The fifth-generation Audi A4 will showcase a huge technological leap forward for the compact executive segment in New Zealand next year with what the carmaker calls ‘autonomous pilot’, or hands-free driving.
The so-called traffic-jam assist system will guide the car through slow-moving traffic at speeds of up to 65km/h. In Auckland’s peak-hour snarls, it will allow for hands-free driving at a maximum 12km/h.
It works hand-in-hand with an adaptive cruise control unit which also turns the driver into a passenger of sorts. The cruise control uses sat-nav to speed up the car or slow it down in order to maximise fuel use.
Audi claims this system contributes 10 per cent of an overall fuel saving in the new A4 range of 21 per cent, thanks also to a new front-wheel drive MLB platform that helps shed 120kg in weight.
Audi NZ isn’t saying when exactly the A4 range will land here next year. Nor is it saying if the A4 Avant will be launched at the same time as the sedan, which has never happened before.
In the past the sedan has always been first. But Audi HQ in Germany pointed to a possible break in tradition by also pulling the wraps off the Avant estate, the first time both models have been revealed simultaneously.
The A4 will be shown publicly for the first time at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Both the sedan and Avant are 21mm longer than the existing A4 variants and have a 12mm-longer wheelbase, dimensions which contribute to marginally more room for occupants. Boot space in the Avant is up 15 litres to 505; the sedan’s stays at 480 litres.
The exterior gets a more business-like look. Said exterior design chief Frank Rimili: “Today’s car is a little soft. The new version is sharp and more masculine and that’s what we wanted. You can see it in the wider more aggressive grille.”
Most of the design changes have been to the interior, especially the centre console and dash. There are also new trim colours. The 30cm virtual cockpit first seen in the TT is likely to be optional.
Audi claims a significant 25 per cent improvement in fuel use for the seven new or heavily revised mix of petrol and diesel engines in the new A4 range. Four TDI diesel and three TFSI petrol engines ranging from 110kW to 200kW make up the options. The 110kW 2.0-litre diesel returns a claimed 95gr/km of C02 and 3.8 litres/100km (74mpg).
All petrol engines and four-cylinder diesels for NZ are expected to come with a seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel will get an eight-speed Tiptronic. Quatrro all-wheel-drive will be an option on some models.