IN ITS somewhat familiar and well-groomed demeanour, there is more to the Audi A4 facelift than meets the eye.
It’s got more new features packed into it than a normal facelift model would sport, but it achieves it perhaps too subtly.
The bread-and-butter model needs to manage how it presents itself, needing to offer a pleasing experience to as many potential customers as possible. While that may tone down any aggressive design language, that does not mean the lowest common denominator prevails.
The update holds with the timeless flow of smooth, unruffled lines, and certainly makes its presence felt for the occupants in the cabin.
Some of the lines along the side have been lifted and lowered to flow in with the straight line connecting the rear lamps and the chrome bars on the front grille.
The linear elements from the exterior find themselves translated into some of the design elements within. The Dynamic setting of the virtual cockpit for instance, lays everything out in a line. You can now choose from the Classic and Sport views as well.
The on-board system is leading the Audi field with a new 10.1” wide screen and 12.3” virtual cockpit that offers more configuration options. It is the first Audi to feature MIB 3, which is faster than its predecessor as the infotainment hub.
The range of options is designed with today’s busy executive — well, when you do get a chance to go out — in mind.
Everything is by touchscreen or on the steering wheel, and sometimes you do miss a controller to find what you’re after when you’re on the move.
But for all its connectedness, there’s still no wireless charger available.
Anyone driving the A4 Advanced (tested here) with 140kW (190hp) of power coursing through its inline 4-cylinder engine will appreciate the engineering that went into making this a more fuel efficient car.
The B-cycle process lets this 2L engine behave like a smaller displacement engine when fuel efficiency is called for, while allowing it to be more lively when necessary.
With 320Nm of torque available from 1,450rpm, the front-wheel-driven A4 turns in a creditable 7.3 seconds for the 0-100kmh dash. It’s not fast, but it’s certainly smooth, and for an executive sedan, it’s more than decent.
Except that it’s still quite reserved when pressed to perform, save for the tyre roar that invades the cabin.
While responding promptly to steering commands, there’s a vagueness about how it’s achieved. A bit too floaty, even in Dynamic mode, albeit with accompanying sounds from the engine.
A firmer steering and a bit more driver feel would help elevate the general impression of the A4.
As it is, if you set the A4 against stunning scenery, the eyes will take in the view.
Maybe that works for a popular seller. The A4 has that winning quality for a key model; appealing without dominating. By being many things to most, it lets the value of the four rings brand help to convert customers.
But at $192,490* it’s in very competitive territory.
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