Luxury car brands are always searching for ways to bring in new customers, and Audi’s new base A4 gives wannabe fans a cheaper ticket into Audi’s line-up.
Here is everything you need to know about the Audi A4 35 TFSI.
The 35 TFSI is priced well below traditional rivals from BMW and Mercedes but is modestly powered in comparison and lacks some of their driver assistance features. The S-Line comes with a decent-sized centre screen and Audi’s excellent “digital cockpit”, which allows you to configure the layout of the vital information in front of the driver. There’s wireless charging for later model smartphones, as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satnav and digital radio. The seats are “leather appointed” but there’s no heating, although both front seats are electrically adjustable.
The S-Line has comfortable and supportive sports bucket seats up front and rear passengers are well looked after with decent leg and head room, their own air vents with individual temperature controls and two USB C ports for charging devices. The A4 has quite a sporty suspension tune, which provides excellent control on bumpy back roads but can occasionally jar and jiggle around town. More expensive models gain adaptive suspension, allowing the driver to choose between comfort-biased or sporty settings. It’s a quiet and refined cruiser on the open road, while ambient lighting and tasteful finishes on the doors and dash create a suitably upmarket environment.
The A4 was last crash-tested in 2015 and scored five stars but the 35 TFSI is lacking a few items that are standard both on rivals and cheaper sedans from mainstream brands. The auto emergency braking can detect pedestrians but is designed for city speeds. If you want high-speed collision mitigation it costs extra. You’ll also have to spend more for adaptive cruise control and lane assist with steering inputs. It will, however, warn you if you’re about to open a door into a passing cyclist, as well as monitor driving inputs and warn you if it thinks your attention may be lapsing.
ON THE ROAD
The Audi may be down on power and torque compared with its rivals, but the 2.0-litre turbo is reasonably punchy off the mark and feels impressively refined. Performance is helped by the intuitive and slick-shifting twin-clutch auto, which keeps the engine humming along in its sweet spot. As with all twin-clutch autos, though, it can be a little indecisive around town on light throttle. Audi has chosen a sporty suspension tune as standard for the 35 and it works well on the open road, providing a good balance between soaking up bumps and carving corners. The steering doesn’t have the feel of a 3-Series but it’s accurate and evenly weighted through corners. It’s no sports sedan, but agile enough for family transport. Fuel efficiency is excellent on the highway.
A cheap ticket into the luxury sedan market, with decent road manners and a classy looking cabin.
BMW 320i Series, from about $72,900 drive-away
A lot more expensive but has more power, is quicker off the mark and sportier to drive. Also has more driver assist tech.
Mercedes-Benz C200, from about $71,900 drive-away
Again more expensive but significantly more power and torque. Current model nearing the end of its life cycle but well equipped
Volvo S60 Momentum, from $61,000 drive-away
A compelling package at the price, with comprehensive driverassist tech and a much more powerful engine.
AUDI A4 35 TFSI S-LINE VITALS
Price: From about $67,000 drive-away
Warranty/servicing: Three years, unl’td km, $2720 over five years
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol, 110kW/270Nm
Safety: Five stars, eight airbags, city auto emergency braking, blind-sport warning, rear cross-traffic alert