi’s quattro permanent four wheel drive system and 7-speed S tronic gearbox, the 1.8-litre A4 houses a continuously variable multitronic transmission.
Although the 1.8-litre A4 TFSI is capable of reaching outputs of 170bhp from 3,800 to 6,200rpm and 320Nm starting from 1,400 to 3,700rpm, it is not the kind of car that you want to push to the limits.
Rather, the A4 drive is one which all its passengers will value for the high comfort levels with its smooth ride and spaciously roomy cabin with lots of head room and leg room.
Boot space is generous and can be further expanded by folding the rear seats down.
In Singapore’s climate where sunshine can get overly-abundant at times, roll-up sun screens for the rear windows help to keep the glare out of the cabin.
Still, that does not mean the A4 is a softie. It has its swift-footed edge that emerges when needed – Unexpectedly hurtle the A4 into a corner and it is right there with you. Whisk it without warning into tight pockets of space during traffic build-ups and it follows through at your command.
With the Audi Drive Select, now conveniently controlled via a quick access button below the gear lever anytime during the drive, you can also tailor the dynamism of your drive. There are four modes – Dynamic, Efficiency, Comfort and Auto – which varies engine, transmission, steering, shock absorbers and the sport differential setting, to best suit situational driving conditions.
As all Audi models go, the list of standard features is impressive – for example, there is cruise control, automatic headlight sensors, rain-sensing wipers, climate control and a start-stop engine function.
When the vehicle is stationary with the brake engaged, the engine automatically cuts off and restarts when the vehicle starts moving off. This helps to save fuel and reduces CO2 emissions. Automatically activated upon ignition, you can choose to manually turn it off (see picture below).
Within the A4 1.8 TFSI engine variant, there are three different versions – Limited Edition, Attraction and Ambition – differing in equipment level. The one featured here in the A4 1.8 TFSI Attraction, which has all the features listed above. In addition to those, the Ambition version runs LED daytime running lights and rear lights, automatic self-adjusting headlights of Xenon plus with headlight washers, paddle shifts and an S line quattro exterior package.
You have the option of upgrading the equipment list – for example, you can upgrade the Audi Sound System to a Bang & Olufsen sound system for slightly over $3,000; have a glass sunroof for about $4,500; change the roll-up sun screens in the rear to electrically-operated ones for $1,300; or give it the S factor with the S line exterior sports package for $3,400.
Audi also has driver-aided features that make your journey safer and more convenient: There’s the Audi lane assist (for about $2,300) which is a lane departure warning system that sends vibrations to the steering wheel via a camera at the front of the vehicle that detects lane markings (works when turn signals are not on, at speeds above 60km/h). This jerks you awake should you drift off into the next lane or serves as a reminder to use your turn signals! There is also the Audi side assist and active lane assist.
Ultimately, I think what’s paramount to the Audi A4’s popularity is its versatility and how it manages to reach out to different audience types, from first-car owners, new drivers, young executives, business professionals and families.
Technical Specifications – A4 1.8 TFSI Attraction (A)
Engine: 1,798cc DOHC inline-4 turbocharged
Gearbox: Continuously variable multitronic transmission
Max Power: 170bhp at 3,800-6,200rpm
Max Torque: 320Nm at 1,400-3,700rpm
0-100km/h: 8.3 secs
Top Speed: 225km/h
Price with COE: S$215,500
Dealer: Premium Automobiles (Tel: 6566 1111)
More photos of the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI here.