But to keep the opposition on its toes, Audi has also pulled the wraps off the big-booted A4 Avant estate – the first time both models have been revealed simultaneously.
Full pricing and specification details will follow later this year when the car goes on sale with prices expected to kick off at around £28,000. The Avant is likely to command a £1,300 premium over equivalent 4-door models.
The A4 is now in its fifth-generation and Audi’s focus with the latest model has been on refinement improvements, piloted driving technology and efficiency gains. To that end Audi has improved fuel economy by 21 per cent across the new model range, while upping power by 25 per cent at the same time.
Audi A4 2016: new platform and more space
Both performance and economy are aided by the A4’s new front-wheel drive MLB Evo platform that helps shed 120kg in weight, while adding 21mm to the length and 12mm to the wheelbase compared to the outgoing saloon version.
Despite the increase in length for both the A4 saloon and A4 Avant, boot capacity is only up by 15 litres on the Avant to 505 litres while the luggage space remains the same on the Saloon at 480 litres. What Audi has done with the increase in size is provide more head and knee room for passengers inside.
Audi A4: new more masculine design
Audi hasn’t forgotten about image with the new A4 and a fresh exterior design has been implemented. Frank Rimili, Audi Exterior Designer, told Auto Express there was a desire to make the new model more masculine, “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.”
The overall design of the A4 may not be too dissimilar form the current model but Audi has addressed the ageing cabin. The 12.3-inch virtual cockpit first seen in the TT is an option, while Audi has paid particular attention to the cabin architecture by completely redesigning the center console and dash.
The seats, steering wheel and tablet style MMI display have all been redesigned too, and further changes come with the addition of a new Design Selection cabin which brings new interior trim colours and decorative detailing on the sills and dash. UK specifications have not yet been finalised but a new 3D sound system, matrix LED headlamps and Apple CarPlay will be optional features.
Audi A4 engine range: CO2 and mpg boost
Changes continue under the bonnet, with seven all new or heavily revised engines on offer in the A4. Four TDI diesel and three TFSI petrol engines ranging from 148bhp to 272bhp make up the options, with the new 148bhp 2.0 litre TDI Ultra returning a class leading 95g/km of CO2 and 74.3mpg – in the bulkier Avant, those figures read 99g/km of CO2 and 70.6mpg.
Other new additions include a 148bhp 1.4 litre TFSI petrol engine (57.6mpg and 114g/km) as well as higher powered 215bhp or 268bhp versions of a new 3.0 litre TDI V6 (67.2mpg/110g/km and 57.6mpg and 134g/km).
There’s no official word on an A4 e-tron, which is likely to follow later in the year, featuring the same hybrid powertrain from the A3 e-tron made up of the 1.4-litre TFSI and electric motor.
All petrol engines and four-cylinder diesels receive a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a new seven-speed S tronic available as an option on all models and standard on the 215bhp V6 diesel variants. Top spec 268bhp 3.0-litre diesels come exclusively with an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive.
New Audi A4: autonomous Piloted Driving tech
Audi has also taken a huge leap forward in terms of technology within the C-segment with the fifth-generation A4, too. A new traffic-jam assist system will guide the car through slow-moving traffic at up to speeds of 40mph and at more pedestrian speeds of up to 8mph it allows for hands free driving, with the car maintaining land discipline on its own.
Further Piloted Driving tech comes in the shape of an advanced adaptive cruise control system which uses the navigation to increase or decrease the car’s speed in order to maximise fuel economy without any direct driver input. Audi claims this system makes the A4 up to 10 per cent more fuel-efficient.
The compact executive sector is hotting up. Do you think the Audi A4 can outclass the 3 Series, XE, C-Class or even Alfa’s Giulia? Let us know in the comments section below…